ZEISS SurfMax: Surface Defect Detection

When Vision Meets Decision.

  • Superior Imaging
    By combining three channels of information it is possible to detect and separate defect classes.
  • Decision Making 
    With machine learning and tailored algorithms ZEISS SurfMax analyzes and classifies defects automatically.
  • Defect Scoring and Adjustable Detection Sensitivity
    ZEISS SurfMax scores the severity of a defect and eliminates overkill and escapes to improve your yield. 

Optical Technology and Machine Learning for Trusted Surface Defect Inspection

ZEISS SurfMax is a groundbreaking quality assurance solution for reliable high-speed visual defect detection: a perfect combination of deflectometry-based, high-resolution ZEISS optical sensors and machine learning driven by in-house developed algorithms. ZEISS SurfMax can detect and classify relevant surface defects in products – consistently and in real time.

ZEISS SurfMax S Series

ZEISS SurfMax R Series

Prevent Defective Parts from Getting to Your Customers

Thousands of components and products made for automotive, aerospace, medical, and consumer electronics have specific demands on proper surface quality, both for cosmetic and functional purposes. 

Cosmetic Surface Quality

From a cosmetic perspective, how something appears or feels to a customer affects its value and its overall quality. This impacts the way a customer looks at your brand, reputation and quality.

Functional Surface Quality

Many components also rely functionally on the quality of the surface. Defects can affect performance and reliability. For example, a scratch on a jet engine airfoil could cause cracking on the surface and engine failure. 

Reliable for Many Surface Types

Inspect Countless Textures, Finishes, Forms and Shapes

Finish Quality on a Variety of Surface Textures.

ZEISS SurfMax is capable of inspecting surfaces ranging from matte to highly reflective, and regardless of color or transparency level. The ability for the system to separate the surface finish from defects enables a repeatable and effective inspection solution.

Gloss Levels from Matte to Mirror Finish Surfaces.

ZEISS SurfMax provides high luminous output to achieve low cycle times when inspecting matte surfaces. On the opposite end of the gloss spectrum, ZEISS SurfMax excels on mirror-like surfaces where conventional imaging technologies break down.

Surface Finish on a Full Palette of Colors.

ZEISS SurfMax has the ability to inspect a wide variety of surfaces regardless of colors and can consistenly span color variations. Typically, color may mask defects to the human eye. The system can detect and threshold defects on a wide variety of parts with a full palette of colors and their finishes. Part color does not inhibit effectiveness and ZEISS SurfMax can perform inspection of black and white parts with the same effectiveness.

Transparency on any Type of Material.

Transparent surfaces are difficult for humans to inspect, as well as for traditional visual inspection systems. The ability to differentiate surfaces and inspect each for defects is possible with ZEISS SurfMax. Evaluation of the front, back and interior defects on translucent materials is easily possible.

Wide Range of Complex Forms and Shapes.

ZEISS SurfMax provides maximum coverage of complex surfaces for inspection. This is obtained by collecting multiple acquisitions at several angles and orientations to see all of the relevant surfaces of the part. The ability to inspect convex, concave or freeform surfaces, as well as edges and flat surfaces, ensures that ZEISS SurfMax handles the full inspection task.

Automating Surface Defect Detection

Three Steps to Success

Superior Imaging

Multiple Images with one Inspection

ZEISS SurfMax takes images with different modalities to ensure complete capture of relevant surface characteristics. 

Multiple channels of information are required to align the visual inspection process. ZEISS SurfMax produces three unique and robust image channels that are essential in extracting the minute differences between real defects and acceptable surface anomalies, such as surface contamination or actual defects. 

1 // Grayscale Image

It provides information related to changes in white light reflectivity and highlights defects such as discoloration and dot imperfections, as well as part contours. 

2 // Gloss Image

It provides detailed information on the level of gloss and highlights defects such as scratch, texture non-uniformity, residue and even fingerprints, based on how much light scattering is observed. 

3 // Slope Image

It provides consistent evaluation of surface topography and form at localized regions and highlights defects including dents, deep scratches, orange peel and other form- and shape-related errors. 

Effective Decision Making

Accurate Analytics for Reliable Results

ZEISS SurfMax uses machine learning with tailored algorithms to determine if a part passes or fails during the inspection process. This robust solution can analyze and classify defects automatically to determine reliably and quickly parts considered acceptable or not and to provide feedback to manufacturing. 

Objective Defect Scoring and Adjustable Detection Sensitivity

ZEISS SurfMax consistently scores the severity of a defect with objective scoring and sensitivity tuning – effectively eliminating overkill and escapes to improve your yield. 

A characteristic for thresholding is selected, for example, a scratch can be classified by the following parameters: length, width, depth, light scatter or profile of scratch.

ZEISS SurfMax scores each defect based on the severity of the chosen characteristic. Lastly, detection sensitivity may be adjusted as required by production. 

Sensitivity 0%
Sensitivity 50%
Sensitivity 80%
Sensitivity 98%

Defect Classification Examples

Process Defects

Example: Orange Peel

Process defects in manufacturing can occur when a part is inadequately manufactured and departs from its original design. These repeatable defects can be seen in multiple parts and are traceable back to the manufacturing process. ZEISS SurfMax has the ability to detect these defects and classify them based on manufacturing processes at various stages in the production operation.

Grayscale Image

Gloss Image

Slope Image


Handling Defects

Example: Dent

Handling defects can be random in nature and can include anything from a change in a surface plane to an error in the way a part was touched. Various surfaces can also make it more difficult than others to detect defects, especially with the human eye, based on variation from part to part. ZEISS SurfMax can see and detect variation in appearance and location on each and every part it inspects.

Grayscale Image

Gloss Image

Slope Image


Contamination Defects

Example: Fingerprint

Contamination defects are defined as anything that is an addition to the existing surface. It be easily removed or if left, severely affect subsequent production steps (e.g., surfaces that need to be painted). In addition, these types of defects can cause overkill in certain industries, resulting in loss of time and money. ZEISS SurfMax can correctly find and classify defects and  assess whether they can be removed or not depending on manufacturers guidelines for quality control and assurance

Grayscale Image

Gloss Image

Slope Image


Learn more about Processing Defects with ZEISS SurfMax

Download the Detailed Brochure with Many Defect Classification Examples by Filling Out the Form Below.