How Does a Laser Tracker Help with Taking Measurements?
Laser trackers measure two angles and a distance. This is accomplished by aiming a laser at a retro-reflective target. This is held against whatever object is to be measured. As the light reflects, its path is retraced. It re-enters the measurement tracker at the same position it left. As the light re-enters, a portion of it goes to a distance meter. This measures the distance from the tracker to the SMR. One of two types of distance meters may exist – absolute distance meter (ADM) or interferometer.
Distance measurement is an important function performed by a laser tracker. It can be either absolute or incremental. Incremental measurements are obtained with an interferometer and a frequency-stabilised helium-neon laser. The ability to record absolute distance measurements has been around for a long time. ADM has undergone something of a transformation within the last decade. Its accuracy now is easily on par with interferometers.
ADM offers the added benefit of a ‘point and shoot’ system that’s far simpler to work with. The system measures the distance to the target automatically. This happens even if the beam has previously been broken. Infrared light from a semiconductor laser reflects off the SMR and re-enters the tracker. This is then converted into an electrical signal. The signal is analysed by the internal circuitry, which determines the time of flight. This value is multiplied by the speed of light in air, calculating the distance from the tracker to the SMR.
Here at ETG, we can manufacture laser trackers that perform both functions. We welcome a discussion to learn more about your requirements.
Benefits of Using a Coordinate Measuring Machine in Manufacturing
There are, of course, a wealth of benefits that make investing in laser trackers easily worthwhile. Precision is possible even outside of a controlled environment. Through advancements in laser technology, levels of precision can now be achieved far greater than traditional methods of metrology. As for the benefits, these include:
- Versatile Mount
- Small, Lightweight Design
- Easy to Use
- Continuous Point Measurement
- Super-Fast Single Point Measuring
- Highest Precision and Accuracy
With the versatile mount, you can position the laser tracker sideways, upside down, or directly on the part being measured. Because laser trackers are often small and lightweight, they are easily portable, making precision measurements in the field possible.
Laser trackers should ideally be operated by a two-man crew for time efficiency. But in a pinch, they can be operated by a single operator with a computer. Thanks to continuous point measurement, points can be measured continuously. This facilitates tracking critical areas, from thermal growth and shrinkage to moving machinery, without human interference.
Super-fast single point measuring is made possible because a laser tracker can record 3-axis measurements in a fraction of a second. With additional accessories, data points can be quickly gathered in mass.
Finally, no other form of measurement outside of a lab is as accurate or precise as a laser tracker. With a real-world tolerance of one-thousandth of an inch, laser trackers are far more accurate than optical measurement, which is often subject to human error and measurement variation.