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Dimensions, tolerances, sorting, part recognition

Dimensions usually designate the significant linear dimensions of an object. Dimensions can be measured in different ways. Under certain circumstances, one sensor can measure the complete dimensions for small objects. Image processing systems, laser profile sensors and ThruBeam micrometers are particularly capable of detecting complete dimensions.

For larger measuring objects, the measurement can be performed using sensors which move along one edge of the target and thus measure the object dimensions. One alternative to this is that the dimension is measured with a static sensor and moving measuring objects as is typically the case for assembly lines.

3D inspection of unpopulated printed circuit boards

Conventional inspection systems such as measuring microscopes are not suitable as an automated inline solution because the inspection process takes a long time and these microscopes are very expensive. Therefore, 3D sensors from Micro-Epsilon are used to enable fully automated inline inspection of the substrates.

The high-precision 3D snapshot sensor surfaceCONTROL 3D 3510 measures directly in the production line on the matt surface of the substrates. The working distance is 120 to 140 mm. The recorded measurement values are calculated in the sensor and output to an external PC via the integrated Gigabit Ethernet interface. Further processing, evaluation and logging of the 3D data is possible with the powerful 3DInspect software.


3D measurement of coil springs

Qsigma designed the Spring Measurement System (SMS) for precise 3D measurement of coil springs and other components. It is used, among other things, in the development of prototypes and 100% inspection of series parts. The SMS automatically identifies the spring, evaluates the wire contour and determines the wire diameter, even if it is subject to strong fluctuations. 

The scanCONTROL 2950 sensor has a large measuring field in both the Z and X directions. This enables extremely fast scanning of springs up to a height of 70 cm and radially up to 30 cm. The wide range combined with high point density enables precise evaluation of the wire diameter


Expansion measurement on the concrete wall of an energy storage tank

The measured value is transmitted to a PLC via the analog interface (4 ... 20 mA). This allows both computer-controlled process monitoring and complete documentation of the measurement values. If the setpoint is exceeded, an alarm signal is emitted and the energy supply to the stones is stopped immediately in this case. Specialist personnel additionally inspect the concrete walls for possible defects.


Aluminium rim dimension

Maximum quality is required for the production of aluminium rims so that the necessary smooth running is achieved in the subsequent use. In contrast to tactile methods, laser scanners from the Micro Epsilon scanCONTROL series are used for this. These sensors inspect the rims for all geometric defects in an integrated tester. Therefore, a 100% in-line quality control is achieved.


Presence monitoring and identification of bottles

Laser scanners from Micro-Epsilon are used for high speed and fully automatic inspection of empty containers at bottlers and breweries. For this application, the Micro-Epsilon agent Tipteh has designed a test system based on laser line triangulation, which is used when the bottle crates are received. This inline system is equipped with five scanCONTROL 2900-50 laser line triangulation sensors from Micro-Epsilon. The crates are conveyed on a belt and scanned from above. Each scanner measures a row of bottles in the crates. Presence monitoring is carried out at conveyor speeds of up to 850 mm/s. The scanner uses the respective bottle height to determine whether the correct type of bottle is in the crate. The bottle height must not deviate more than 3 mm from the target height of the respective bottle type.

Compared with a solution based on conventional image processing systems, laser scanners from Micro-Epsilon not only monitor bottle presence but also bottle height. In addition, logged data for subsequent statistics, evaluations and process optimization can be acquired



A desired or undesired expansion of an object is always combined with a temperature change. This can already start or prevent a minimum expansion process. Several product groups are available for monitoring the change in size. The variant for temperature measurement is often used. The infrared pyrometers and thermal imagers range provides more options here.


Automated machining of workpieces

Micro-Epsilon scanCONTROL laser profile scanners are ideal for machine integration and automation due to their high accuracy, compact design and universal application options. In addition to a powerful laser profile scanner for the detection of the component geometry, corresponding evaluation software is also used. The company BCT GmbH from Dortmund has developed the OpenSCAN software solution for this purpose, which enables the machine-integrated digitization of workpieces in combination with 3D scanners from Micro-Epsilon. Components are detected directly in the processing machine in terms of position and shape.


Web-edge detection in the calender of a paper machine

If movement of the paper web in the calender is not exactly executed in one line, the heated calender roller is pressed directly onto the coating of the opposite roller, which can damage it. Repairing this special coating or even replacing the whole roller would be very costly, which is why it is mandatory to control the position of the web edge. This is where laser line sensors from Micro-Epsilon are utilised, transferring the exact position of the web edge directly to the machine control system.


Measuring the height of concrete blocks

For the final inspection during the production of concrete blocks, a special test bench records the height of the blocks over a number of tracks. On each track, an optoNCDT 1750 laser sensor measure vertically on the conveyor belt. The blocks on the conveyor belt run through the sensor's laser beam.


Brake disc topography measurement

On behalf of well-known automotive vehicle manufacturers, the Institute of Dynamics and Vibration Research (Institut für Dynamik und Schwingungen, TU Braunschweig) carries out brake disc testing. Tests are run in order to check the wear of the brake pads. The changing surface structure (matt, glossy, rough, smooth) is a challenge for the measurement process. In tests, the brake disc rotates at a realistic driving speed of up to 100km/h. The brake pad is pushed against the disc at pressures up to 40 bar. Force sensors monitor the resultant forces in the X/Y/Z axes. The brake disc is then clamped, rotated in a 1 degree grid and measured. The optoNCDT ILD 2300-10 laser triangulation displacement sensor detects the topography of the brake disc. 


Thickness and volume measurement of potato slices

When producing potato crisps, factors such as consistency, quality and taste depend to a significant degree on the thickness of the potato slices used. Depending on the process parameters and the condition of the tools used, the thickness of the cut slices changes slowly but steadily during the production time. This is why it is important to continuously monitor the thickness during production by using the scanCONTROL 2950-50BL sensor. The sensor projects a laser line onto a conveyor belt, which continuously guides sample slices along it.


Digital 3D measurement of complex parts and shapes

Mabotic devepols and manufactures various designs of digital scanning units. scanCONTROL laser scanner are often used for digitization of parts. The scanner projects a laser line onto the object being measured and records the profile of the line. When the scanner is mounted on a linear axis and the scanner traverses over the measurement target, a 3D image of the target can be generated.


Dimension inspection of cylindrical objects

The CD Express measuring instrument developed by a British company measures circumference, diameter and ovality of cylindrically shaped objects. The measuring objects are inserted in the measuring device and the measurement starts automatically. An optical micrometer from the optoCONTROL 2500 series operates in the measuring device. The software has been customised for this application so that the optoCONTROL now takes over the complete control of the measuring device.


Thermal expansion of milling spindles

Accuracies of a few micrometers must increasingly more often be achieved for the parts machining using machine tools. In doing so, the heat development during the machining and in the tool holder is not insignificant. The thermal expansion of the spindle during the machining can affect the precision so much that the workpiece no longer meets the requirements. The SGS system developed by Micro-Epsilon is used for compensating for the expansion of the tool spindle. The expansion of the spindle is measured using the eddy current based system and in this way precise workpiece machining is made possible.


Inline burr measurement on sheet edges in body manufacture

In order to avoid corrosion, continuous and error-free corrosion protection is a critical factor in the painting process. As the thickness of the applied painting on burrs can only be determined under challenging limitations, it is a decisive advantage when the burrs are recognized early in the production process before the corrosion protection and other paint layers are applied.

In contrast to fixed solutions that enable a random test, Micro-Epsilon offers its scanCONTROL 2910-10/BL Plug and Play system which provides the required precision with its high point resolution of approx. 8µm along the laser line in order to recognize burrs reliably even during inline measurements.


Vibration measurement on carbon brushes

Many direct current electric motors operate with carbon brushes for the current transmission. optoNCDT laser sensors are used to monitor the vibration during operation. They measure the carbon brushes without contact and also measure high speeds of the motor due to their high cut-off frequency.


Coordinate measuring machine

Coordinate measurement machines are used for measuring many different components. Different scanners and measuring equipment measure the surface of the component in three dimensions. Laser line scanners are ideally suited for this purpose. They measure the actual surface of the component without contact and with micrometre precision according to the triangulation principle.


Fluid level measurement of aluminium pig irons

A German manufacturer of prestressed concrete products uses a number of 3D measurement systems by InSystems Automation with optical sensors made by Micro-Epsilon for quality control of railway sleepers. The systems include a portal station that is fitted to a forming station above the conveyor technology. Two scanCONTROL LLT2800-100 laser profile sensors travel along the portal axes and scan the sleepers from above.


Draw-wire displacement sensors take measurements in pipe trade

In the piping industry orders are placed for fixed lengths of a certain type of pipe. The available pipes with different lengths are transported from the stores to a measurement table to process the order. Here, pipes are inserted one after the other and the partial lengths summed up using a rugged draw-wire displacement sensor. The movable stop on the table is linked to a sensor wire extension pretensioned by a springdriven motor. The draw-wire extension in the dirty section guarantees a clean wire intake in the sensor and a long service life.


Monitoring the thermal expansion of pipelines

Pipelines in power stations are stressed to their limits by pressure and temperature. These loads result in movements of the pipes which can be up to 1 metre. Constant supports compensate for the movements and show the displacement on a scale. wireSENSORs are used to notify the measurement results to a control desk. The long service life of the sensors is particularly important.


High precision pipe measurement

High precision pipe measurement

Pipes, fittings and sleeves are inspected using random sampling for their dimensional accuracy in a special system. Sensors of the optoNCDT 1700 series rotate mounted on a plate. The laser beam is deflected by 90° by an adjustable mirror for the measurement. The system produces a detailed thickness profile of the target using the difference method.


Cutting edge measurement

Carbide specialist company Ceratizit uses a semi-automatic measuring machine for production control. This device checks cutting plates for dimensional stability. The cutting plates are moved horizontally for each linear axis and pass through the light beam of the optoCONTROL 2500 through-beam sensor. The edge of the cutting plate is measured exactly as a result of this movement.


Dimensional accuracy of sectional doors

With sectional doors for parquet or laminate flooring, key and slot joints for individual sections are applied. However, these sections are opened and closed frequently. To enable a robust but permanent flexible key and slot joint, specified  dimensions  are  critical  and  must  be  adhered to. This is particularly important in the case of significant temperature differences or inaccurate dimensions, where the door could be locked or positioned incorrectly. The measurement of the key and slot joint is therefore critical in ensuring the correct manufacturing dimensions.


Softcalender - temperature measurement

Pyrometers from Micro-Epsilon enable the monitoring of fast rotating objects such as, e.g. softcalenders for paper manufacture. The system permanently monitors the fast rotating rolls.


An automatic measurement system ensures the production quality of tablets

High performance pill presses are fitted with quickly interchangeable matrix disk units in order to minimize cleaning and setting up times when employing press tools. In automated production a high level of precision is required to ensure the quality of each individual pill. In production up to 47 stamp pairs pass through the press station in a circular arrangement and, due to their high production rate, are subject to a certain amount of wear. Here, an automatic system for the stamp measurement can ensure the optimum press quality.


Measurement system for cut packaging pieces

Manufacturers in the packaging industry make high demands with regard to their production quality. For sampling inspection for example, the cut pieces of packaging are extracted from the production, placed in a measurement system and a nozzle system draws them down flat by suction. A non-contacting triangulation sensor scans the surface to measure the topography of the cardboard and to determine the line of the grooves, edges and the associated lengths to high accuracy.


Fully automatic measurement of sheet metal

Dimensionics developed the Disionic Sheet Control measuring table for fully automatic testing of the dimensional accuracy of sheet metal. It operates with laser profile sensors by Micro-Epsilon. The sensors measure sheet metal blanks and check them for width, length, angle, straightness, deflection (convex/concave), and the planarity of the sheet metal edges.

Two scanCONTROL 3000 laser profile scanners are mounted on the XY table. Each scanner has a measuring range of 25 mm and is guided over two edges in the X or Y direction of the sheets. The Blue Laser technology ensures the sensors achieve maximum precision and reliable results on demanding metallic surfaces.