New 3D software for laser profile sensor enables export to any CAD system

2nd April 2008
Posted By : ES Admin
New 3D software for laser profile sensor enables export to any CAD system
New 3D visualisation software for laser profile sensors is now available, which enables users to export captured 3D data to other software. The data can be converted to a 3D bitmap image or exported as a 3D point cloud to any CAD/CAM software application.
Micro-Epsilon’s 3D-View and 3D-Data software are used with the company’s scanCONTROL range of non-contact laser profile sensors. These sensors enable end user manufacturers, systems integrators and machine builders to detect surface defects, for example, beads, bulges, bumps of glue or weld seams, and to inspect grooves, channels, gaps and edges in a variety of applications. The system has standalone plug-and-play capability, and is easy to set up, configure and adapt for different measurement applications. Engineers require no special software programming skills to change measurement parameters and to get the system up and running quickly.

All users of scanCONTROL receive a complimentary version of 3D-View with the sensor, but the new software, 3D-Data, is for users who need to export the 3D captured data from scanCONTROL and export it to their CAD/CAM system. Florian Martin, Product Sales Manager for scanCONTROL at Micro-Epsilon comments: “3D-Data is ideal for R&D departments, design engineers and production engineers because it allows the user to quickly demonstrate the capability of the sensor and the quality of the measurement data being captured. 3D-Data goes that bit further than 3D-View and enables you to visualise the surface of the material or product being measured.”

The software also provides an ‘intensity’ function that enables users to see the intensity of the surface in black & white images (greyscale). Although colour images are not possible, a colour coding function allows the user to set up suitable colour codes for products being measured. A surface defect in sheet steel, for example, can be colour coded so that small bumps are yellow but very large or tall bumps are red.

The scanCONTROL sensors have an integrated, highly sensitive CMOS array, which enables measurements of almost any shiny, reflective or transparent surface, independent of the reflection from the target. This means excellent accuracy, resolution and reliability are achieved, even at high measurement speeds. A line optical system projects a laser line onto the surface of the object being measured. The back-scattered light from the laser line is registered on a CMOS matrix by a high quality optical system. Along with distance information (z-axis), the controller calculates the true position along the laser line (x-axis) from the camera image and outputs both values in the sensor’s 2D coordinate system. A moving target or traversing sensor generates a 3D representation of the object being measured.

ScanCONTROL comprises a sensor and integrated controller, which calculates the dimensions of the target being measured. The system works in two ways: either in a stationary mode, with the sensor fixed and looking at moving targets, or in a scanning mode, where the sensor works in combination with a motion control device or robot. The sensor uses an innovative CMOS array with a real time, high-speed electronic shutter (rather than conventional rolling shutters), which captures the entire profile and processes the information instantaneously.

The controller evaluates the measurement data and provides control signals via analogue or digital outputs. The system can be easily configured using the parameter software included within the sensor package. The user simply connects a laptop or PC to the controller and configures the sensor via the software. Triggers and alarms can also be set up, so that when limits or tolerances are exceeded, users are alerted.

Micro-Epsilon’s latest scanCONTROL sensor is the 2810 model, which is capable of measuring up to 256,000 points per second up to 4kHz. It is easy to integrate, set up and configure for individual applications. The sensor is therefore ideal for real time quality inspection or online process guidance. Depending on the resolution and size of the measurement range, a profile frequency of up to 4,000 profiles per second can be attained. As Chris Jones, Managing Director at Micro-Epsilon UK, explains: “We are selling the system to machine builders, systems integrators and direct to end users, because the sensor is so easy to adapt to different applications. It’s also easy to set up and configure for different measuring fields and no special software programming skills are required. The system offers very high speeds and accuracies, enabling end users to inspect their products in-process in real time.”

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