High-End Inspection Using Handheld Laser 3D Scanners

Quality control and the inspection of parts are standard procedures for any manufacturing process. Traditional inspection methods would use contact-based solutions to determine overall fit, but such methods became outdate the moment high-end 3D scanning became accessible. With high precision 3D scanning the entire object can be inspected within a very short amount of time. Traditional methods would only capture specific areas, sometimes even just a specific point on the object. Inspection via 3D scanning allows for the complete part to be inspected by overlaying the scan data over the original CAD file. The data is presented nicely using a color map that illustrates the deviations. 3D scanning allows for the inspection of complete parts in a way that traditional measurement tools can simply not achieve.

Accuracy when casting molds is extremely important. Deviations in a mold can throw off the final product in irreparable ways. Our partner, Kawasaki Robotics, manufacture high-end robotic arms through casting and they use the FreeScan X7 handheld laser 3D scanner to perform inspection on these casted parts. The entire process is an integral part of their quality control. We’ll go over the process they follow.


About Kawasaki Robotics:

Kawasaki Robotics is a leading supplier of industrial robots and robotic automation systems with a broad product portfolio. They are capable of servicing a wide range of applications all around the world using their adaptive solutions and innovative technologies.



Traditional method used to ensure that casting molds meet their strict design requirements are tedious and outdated. Nowadays, manufacturers are focusing on how to obtain the same high-accuracy data but with much faster efficiency and this can be done by inspecting the produced part. In this case, Kawasaki Robotics needs to measure the robotic parts once they have been created. 

Industrial robots consist of three basic parts: the main body, the drive system, and the control system. The main body is the base and the actuator, including the arm, the wrist and the hand, etc., in which the size detection of the arm is extremely important for the overall functionality of the robot.

Kawasaki Robotics adopts 3D scanning technology for high-end measurement and inspection, including the machining allowance of the robotic arm, the overall deviation distribution, whether the distortion is deformed, and whether the wall thickness is uniform. This can all be determined from one scan using the FreeScan X7 and comparing the data to the original model, rather than using multiple measurements and approaches the way it was traditionally done. The time difference in the processes vary greatly with the more modern 3D scanning approach dwarfing the time it takes to complete the same task. 



Prepare the part for scanning. The FreeScan X7 is a handheld laser 3D scanner that uses an LED and 2 cameras to capture the data of the scanned part. The FreeScan line of scanners use reflective markers or targets for the alignment of scan data. The 1st step is to place these markers on or around the object, as shown in the image below.

Once the preparation is complete, the scan process is quick and easy. The FreeScan X7 uses 14 intersecting laser lines to create a 3D model of the desired part.

The robot arm’s scanned data and original CAD data are imported into Geomagic®Control X for 3D Inspection. The models are aligned accordingly, and the inspection report is processed using a color map to demonstrate any deviations from the original model.

The entire object is scanned which allows for the complete inspection of the part including hard to reach areas that traditional methods may struggle with. This is all done with high accuracy as the FreeScan X7 has an accuracy of up to 0.03mm. The overall efficiency of Kawasaki Robotics’ operation has improved significantly with the use of their 3D scanner.



Closing Thoughts:

Customer standards and expectations have evolved throughout the years. In today’s ever-evolving industry it is important for companies to adjust and adapt to the growing demand for quality products. Quality control solutions like the FreeScan X7 line help companies like Kawasaki Robotics to meet these standards.