Laser stripe sensors are significantly faster than simple laser point sensors.
The ModelMaker sensor is available in 35 mm, 70 mm and mm laser stripe widths. To record the shape of a component, the technician simply holds the laser sensor so that a line of laser light appears on the part. The ModelMaker system moves freely about the object, allowing the technician to capture data much in the same way as spray painting.
As the technician moves the sensor over the surface of the object, real-time rendering of the data on-screen provides immediate feedback. This is important because it allows the technician to see areas that were missed and fill them in with another pass. The system combines the coordinate data with the Cartesian and angular coordinates generated at each position of the mechanical arm. The result is a dense cloud of 3-D data describing the surface of the object.
The key advantage of the laser scanner is that it generates more data points in a smaller amount of time. Depending on the size of the part and level of accuracy required, the company typically captures tens of millions of points for each part.
Typically, all they have is a new or used physical part and possibly some incomplete technical documentation. The physical part is scanned with the ModelMaker and then the software provided with the device converts the point cloud into a surface model that can be imported into CAD software. The resulting CAD model is used as the basis of a technical data package for the part. Stereolithography is often used to create a first article that can be used for checking by the customer and to assist in the quoting process.
The technical data package is then sent out for bid to small and medium-sized contract manufacturers. The winning bidder uses the 3-D model produced during the laser scanning process to generate a CNC program that either produces the finished part or builds a mold that is used to cast the part.
In one case, the original equipment manufacturer was willing to remanufacture engine cowlings for the H helicopter but quoted a day leadtime, much longer than the customer wanted. The company had to move even more quickly when the Coast Guard requested a reverse-engineering of the anchorage system on a cutter. The only physical part was on an operating boat, which was about to come into port for a short maintenance stop. A laser scanner was brought to the dock, where the dripping-wet part was removed, scanned, and returned to the boat the next day so it could sail on time.
With every branch of the military operating at a very high tempo, the ability to quickly and inexpensively produce spares is going to become even more important in the future. Quality Digest does not charge readers for its content. We believe that industry news is important for you to do your job, and Quality Digest supports businesses of all types. However, someone has to pay for this content. Most people consider ads a nuisance, but they do serve a useful function besides allowing media companies to stay afloat. They keep you aware of new products and services relevant to your industry.
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