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Nikon Metrology Launches Next-Generation Laser Radar Inspection System

By Nikon Metrology Press Release

Oct. 27, 2020, BRIGHTON, Mich. – Nikon Metrology launched its next-generation Laser Radar inspection system today. This new Laser Radar, re-named APDIS (short for “Accurate Precision Distance Scanning”), offers precise, no touch measurement capabilities designed to boost quality and efficiency on automotive and other large-scale production lines.

Nikon Metrology’s Laser Radar has been part of a quiet revolution in automotive quality control, bringing high accuracy, absolute measurements to the shop floor. With over 150 installations in 36 vehicle plants worldwide, the Laser Radar has proved itself to be an invaluable tool for manufacturers to improve their quality, reduce scrap and ultimately save money, according to the company.

The release of the new APDIS Laser Radar builds on this success to assist in the changes required for an automotive industry that has for many years been striving to achieve better productivity and higher overall quality.

“Laser radar's ability to precisely measure in-line and near line applications saves time while contributing to quality improvements in the complex manufacturing process in both the automotive and aerospace industries,” said Jim Clark, president, The Americas for Nikon Metrology. “With APDIS, Nikon has delivered its most advanced laser radar yet, and the greater productivity, usability and reliability of the system will be an invaluable asset to all of our manufacturing partners.”

Greater Productivity

APDIS is capable of measuring almost any surface, providing faster measurements at just 2-3 seconds per feature to identify quality issues early on. A built-in orientation sensor allows for measurements in any orientation when robot mounted, with auto detection to load calibration data automatically. Additionally, according to the company, an industry first direct surface vibration measurement capability allows installations and machines to be analyzed safely and remotely with the inbuilt laser technology.

Precise control over the scan path and accurate, point cloud-based feature measurements keep data sets small. Holes, slots and other sheet metal features can each be measured in a few seconds and specific surface points at several per second. Combined with fast movements between features, it enables short measurement times to be achieved. Even traditionally troublesome features such as studs can be scanned and measured rapidly without the need for adapters.

To ensure quality visuals, a new, high-definition Nikon camera coupled with new Nikon confocal optics offers better viewing of what is being inspected, helping to deliver the right data in real-time.

“The enhanced measurement productivity delivered with APDIS offers up to 10 times faster measurement with greater precision and accuracy than conventional technologies,” said Ghassan Chamsine, vice president of engineering, for Nikon Metrology. “Ultimately, fast, accurate measurements save manufacturers product development time and production expenses.”

Greater Usability

APDIS is 40-percent lighter and 25-percent smaller than its previous generation of Laser Radar. The smaller size and a shorter range – from 0.5 meters (1.6-feet) – allows it to fit into tight factory spaces as well as for ease of movement around the production floor.

Another improvement over traditional technologies and previous Laser Radar systems is a rapid warmup time, cutting the warm up time to 15 minutes from power on.

Greater Reliability

By closely monitoring production quality during the early build phase, the manufacturing process can be instantly adjusted when variances occur over time, reducing the risk for flaws and costly fixes. The touchless technology offered by APDIS allows for less risk of harming parts or the Laser Radar itself, removing unnecessary line stoppages due to part collisions.

“With the precision and ease of use of the APDIS Laser Radar, there is the potential for manufacturers to detect issues sooner and thereby reduce scrap and production delays at product launch,” according to Chamsine.

Further, the APDIS scanner is sealed to protect the laser system from the dust and water often found in manufacturing facilities and meets the rigorous industry standards of IP54 (IEC 60529).

Models

APDIS is available in four models including the enhanced MV430E and MV450E editions with a 30-meter (98.4-foot) or 50-meter (164-foot) radius measuring range, respectively. These versions include “Enhanced Feature Scan” technology, offering up to double the feature measurement speed over previous laser radars. Two standard versions (MV430 and MV450) are for applications where top speed and vibration analysis are not required. Length measurement accuracies for all models range from 28 μm at 2 meters (6.56 feet) to 313 μm at 30 meters (98.4 feet) . The minimum range is also shorter at 0.5 meter (1.6 feet).

“APDIS makes easier and more efficient repetitive and complex parts measurement at very close range and from a distance,” said Clark. “Designed primarily with automotive manufacturing in mind, APDIS is also ready for use in aerospace, energy and other large-scale industrial or scientific environments.”

A short video from Nikon Metrology offers an overview of the APDIS Laser Radar System's new capabilities: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riGBpSc43s4

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