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3 Applications To Consider For 3D Laser Scanning

3 Applications to Consider for 3D Laser Scanning

While 3D scanning is often used as a comprehensive term, it actually represents several different types of equipment and best practices, only one of which may be right for your manufacturing application. This article discusses the key considerations in choosing the tracking needed for your work. Article by Automated Precision Inc. (API Metrology).

As manufacturing deadlines grow tighter and their tolerances more demanding, 3D laser scanning has become one of the most sought-after quality control processes across all industries. The ability to capture hundreds of thousands of points per second has made 3D laser scanning a fast and efficient tool for rapid point-could generation, 3D CAD modeling, part inspection, and Building Information Modeling (BIM). And in many industrial environments, 3D laser scanners are now used to supplement, if not outright supplant, probe or touch scanning measurements. 

But while 3D laser scanning has become a catch-all term used by facilities looking for scanners and service providers, the applications that term represents actually cover a wide-range of equipment and techniques. And these different scanners are each only appropriate for a specific set of the applications listed above. So, how can you know which 3D scanning service or piece of equipment is the right one for your application? The best way to begin narrowing down the options is usually by looking at the size of the part or area that needs to be scanned and the tolerances that scan will need to meet.

When we approach 3D laser scanning from this perspective, most scanning applications fit into one of three categories:

Small Part Inspection Work

For many manufacturers today, the most common application of 3D laser scanning is for inspecting small parts for prototype inspection, reverse engineering, CAD comparison, and other quality inspection checks. This scanning work is usually performed on pieces smaller than a few meters in length or diameter. And, fortunately for quality inspectors, there are several tools that can perform these kinds of checks, from hand-held scanners to multi-axis arms. The key for these inspections is accuracy, which is why the equipment that is best for small part inspection work typically uses Triangulation to produce the most accurate data.

Triangulation for 3D laser scanning is a process where the laser emitter, the laser point on the inspected part, and the scanner’s high definition camera make up the three points of a triangle. The software uses the known quantities of the distance between the laser emitter and camera and the angle at the laser emitter’s corner and calculates the camera’s angle to the laser point to discern the rest of the information about the triangle. This allows the distance between laser emitter and laser point and the angle of the point to the camera to be analyzed. 

The laser’s beam contains hundreds of thousands of these points that are moved across the part every second, and the software records the changes in distance and angle to repeatedly calculate those triangle values for each point and create useable surface information in a working computer model. This virtual model of the part can be used for CAD comparison, part or mold validation, reverse engineering of a new CAD model, and more.

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3D Laser Vision Systems For Industrial Welding Robots

3D Laser Vision Systems For Industrial Welding Robots

By equipping welding robots with “vision” and artificial sensory perception, part and positional variations can be adjusted in real-time, making it possible to account for variations such as inconsistencies in tool fixturing, deviations in part fit-up, weld seam geometry, and weld seam direction, during welding. Article by Wee How Tan, Servo-Robot.

Unlike skilled human welders, welding robots don’t have any natural intelligence nor cognitive senses. A robot will only perform what it has been programmed to do and move to where the program tells it to go. How good a robot can weld is therefore largely dependent on the skill and experience of the operator who programmed it. Without this imparted intelligence, the robot will weld “blind”.

To put the robot on the required trajectory at all times, the operator needs to constantly make changes to adapt the robot program to account for not only whatever is in front and around the robot arm, but also the variations in the part that the robot is welding.

Nowadays, a custom fab shop may fabricate a part to fulfil a large-volume order and then a few months later, it may receive another order for the same part again. For cashflow reasons, most customers want to avoid holding a large inventory of the same parts so they only order what they need at a particular time and then reorder when they need the parts again.

Owing to variations in forming and upstream cutting processes and other factors, different batches of the same part may not be exactly the same especially if they are supplied months apart. This means that the robot program made for a previous batch of parts will have to be adjusted for the new batch to account for variations between the batches.

This would not pose a problem if it is always the same part. However, fab shops invest in robotic welding systems to handle many different parts in variable quantities. Apart from having to build the tool fixtures to hold each new part, fab shops also have to manually program the robot and then adjust the program to account for the variations in each different batch of the same parts.

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OGP: Prosthetic Devices Inspection With ShapeGrabber Scanner

OGP: Prosthetic Devices Inspection With ShapeGrabber Scanner

Prosthetic Device Manufacturer Relies on ShapeGrabber for Measurement and Inspection

DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company, designs, manufactures and distributes orthopaedic devices and supplies including hip, knee, extremity, trauma, orthobiologics and operating room products.

Components like knee implants are checked with laser scanning, because of the complex sculptured contours required for proper functioning.

As DePuy developed more complex, sculpted medical device components, implants, and prosthetics, it found its measurement capabilities were limited by the low point density and relatively slow speed of traditional touch probe technologies.

Because its devices were being used by human patients, DePuy needed dramatically higher density of point coverage to accurately capture the form and dimensions of these complex shapes, and the ability to compare them directly to CAD designs.

To obtain the high point density necessary for accurate measurements, DePuy selected a ShapeGrabber 3D laser scanning system. The ShapeGrabber solution proved to be faster and more versatile than other laser probe systems that DePuy evaluated, and the ShapeGrabber scanner was able to measure the complex, compound curves of DePuy parts quickly and accurately.

Since choosing the ShapeGrabber system, DePuy has found that it can reconfigure the scanner quickly to accommodate parts of different sizes and can perform the quality assurance inspections it requires to ensure its low volume parts are properly formed and sized.

“For complete inspection of our anatomical implants, we opted for the touchless approach of laser scanning. Our first laser probe system was very slow and had limited function, because it could only acquire one point at a time and could only measure diameters. We moved to a ShapeGrabber 3D laser scanner, a much faster and more versatile alternative,” said Roger Erickson, DePuy Orthopaedics, a Johnson and Johnson subsidiary.

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Market Outlook For Global 3D Laser Scanners

Market Outlook For Global 3D Laser Scanners

According to Research And Markets, the global 3D laser scanners market is expected to grow from USD 2.30 billion in 2017 to USD 5.46 billion by 2026 with a CAGR of 10.1 percent. And factors contributing to this growth are the rising level of eminent control and check up standards offered by 3D laser scanners as well as the significant rise in adoption of 3D laser scanners in different industries and the growing demand for 3D printers globally. However, the high expense associated with 3D laser scanners in the market is also a key factor inhibiting market growth.

3D laser scanners are capable of producing lasers to compute and capture size and shape of free forms in order to generate accurate “cloud points” which are then predicted by specialised software on computers for further probe or study. This is favourable for the probing of contoured surface and complex geometries which mandate accurate data sets in order for effective study and development.

Similarly, 3D laser scanners are pivotal in quality control measures which is in turn an important part of the production process. Currently, some of the key players in the global 3D laser scanner market include Nikon Metrology NV, Hexagon AB, Rapid3D Ltd., Topcon Corporation, Perceptron, Inc., Kreon Technologies, 3D Digital Corporation, Nextengine, Inc., Dewalt Corporation, ShapegrABBer Inc., Wenzel America, Ltd., Riegl Laser Measurement Systems GmbH, Faro Technologies, Inc., Trimble Inc., Basis Software, Inc, Proto3000 Inc., Laser Design, ShapeGrabber Inc., JoeScan, Laser Scanning, Creaform, Wenzel America, Ltd., Dewalt Corporation and Carl Zeiss Optotechnik GmbH.


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