“In the past,” says Michael Knicker, President of Q-PLUS Labs Inc., “(reverse engineering) has required several measurement instruments. Now, measurements can be performed automatically on a single multi-sensor measuring system that includes noncontact vision, touch probe, and metrology-class laser.” Q-PLUS Labs Inc
., a leading dimensional measurement laboratory, is working with the Starrett Metrology Division in a major co-development project. The challenge is to coordinate a large variety of part measurement protocols that require different sensors for proper measurement.
Cloud Processing Software
Q-PLUS Labs has integrated high-powered point cloud processing software with a Starrett multi-sensor system to facilitate processing the massive amounts of high-resolution 3-D data produced by all of the sensors.
Once 3-D data is obtained and recorded, the machine continues to perform measurements while the part is advanced to the next stage of production. Simultaneously, specialized point cloud software runs programmed virtual measurements on the data producing a detailed 3-D inspection report.
Data collected utilizing the new process can also be reverse engineered into a “smart” (dimension-driven) 3-D CAD model. “What this means is enhanced capabilities and faster results at a fraction of the cost,” explains Knicker.
"This is just one of the many exciting new technology advances we are seeing," Knicker continued, "we expect significant impact on the way things are done from a quality perspective. They promise improvements in the efficiency and precision that will shape the future of testing and quality programs."
It Starts with Hardware
The combination of highly precise multi-sensor measuring systems with high-powered point cloud processing software represents a significant step forward for metrology and dimensional measurement that can be used for a wide variety of manufactured parts.
Such demanding applications, however, can only be achieved when the hardware provides a very high level of accuracy and repeatability. This requires excellent mechanical design, high quality components, precision machining, and skilled, careful assembly, followed by system integration, testing, adjustment, and fine tuning.
The Starrett Metrology Division has two new product lines specifically developed for multi-sensor configuration: the Large Format Premier Vision Line with capacities to 50" x 36" (1270mm x 915mm), and the Galileo Plus Multi-Sensor Series, mid-size machines, built with extra space and enhanced support for multi-sensor attachments.