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Compact 3D laser sensor has built-in controller

25 May, 2008

At the recent Hannover Fair, the German sensor specialist, Micro-Epsilon unveiled a non-contact laser profile displacement sensor with a controller built into its compact sensing head. No other components are needed to evaluate the measured data.

“The scanControl 2700 is the first high-accuracy profile sensor with integrated electronics in a compact footprint,” says Micro-Epsilon’s UK managing director, Chris Jones. “Other competing profile sensors with integrated controllers are either very bulky - often two to three times larger - or their measurement performance is reduced due to the restriction in space for the processing electronics.”

Micro-Epsilon laser scanner

The small size of the sensor-controller (shown above) makes it ideal for industrial automation and machine-building tasks where space is limited. Typical uses include the measurement and inspection of: angles; channels; gaps, edges and clearance; weld seams; adhesive beads; door edges; and groove widths and depths. It can also be used for robot guidance and positioning.

The sensor is based on laser line triangulation. A laser beam is projected onto the surface of the object being measured. The back-scattered light is picked up by a sensitive CMOS array. The controller calculates not only distance information (z-axis), but also the true position along the laser line (x-axis) and outputs both values as 2D co-ordinates. A moving target or traversing sensor generates a 3D representation of the object being measured.

The system can work either in a stationary mode, with a fixed sensor looking at moving targets, or in a scanning mode, where the sensor works with a motion control device or robot. It can be used with almost any object, including those with shiny or reflective surfaces. High accuracy, resolution and reliability are said to be achieved, even at high measurement speeds.

The sensor is available with measuring ranges from 25mm or 100mm. A DIN-rail-mounting output module can be used to convert the sensor output into common fieldbus signals, including CANbus, Profibus DP, EtherCat and IEEE.

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