To increase the quality of future products and decrease the manufacturing cost at the same time a systematic control of the fabricated objects is necessary. A promising approach for inline quality control of surface and form parameters is the use of optical measurement systems. This is due to the non-destructive nature of the optical measurement techniques. But in the production environment there are many challenges to overcome for optical sensors. Examples are temperature fluctuation, vibrations, fluids on the object surface and rough surfaces. Therefore, it is likely that not all optical measurement methods are suitable for that task. Hence, a classification of the different principles is necessary with the objective to identify the most appropriate measurement approach for a particular inspection task. In this contribution we start with a systematic approach for a review of sensors within production systems. Then we concentrate on the most robust class of optical sensors, the point sensors. In order to minimize the effect of mechanical vibrations it is desirable to employ measurement techniques that are able to measure the height of an object point in a very short time. Therefore, we focus in this work on chromatic-confocal microscopy and spectral interferometry. The aim is to compare these measurement methods for their ability to cope with the challenges given by the production environment in general. To this end we will develop simulation models for the mentioned techniques and compare two exemplarily sensors for their capability to be used for process control.© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.