Hexagon boosts productivity across portable, large-volume and automated metrology with high-performance cross-platform scanner

6 May 2021

Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division today announced the launch of a ground-breaking new laser scanner. The Absolute Scanner AS1 pairs best-in-class accuracy and data quality with an automation-capable data collection speed of 1.2 million points per second and first-of-its-kind interoperability between portable arm and laser tracker systems. The AS1 is the ideal sensor in a wide range of application contexts, for instance on an automotive shop floor – the same scanner can be moved back and forth as needed between an arm used for interior quality control and a tracker setup in the pilot plant performing flush and gap inspection to achieve a more integrated and lower-cost quality process.

The AS1 is a modular blue laser line scanner that is the first in the industry to operate with both laser tracker and portable measuring arm systems. When used together with a Leica Absolute Tracker AT960 laser tracker, the AS1 can deliver scanning accuracy to within just 50 microns from up to 30 metres away, handheld or automated. For smaller applications, the AS1 scanner unit can be easily mounted to any existing current-generation Absolute Arm 7-Axis system, enabling precision scanning and hidden area inspection within a measurement volume of between 2 and 4.5 metres in diameter. 

Tracker functionality for the AS1 is powered by a new handheld positioning unit, the Absolute Positioner AP21. The AP21 unit allows the AT960 tracker to pick up complete position and orientation information for the scanner. The AS1 can be quickly mounted to the AP21 using Hexagon’s patented kinematic joint – the same repeatable mounting system already found on Absolute Arm systems. This makes it possible for a busy shop-floor team to swap the same AS1 scanner unit on-the-fly from use on a tracker system to an arm system without the need for any time-consuming realignment or setup.

“In developing an upgraded laser scanner for our tracker systems, we wanted to bring the SHINE technology we developed for our portable measuring arms into the large-volume applications where trackers are needed,” said Duncan Redgewell, President, Metrology Devices at Hexagon. “The breadth of our team’s hardware expertise has allowed us to develop a solution that breaks down the established barriers between product categories, letting users enjoy best-in-class scanning performance across both arm and tracker applications without the need to invest in multiple scanner units. The AS1 can be used in the same way and with the same high-quality results whether paired with our Absolute Tracker or Absolute Arm systems.”

The laser scanning performance of the Absolute Scanner AS1 is built on the proven Systematic High-Intelligence Noise Elimination (SHINE) technology that has impressed customers in multiple industries since its introduction in the RS6 Laser Scanner for Absolute Arm systems in 2019. The SHINE concept enables extremely high-quality and high-accuracy data to be collected at full-speed on almost any surface type or finish at default exposure settings. This minimises the need to constantly toggle settings during the measurement process, as well as the associated operator training needs. With SHINE, the AS1 always delivers full performance – any surface type can be scanned at any time without the decrease in performance on difficult surfaces that is common with legacy products on the market.

The dynamic tracking performance of the Absolute Positioner AP21 unit means the newest Absolute Scanner is fully automation ready, allowing for high-speed blue laser scanning within automated cells and structures whether in-line, at-the-line, near-the-line or in the quality room – a vital functionality as industries prepare for the future of smart manufacturing. Hexagon’s network of registered and accredited integrators is prepared to develop custom automation systems based on this new metrology technology.

“Metrology-assisted automation is widely regarded as fundamental to future large-scale manufacturing,” said Daniel Moser, Technical Product Director at Hexagon. “Laser tracker-based systems have an important role to play in that future, primarily in ensuring quality isn’t sacrificed in the pursuit of increased productivity. One of our key goals in developing the AS1 was to deliver a system that was built from the ground up with automation in mind, and that could be integrated into a wide range of automated manufacturing solutions.”

For Absolute Arm systems, the AS1 replaces the current flagship RS6 Laser Scanner, which will be phased out immediately. For more information, contact a local Hexagon representative or visit HexagonMI.com/AbsoluteScanner. 
About Hexagon
Hexagon is a global leader in digital reality solutions, combining sensor, software and autonomous technologies. We are putting data to work to boost efficiency, productivity, quality and safety across industrial, manufacturing, infrastructure, public sector, and mobility applications.

Our technologies are shaping production and people-related ecosystems to become increasingly connected and autonomous – ensuring a scalable, sustainable future.

Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division provides solutions that use data from design and engineering, production and metrology to make manufacturing smarter. For more information, visit hexagonmi.com. 

Hexagon (Nasdaq Stockholm: HEXA B) has approximately  24,500 employees in 50 countries and net sales of approximately 5.4bn EUR. Learn more at hexagon.com and follow us @HexagonAB.

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