Sheet Metal Gap Measuring: Precision Replaces Approximation
The swiveling CALIPRI profile measurement device from NextSense revolutionizes gap and fold edge analysis to increase multifunctional profile measurement process security and reduce costs.
Precise measuring instead of calculating an approximation – facilitated by an innovative technology for the optical measurement of gaps and fold edges: the CALIPRI profile measurement device developed by NextSense GmbH (Graz, Austria) uses no less than three laser lines for the scanning of profiles. This allows for the swiveling of the measurement device and enables measurements from different perspectives.
Less is more – at least in premium-class vehicle construction. Because less clearance means more customer satisfaction, lower noise level and improved appearance are quality criteria that influence the buying decision. With “invisible” gaps – and thus, more hidden and more complex gap contours – the measurement requirements do indeed grow. This method has been developed for exactly for these requirements. By way of its swiveling capability, CALIPRI makes the spatial scanning of complex gaps possible. Now the method has been extended by the possibility of measuring, alongside body gaps, also the fold edges of metal sheets.
Christoph Böhm, the marketing manager of NextSense, commented on the rapid development. “Right after its launch, this device was an immediate huge success,” he said. “A contract worth millions from a car manufacturer in the premium class was ‘merely’ the beginning. Spurred by this demand, we developed the method in such a way that now fold edges are measurable as well.”
Actually, this enhancement of the device software optimally utilizes the most notable feature of the CALIPRI method: the ability of the measurement device to swivel. Regardless of whether it is hand-held or installed on a robot arm – the device can be moved freely over the component and combines the segments recorded by the laser into a complete profile that has been recorded, even deep down.
The method affords the user several advantages. The measurement result is free from mathematical extrapolations; within a few seconds, it delivers a greater accuracy than any alternative methods. Concurrently, the flexible movement of the easy-to-use device allows for the measurement of significantly more complex gap contours than were hitherto possible.
As Böhm explains, one advantage that is of increasingly greater importance is “Ever narrower body gaps improve both the efficiency and appearance of a vehicle. This is reflected in tightly folded body parts and gaps with complex contours that are difficult to access. But these tight radii of a sheet-metal fold in particular are hardly measurable with existing optical methods.” The NextSense method, by contrast, can do it effortlessly. Moving the device over the fold radius allows for a seamless recording and quick calculation of the desired dimensions.
A crucial element of the device’s mobile flexibility is the patented tilt correction. It automatically compensates for any tilts and twists of the measurement sensor. Thus the device, which weighs no more than 500 grams, can be moved freely over any gap and fold contour. But that does not yet exhaust the versatility of CALIPRI; in fact, the innovative device can be used across all phases of automotive production.
As a portable device or in the production line, CALIPRI thus increases both process reliability and quality in the production process. Measurement data and test plans can be exchanged easily between the CALIPRI systems and the quality assurance system of the user. The newly implemented system enhancement for the measurement of fold edges is available not only to new customers but can be added to devices already delivered without any difficulty.
With the newly developed system enhancement of this device, NextSense once again proves its innovation leadership in optical industrial sensors, which is based on comprehensive R&D activities, both in-house and with our institutional partners.
NextSense GmbH offers laser-based, contact-free profile measurement devices and surface inspection facilities for a broad range of industries in the rapidly growing market of optical sensors. In addition to numerous renowned companies in the railroad-traffic and railway supply sectors (DB, ÖBB, SBB, Siemens, Stadler, Bombardier, Alstom, etc.), our customer portfolio includes automotive and steel companies such as Daimler, Magna-Steyr and voestalpine. The high-tech company is a spin-off of the Austrian research organization Joanneum Research and currently employs 40 staff members at its site in Graz.