Multisensor Measurement Systems
More and more companies are offering multisensor measurement systems, yet most of the available information about such systems is with regard to sensor technologies. Although it is helpful to know how different sensors work, it is more important is know how to make use of more than one sensor to improve manufacturing productivity.
- All measurement systems use at least one type of sensor technology.
- The sensor collects data points from a part to obtain a measurement.
- Data points can be collected by numerous sensor technologies such as a touch probe, video, laser and microprobes.
What is it?
There may be some confusion about what a multisensor measurement system actually is. All measurement systems use at least one type of sensor technology. The sensor collects data points from a part to obtain a measurement. It is the probe, or detector, that “senses” the part.
Sensor technologies can be grouped in two major categories—contact and non-contact. Contact sensors are those that apply any pressure to a part to obtain a measurement. Coordinate measuring machine (CMM) touch probes are the most common type of contact sensors.
Non-contact sensors do not require physical contact with the part. There is a broad range of non-contact sensor technologies that use cameras for optical imaging. Laser scanners use optics and detectors to capture laser light reflected from a surface. New micro-probing technologies use resonance technology or spectral analysis of light related to the distance between the probe and the surface. Any combination of contact and non-contact sensors on a single measurement machine makes it a multisensor measurement machine.
The three sensors commonly referred to are touch probe, video and laser. Touch probe typically refers to a touch-trigger probe such as those commonly found on a CMM. Video refers to video measurement, as with dedicated measurement machines with lighting, optics and software for measurement of video images of a part. Laser means a light source to illuminate a specific part of the surface and the associated detector to collect the reflected or scattered light.
Multisensor measurement machines are similar to multi-function office machines. One measurement system takes up less space, uses fewer utilities, requires one training and service obligation, and minimizes part handling and fixturing. In this era of continual productivity improvements and cost reductions, a multisensor metrology system can be an important way to meet those objectives.