Nikon Metrology

WATCH: Laser Radar for shop floor automated inline inspection

Coordinate Measuring Machines, Laser Radar, Robot Metrology

Flexible, unbeatable productivity with automated inline inspection

There is an increasing importance for automotive assembly plants to continuously monitor process quality throughout the production process. This need is driven by OEMs pushing the limits of design by using complex shapes, new materials, and cutting edge processes. Locations of holes, slots, studs, and intersection lines along with flush & gap of doors, hoods, deck lids, and other hangers need to be measured and monitored throughout the assembly process. These inspections ensure that vehicles are built within the ever more stringent tolerances set by automotive manufacturers.

Nikon Metrology – in close cooperation with key automotive OEM and integration partners – addresses these challenges by introducing an innovative approach to body-in-white (BIW) inspection based upon its non-contact Laser Radar system. Unlike conventional inline technologies, the Laser Radar measures in absolute coordinates with no need to continually correlate measurements. The new MV331/351 Laser Radar drastically increases feature measurement performance, allowing for in-line or near line inspection with CMM quality results. New usability features such as an integrated robot mount, removable air filters and positive air pressurization make the system even better suited for robotized inspection on the shop floor. Watch the Laser Radar shop floor automated inline inspection video below.



A new approach: flexible inspection, absolute measurement

Innovative inspection stations are being installed today, both lineside and in-line, by major automotive OEMs using Nikon Metrology’s Laser Radar. The Laser Radar has been used for many years in the aerospace and renewable energy sectors and is now providing a unique alternative to the shortcomings of traditional automotive metrology systems like twin column CMMs and inline sensor systems. The new MV331/351 Laser Radar is optimized for car body shop floor automated inline inspection. The Laser Radar’s high speed option allows formeasurements at rates of 2.000 points per second in specific patterns – enabling fast measurement of surface points, sections and complex features.

What customers gain

With the need for shorter and more flexible production cycles, automotive manufacturers are continuously looking to cut time and costs whilst maintaining quality. For automotive inline inspection, the automated Laser Radar on a robot offers the right capabilities to meet the need for flexible and absolute measurements directly on the shop floor. For car manufacturers this results in:

  • Shorter startup with a new production line or upon vehicle model changes – During the startup phase of a production line, the first produced vehicles can be completely measured and compared to CAD without the need for correlation or movement to a CMM room. This provides better insight into product conformance and enables faster fine tuning of the production process.
  • Reduced scrap – By closely monitoring the production quality with absolute measurements, the manufacturing process can be quickly adjusted when variances occur.
  • Future proof data – Measurements in absolute coordinates fit in the digital manufacturing process where big data is used as a reference to compare data over time. This provides enhanced insight, facilitates decision making, enables process automation and speeds up future product development.

The measurement accuracy and repeatability of the Laser Radar is comparable to measurements taken with a traditional horizontal arm touch probe, but it is many times faster. Two Laser Radars working in parallel can measure 1000 features on a BIW vehicle in less than one hour; this can take up to a full shift for a traditional twin column CMM. Therefore, the use of the Laser Radar as a CMM replacement can also remove these measurement bottlenecks.


To find out more, download the Laser Radar – Next generation shopfloor CMM brochure by clicking below.






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