Currently, blade manufacturers employ in-house histology testing to evaluate the performance of their blades. The following performance metrics are evaluated for a group of production blades: sample compression, cut-feel, and number of knife lines left on samples. In the research presented herein, an evaluation of the relationships between high quality samples and microtome knife configuration variables is explored through quantifying the cutting force and inspecting samples for knife induced defects. Several types of measurements correlating to the cutting force were made. Sound, vibration, and cutting force were tested for their adequacy in distinguishing different knife configurations. The most robust measurement was then focused on to derive relationships between blade types and microtome setup. An automated imaging system was explored for measurement of sample quality. The imaging system can improve the reliability and productivity of the measurement of knife quality metrics, for product-process quality control. The imaging system achieves this by detecting knife lines and performing simple measurements to quantify the degree of compression of the samples. This study aims to advance the science of histology and give insight to blade manufacturers through interfacing a microtome with a PC based user interface.

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