In today’s competitive market, manufacturers are looking for every opportunity to increase efficiency. In addition, regulatory bodies and the general public are increasingly attentive to the role that manufacturing plays in the current climate crisis. As such, manufacturers are pursuing opportunities to make their operations and products more sustainable.
Every department has a part to play. The metrology function, traditionally entrusted with assuring quality of products, is now tasked with contributing to these efficiency and sustainability initiatives. There are a number of tactics these teams can focus on to contribute to the bottom line and greener practices, but one fundamental area of focus is rethinking current measurement strategies. This is where quality teams can make significant contributions to the business, such as:
- Helping to improve production processes
- Enhancing product development
- Driving the company’s ability to take on new applications with different (and often complex) materials and product demands
Traditionally, quality teams would primarily use tactile inspection methods. Contact probing is rightly renowned for offering excellent accuracy and as such can be leveraged for a wide variety of applications in industry, ranging from aerospace to power and energy. Over the years, quality technology has evolved and now tactile methods can be accompanied by other non-contact methods that are more suited to applications where probe contact with the part is less efficient or risks deformation.
In that time, a range of non-contact inspection solutions have emerged, such as chromatic white light, camera-based measurement technologies, and – the focus of this blog – laser line scanning. Each technology principal and solution is developed to be optimised for particular inspection/production objectives and application requirements. In the past, when selecting a non-contact technology, manufacturers sometimes had to compromise on accuracy for speed, or vice versa.
This was due to a range of factors, from component characteristics like material finish or simply coordinate measuring machine (CMM) compatibility. But since then there have been impressive advances in these non-contact technologies, not least laser line scanning. In part this evolution was driven by the trends towards greater product customisation and adopting multifunctional CMMs. This led CMM manufacturers to examine how customers were using their products and subsequently designing new solutions that helped support these demands, with personalised systems developed to specification and to support their specific workflow initiatives. In particular, these developments have had the following significant impacts on manufacturers:
- Maximising shop floor space by consolidating multiple capabilities in one CMM
- Enabling the ability to customise their products and drive performance in a competitive market
- Giving manufacturers the flexibility to capture as much or as little data as they need
The advancements in laser line scanning technology have brought about a step change in inspection productivity. Laser line scanning can deliver a range of significant benefits to help organisations on their smarter manufacturing journey. Here are just four major benefits.
- Users can produce a complete point cloud of the entire object; users can easily capture all features instead of just the features checked during measurement
- The sophisticated capabilities and features of a laser scanner means a range of application types are possible, spanning various component colours, finishes, and material sensitivities
- Laser scanners can capture hundreds of thousands of points per second
- The long laser line offers less passes of the part, meaning more data is captured in less time
- The excellent precision of laser scanners offers high quality data sets that enable rich analysis and more informed decision-making
- High resolution scanning delivers advanced point cloud and reverse engineering capabilities
- With laser scanning, the CMM axes are moving less. This mean less wear on quality systems, promoting sustainability and maintaining performance
- In turn, this requires less air to move the machine. Together, these benefits ultimately reduce the cost of using the CMM
Hexagon’s latest laser scanner, the HP-L-10.10, embodies all of these benefits and more. It’s the ‘no compromise’ laser scanner that delivers tactile-measurement-levels of accuracy at unprecedented speed. It is seven times faster than its predecessor, while allowing users to customise how data is captured and used. For example, its flexible standoff and extended field of view features enable the user to focus on the details most important to the job at hand, capturing the data that matters as quickly and accurately as possible. If that wasn’t enough, the variable scanning speed and SHINE technology push the limits of measurement performance and speed even further, without the need to make any adjustments.
Clearly, laser scanning has entered a new era and today’s CMMs are well-primed to leverage such game-changing technologies of today. And what’s more, these solutions are increasingly future-ready to tackle tomorrow’s industry challenges and keep pace with a growing business. Learn more about how non-contact approaches and laser scanning can advance your inspection capabilities in our series of ‘Can I measure It’ videos.