Laser Scanners: The Most Innovative New Metrology Tool


Manufacturing is a competitive business, and with more sourcing options to choose from than ever before, clients are demanding better products at lower prices. If you want to be able to keep your clients satisfied, you will need to improve on the same old ways of doing business and pass the savings on to your customers. In many cases, this will mean updating older tools and investing in new technology that will help you cut your margins in the long run.

If your production line includes a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) to help you maintain the best standards quality control, then an upgrade to a laser scanner may be in order. Laser scanners have become hugely popular in recent years, and metrology dealerships like Canadian Measurement Metrology now stock a wide range of different CMMs equipped with laser scanners or white light measurement systems.


What Makes Laser Scanners Different?

Most CMMs use tactile probes to gather measurement data about newly produced parts, and while tactile probes can deliver a high degree of accuracy, they are also often slower and more unwieldy than some of the newer alternatives.

Laser scanners use guided laser beams to measure the distance between the object being measured and the scanner itself, and build an electronic image of the object based on these thousands of data points.

This means that Laser scanners have two key advantages over tactile probes: laser scanners can gather data more quickly, and they can be used in ROMER Arms and other portable CMMs to gather data about parts that would challenging for traditional CMMs.

For example, in the aerospace industry, laser scanners are often used on very large parts that can’t fit inside traditional Gantry-style CMMs.  This makes laser scanners a perfect metrology solution for situations where a quick data report is needed, or where parts are too large or too complex to fit inside a standard bridge or gantry CMM.


Are Other Light-Based Metrology Tools Available?

While laser scanners have become an industry favourite, they are hardly the only type of innovative CMM using light-based measurement systems. For example, the white light or structured light scanners operate on similar principles, and use a battery of high-powered light sources mounted at different angles to measure the distortions in the light caused by surface reflection. Due to their speed, accuracy, and portability, white light scanners offer many of the same benefits as laser scanners.

Competing in the manufacturing economy has long been an international game, and this means that manufacturers need to constantly be justifying their services to their clients. A manufacturer who cannot keep up with global innovations will not be in business for long, and this means that North American firms need to use their access to innovative technological tools as a way of undercutting operations in countries with more competitive labour markets.

Upgrading vital metrology tools and taking advantage of new breakthroughs that make CMMs faster and more effective is essential for sustainable growth and consistent customer satisfaction.

Author: Ryan Yarbrough