Improved Metrology Via Structured Blue Light 3-D Scanners 1

Bradken Inc., Kansas City, Mo., was searching for an improved 3-D metrology solution for the large castings at its Tacoma, Wash. facility. Equipment was needed that offered detailed data resolution, system flexibility, improved efficiency and reduced rework costs. Onsite tests measured and inspected large dome castings that were part of a nuclear waste containment fabrication. The company investigated various dimensional analysis methods, including handheld 3-D laser scanners, laser trackers and structured blue light scanners.

The Capture 3D blue light scanners improved the speed and accuracy of Bradken’s inspections.

The Capture 3D blue light scanners improved the speed and accuracy of Bradken’s inspections.

At the Tacoma facility, the laser scanners had difficulty measuring the large castings due to the scanners’ limited measurement areas and spatial limitations. After 8 hours, only 25% of a casting was measured, and both systems were unable to meet the 0.06-in. tolerance requirement. The laser tracker was capable of measuring the large dome, but it could not provide adequate feature definition. Results also varied between operators.

In the end, Bradken chose the ATOS Triple Scan System from Capture 3D Inc., Costa Mesa, Calif. The structured blue light 3-D scanner outperformed other systems by accurately scanning and inspecting the entire casting in less than 8 hours, while also meeting the necessary tolerance requirements. The 3-D metrology system’s interchangeable measuring volumes and ease helped solidify Bradken’s decision.

“Capture 3D’s ATOS Triple Scan and TRITOP systems have become an integral part of our engineering processes,” said a Bradken dimensional engineer. “After benchmarking other technologies, we chose Capture 3D because of the accuracy, speed, various measuring volumes, configuration versatility and customer support.”

Based on the principles of triangulation, the ATOS Triple Scan measures an object’s surface geometry by integrating three sensors into a single system. A fringe pattern is projected onto the object. As the pattern rapidly shifts during each scan, the two cameras capture the displacement and calculate the coordinate measurements. After each scan, ATOS software then aligns each measurement to build an accurate 3-D representation of the object for dimensional analysis.

The blue light technology improves the scanning of dark or colored surfaces, while making it resilient to environmental factors because of its narrow band of light. In addition to the ATOS Triple Scan system, Bradken added TRITOP digital photogrammetry to improve process throughput and increase accuracy on large and complex castings. By snapping photos from various angles with reference markers, precise points are calculated via triangulation onto a 3-D coordinate plane.

Since the implementation of Capture 3D’s metrology solutions, Bradken has continued to optimize use of the technology on a diverse range of castings and fabricated assembly projects. Bradken’s Tacoma facility is committed to continuous process improvement through the adoption of technology and investment in its employees. Through use of Capture 3D’s technology, Bradken has been able to advance its manufacturing processes to meet evolving customer demands.

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