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Novel optical 3D scanner for quality control

Industrial metrology refers to the science of measurement and is used in numerous applications, from quality control in design and manufacturing to various biomedical uses. EU-funded researchers developed novel optical three-dimensional (3D) laser scanner technology with enhanced performance and significantly lower cost.
Novel optical 3D scanner for quality control
Conventional optical 3D metrology has enhanced the speed with which measurements can be made but often falls short of accuracy and traceability requirements.

With funding for the ‘Optical 3D metrologyautomated in-line metrology for quality assurance in the manufacturing industry’ (Op3met) project, team leaders at 3Shape A/S in Denmark set out to develop novel equipment and controlling software for automated in-line 3D laser scanner-based metrology. The main objective was to guarantee speed, reliability, versatility and ease of use at significantly reduced cost compared to existing technology.

Specifically, the researchers sought to develop integrated 3D laser scanners and software for verification of geometrical tolerances of both metallic and plastic parts with dimensions on the order of 200 mm3 and including free-form surfaces.

Project outcomes are numerous with several patent applications pending. In addition to improvements to a previous scanner, the consortium developed an entirely new scanner that uses a robot arm to measure a volume of 300 mm3. The team developed an innovative line generator capable of scanning non-homogeneous and even metallic parts, a revolutionary achievement that should give 3Shape a significant competitive advantage in the optical 3D scanning market. In addition, scan simulation software is being developed that drastically reduces the time needed for defining a scan sequence with full coverage. Finally, novel processes and hardware enabled significant reduction of so-called laser speckle with research continuing in an effort to co-optimise performance and price.

While the 3D scanner market is established and dominated by a handful of larger companies, the Op3met scanner offers important performance improvements at a significant cost reduction making it a strong competitor in the quality control market with the first sale already closed.

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