How an Optical Comparator Works & How We Save You Time & Money

Excedr - Optical Comparators

Excedr’s lease program can source virtually all instrument types and accommodate any brand preferences you might have. Request an estimate today and see how leasing can discount your comparator’s price.

All equipment brands/models are available

The Advantages of Excedr’s Optical Comparator Leasing Program:

  • Eliminates the upfront cost of purchasing equipment by spreading its cost over time
  • Minimizes equipment downtime with included complete repair coverage and preventive maintenance
  • Takes advantage of potentially 100% tax deductible* payments, providing you significant cash-savings
  • Expedites the administrative work needed for instrument procurement and logistics
  • Conserves working capital,  enabling you to reinvest in your core business and operations (staffing, inventory, marketing/sales, etc.)
  • Accommodates all manufacturer and model preferences

*Please consult your tax advisor to determine the full tax implications of leasing equipment.

Optical comparators are non-contact measurement tools used for quality control (QC) and assurance (QA) in labs and machine shops.

Specifically, they are used to inspect every manufactured part for correct geometric measurements. 

Metrology inspection can be done in a number of ways, but the optical comparator—a timeless piece of metrology equipment—has remained relevant even after being invented over 100 years ago. In fact, it has continued to stick around in the face of numerous of technological advancements in inspection systems and measurement tools. 

The comparator is trusted for its simple and elegant design, as well as ease-of-use and short inspection time. Often referred to as an optical projector, contour projector, or profile projector due to the design featuring a projection screen, this optical-measuring instrument works similarly to an old-school overhead projector. 

The object, whether it be an individual component or an assembled product, is measured using a light source that illuminates the object from below in combination with a set of mirrors and optics to project a shadow image of the part on the projector screen.

This projection can then be measured against prescribed limits using a chart overlay, or chart gauge. The chart overlay has detailed cross hairs that are used to measure the movement of the part from edge to edge. 

Other types of chart gauges can be used to measure radius lines and thread angles. Length and width measurements can be determined using an equipped micrometer. All of these measurements can then be used to determine whether or not a workpiece is in line or out of line with standard design specifications. 

The major advantage of an optical comparator over some measurement systems is in its simple design. It requires little training to operate this piece of equipment correctly, providing accurate and reliable measurements with ease. In order to keep up as the digital age takes over in manufacturing industries and metrology in general, comparators have seen numerous design upgrades that offer computer and software assistance. 

These upgrades make comparators a worthwhile investment and an essential piece of any efficient and successful machine shop, especially when you include computer displays that  compute the math required by the operator on its own while simultaneously remembering all of the measured points on the object.

Comparator Features, Uses, & Innovations

Profile projectors consist of different features, all of which affect what the device is able to perform. While there may be variations, comparators are typically capable of providing accurate measurements for similar objects. With new advances in technology, these optical measuring instruments have become even more useful.

Vertical & Horizontal Projectors

Comparators always rely on a light source to project an image. That said, there are common yet different methods used for projection:

  • Vertical projectors: A vertical optical projector is the most common type of comparator. This device’s main axis is parallel to the plane of the screen, and is suitable for both smaller workpieces and flat manufactured parts.
  • Horizontal Projector: Typically used for larger-volume inspection where shaft parts or heavy workpieces need to be measured. The difference between horizontal and vertical projectors is that the main axis of the horizontal projector is perpendicular to the plane of the screen.


Different types of fixtures are used to clamp the object down to the moveable stage, such as magnets, clamps, or clips. This makes it possible to measure the part in the correct orientation.


Surface Illumination

The light source typically illuminates from below the stage, creating a transmission image, however, it is also possible to illuminate from above on the lens side of the instrument. Shining a light from above will project outlines of the part often necessary to gather all measurable data.


Screen Size

The screen of a comparator can come in different sizes. Picking the right size for you depends on whether you’d like to be able to project the entire image of the part, or just a section. There is no need for a large screen if segment observations are optimal, however, if the entire object needs to be seen at once, a larger screen will accomplish that.



Optical comparator manufacturers typically produce one type of magnification lens, so the magnification of a profile projector is fixed. Sometimes, inspection labs or machine shops require a higher level of magnification to gather precise, detailed information on their parts to ensure optimal quality assurance (QA), so it is worth looking into other purchasable lenses according to your needs.


What To Gauge

Quality inspection is critical to any company, but not every company produces parts that an optical comparator is suited to measure. The comparator is perfect for gauging small machined industrial parts.


Benchtop Optical Comparator Leases to Fit Every Need

QA/QC is critical to any manufacturing company that wants to stay ahead of the competition. Optical comparators, despite seeing little change in their optical system design, have continued to remain relevant in a highly digitized, three-dimensional world of inspection and measurement. 

If you’re interested in leasing an optical measuring instrument, but are tight on cash, we’re here to help. Simply request a lease estimate or get in touch with us and we can go over how our leasing program can save you from spending unnecessary time and money on buying a piece of metrology equipment outright.

Have another vision system in mind? We lease a wide array of metrology equipment and can source virtually any type of tool or system.

Operating Lease

This off-balance sheet financing structure provides three options at the end of the term. The lessee has the option to return the equipment to the lessor, renew at a discounted rate, or purchase the instrument for the fair market value. Monthly payments are also 100% tax deductible which yields additional monetary savings.


If you recently bought equipment, Excedr can offer you cash for your device and convert your purchase into a long-term rental. This is called a sale-leaseback. If you’ve paid for equipment within the last ninety days, we can help you recoup your investment and allow you to make low monthly payments. This also frees up money in your budget rather than tying it down to a fixed asset.

Optical Comparator Manufacturers & Models

OGP®, a division of QVI®:
Focus Contour Projector, QL-20 Contour Projector, QL-30 Contour Projector, C-Vision Floor Model Video Contour Projector, C-Vision Benchtop Video Contour Projector, C-Vision Lite Video Contour Projector

VisionGauge® Digital Optical Comparators/Profile Projectors, 300 Series, 400 Series, 500 Series, 700 Series, Standalone System, Disk Inspection System

PJ Plus Series, PJ Series, PV Series, PH Series High Performance, PH Series Heavy Duty

Sol, VF7, Vertex, Excel

HE400 Horizontal Benchtop, HB400 Horizontal Benchtop, HD400 Horizontal Benchtop, VB300 Vertical Benchtop, VB400 Vertical Bencthop, VF600 Vertical Floor Standing, HF600 Horizontal Floor Standing, Hf570 Horizontal Floor Standing, HS600 Horizontal Floor Standing Side Bed, HS750 Horizontal Floor Standing Side Bed

14HE Optical Comparator, 14H, 16H, 16 CNC, 16VS, 24P, 32P, 32SS

J&L Metrology:


Nikon Metrology:
V-12B, V-20B


Operating Capital Benefits

Operating Capital Benefits

Excedr's operating lease structure allows you to keep your business credit line open for expansions, staffing, and other operational expenses. Additionally, it strengthens the cash flow of your business and keeps cash reserves free for business development opportunities.

Effects on Credit

Effects on Credit

Leasing / renting provides you with non-dilutive financing and does not hinder your future borrowing ability. You're able to acquire the equipment you need without the baggage associated with traditional financing.

Speed of Approval

Speed of Approval

Excedr's program allows you to respond quickly as your need for equipment and technology arises. You can be approved with minimal documentation and have the equipment you need in operation and generating revenue for your business quickly.

Refurbished Equipment

Refurbished Equipment

Unlike traditional financing and leasing companies, the Excedr program can accommodate refurbished equipment in addition to demo units. If you are looking for additional cost-savings, we recommend considering this option.