Carl Zeiss Optotechnik GmbH - Optische Messtechnik
New development of ZEISS Optotechnik convinced trade public at Control 2017. 

Neubeuern/Oberkochen, May 16, 2017: At Control 2017, Carl Zeiss Optotechnik GmbH presented for the first time a price-optimized 3D sensor that enables companies an easy entry point into pioneering optical 3D digitizing. The ZEISS COMET LƎD 2 Base is a product derivative of the 3D sensor ZEISS COMET LƎD 2, which is already established on the market. 

Only a few years ago the complete measurement of parts was extremely time-consuming. Today, however, thanks to optical 3D sensors, millions of points can be captured contactless and lightning-fast on the surface, and visualized in real time as 3D model. An advantage that, among other things, extremely accelerates quality inspection in the production process. In order to ease the entry of companies into this pioneering technology, ZEISS developed a price-optimized 3D sensor - the ZEISS COMET LƎD 2 Base.

The performance with which the 3D data of the components can be captured with the ZEISS COMET LƎD 2 Base is similar to that of the standard model, but the product derivative (including Calypso Manual) is around one third less expensive. However, as Andreas Fuchs, Product Manager of ZEISS Optotechnik, stresses, this price advantage “doesn’t come at the expense of data quality.” As with all sensors from ZEISS Optotechnik, the most modern technology and sophisticated software are also used for the ZEISS COMET LƎD 2 Base. With the software it is possible to do false color comparisons between nominal and actual data, and to easily create protocols for the documentation of measurement results.

The difference between the two models lies primarily in the limitation of the measurement volume to two, in contrast to five measurement fields that come with the standard model. No arbitrary selection, as Fuchs emphasizes, but the “result of an extensive analysis of the measurement tasks of our customers.” Around 75 percent of all companies, as the Product Manager estimates, are satisfied with the given option to choose between the measurement fields 100 and 250. 

Due to the excellent data quality and the highly precise measurement results, the basic model can be used broadly for various applications ranging from quality control, toolmaking and mold construction to rapid manufacturing and reverse engineering. Even though the measuring speed of the innovative complete solution is not quite as high as that of the standard model, Fuchs is certain that ZEISS “has struck a chord with customers with this product.” 

The customer feedback at Control bears him out: “The performance and the price convinced straight away.” The ZEISS COMET LƎD 2 Base will be available as of July 2017. ZEISS generally examines customer inquiries to ensure that the respective measurement task can be satisfactorily processed with the desired solution. This is a service that protects customers from making false investments and ensures that the “high potential of optical measuring technology can really be used,” according to Product Manager Fuchs. 

Additional information
Published in Press
Thursday, 03 August 2017 09:19

Fringe Projection for Fast Scans

New ZEISS 3D sensor speeds up digitalization of parts

Optical metrology is not new to the world, but it is a cutting-edge technology topic for most industries. The fringe projection technology, in particular, opens up various application possibilities. Carl Zeiss Optotechnik GmbH has launched a successor model of this sensor in the market, ZEISS COMET LƎD.

"Even if not all measurement tasks can be solved optically, they are suitable for an increasing number of industrial applications," says Dr. Marcus Steinbichler, Managing Director of ZEISS Optotechnik. The great advantage of all optical 3D measuring methods is their speed with which they capture many measuring points at a time – and is on a continuous technological evolution path. With the 3D sensor ZEISS COMET LƎD 2, ZEISS has now reduced the measuring time by 50 percent per sequence compared to the predecessor model. So, as much as 5 million measuring points can now be captured in one second. "With our new system, fringe projection has become even more interesting for companies", Dr. Steinbichler claims. The CEO's expectations do not seem to be over the top, as the forerunner model, ZEISS COMET LƎD, has already been an industry favorite for several years.

Blue light visualizes geometries
The new generation of the ZEISS COMET LƎD 2 fringe projection sensor uses advanced optical technology. It has a projector module which projects blue LED light as a striped pattern onto the measurement object. This pattern is specifically distorted by the geometry of the respective component and captured by a camera. A software links the individual camera pixel to a point on the part via triangulation calculations. The point cloud generated in this way is then converted to a triangle mesh in STL format, with which a 3D model can be generated. This model can then be used for target / actual comparisons to the 3D CAD model. Compared to laser scanners, fringe projection provides more precise results. For this reason, this method is particularly suitable for quality assurance, as the following applications prove.

Focus on quality – Total Quality Improvement
"Good quality is of crucial importance. There is always room for improvement!” Ernst Mahle, the company founder of MAHLE Group, made this statement more than 100 years ago, but it is still one of the company's most important business maxims. For this reason, MAHLE Behr GmbH & Co. KG, headquartered in Stuttgart, continually defines more effective standards for quality planning during product development and production start-up, and systematically monitors internal production processes. When MAHLE took over Behr company in 2013 - a German family-owned company that e.g. manufactures air-conditioning for cars – a decision was made: the stainless-steel rectangular tubes used for producing EGR coolers for cars and trucks should no longer be purchased from external suppliers, but produced in-house on a production line planned specifically for this purpose. This required random dimensional inspections to be carried out in series testing, combined with a new measuring system.

Focus on total surface
MAHLE Behr defined several requirements for a new measuring system. For instance, it should be able to do even two-dimensional (2D) evaluation of the wall thickness across the stamped area of the tube as well as of the pipe ends. In addition, an automated measuring process and a compact measuring system were required since the plant operators should carry out the measurements in a small measuring room directly on the production line. The measurement system should also be easy to duplicate so that it could be used for future production lines worldwide. The fringe projection sensor ZEISS COMET LƎD met all these requirements. As the entire surface can be analyzed and evaluated using false-color representation, the machine operator is able to make any necessary fine adjustments of the slider on the stamping press while still maintaining the required minimum wall thickness. Moreover, geometric dimensions can now be tested to enable error-free automated assembly.

Reduction in measurement time
Not just MAHLE Behr, but also HERU Werkzeugbau GmbH & Co. KG uses the fringe projection sensor for demanding applications in quality control. Founded in 1987, the company develops and manufactures complex sheet metal parts as well as numerous tools. Tactile measuring machines are used to measure the components in order to ensure high product quality, however, these machines were reaching their utilization limits. The requirement for fast, complex measurements in series production was gradually becoming the primary focus of quality assurance. "We have now become so accustomed to this convenient measuring system that we can no longer imagine quality assurance without it," emphasizes Markus Hesse, Managing Director of HERU Werkzeugbau GmbH & Co. KG, Lennestadt-Grevenbrück, "We should have taken this step much earlier." Due to the possibility to do target / actual comparisons quickly and with minimal effort as well as the easy handling and the fast analysis of new parts, the company decided to opt for a ZEISS COMET LƎD. It fulfills the desire to perform fast measurements – in less than two seconds per sequence, even complex parts are scanned.

Faster product development
The ZEISS COMET LƎD sensor not only proves its advantages in quality assurance, many companies also use the system for product development, such as the shoe manufacturer Lorenz Shoe Group AG from Austria. The development of a new shoe model starts with the creation of a master model that is used as the basis for the subsequent series production. In order to create new models more quickly, the company employing more than 1,000 employees was looking for a measurement system to digitize the shoe lasts and then develop the soles in 3D. With the COMET LƎD and the automated COMETrotary turn-table for positioning of components, the master model is now fast and easy to measure, and the master data can be created and saved in just a few steps. "By introducing the COMET LƎD sensor we have been able to reduce development lead times to a fraction of what they used to be" says Florian Kaidlsdorfer, developer at the Lorenz Shoe Group, "We can respond much faster to fashion trends and develop intermediate collections for our own international retail business."

3D data for unique glass objects
Cristalica GmbH, a glass factory in Döbern, Germany, is even one step further in product development than the Lorenz Shoe Group. It allows the end user to modify existing 3D models of their products and thus create unique designs. Before the introduction of the ZEISS COMET LƎD sensor, samples had to be manually measured and recorded in order to display them digitally. The portable ZEISS sensor makes 3D data acquisition much easier, faster and more accurate. In addition, the handling is very convenient for its users. The glass factory also uses the 3D data obtained by the ZEISS system for quality assurance and for preparation of series production.

Wide range of applications
Bernstein Innovation GmbH also appreciates the range of applications of the system. "The ZEISS COMET LƎD has paid off from the very first day," says Stefan Niedermair, CTIO of Bernstein Innovation GmbH. The Austrian company develops and produces consumer goods by means of 3D printing and was initially looking for a measuring system that precisely captures complex geometries and can measure a wide range of component sizes ranging from a few millimeters up to 55 cm edge length. With the acquisition of the ZEISS COMET LƎD, another field of application soon opened up: digitalization of components. Thus, the company can easily create 3D components which have not been digitized. This provides enormous potential for the 3D printing.

Universal use
Although ZEISS COMET LƎD can already be used for a wide range of applications, because of its performance parameters and its compactness, the new ZEISS COMET LƎD 2 which has been available since February 2016, will "continue to drive this development," claims Herbert Daxauer, Product Manager 3D Digitizing. A significant advantage for companies looking to scan complex and or large components is a short measurement time of only about one second. They can save up to one hour of measurement time during each project. As the sensor is even more compact than its predecessor, it is even more handy. This is an advantage when, for instance, interior or compact spaces are to be digitized, or when the sensor has to be transported to different sites. As with the predecessor, the modular design allows changing the measurement field easily and quickly. For this reason, companies can solve different measurement tasks with just one sensor. According to Mr. Daxauer, the developers of the ZEISS COMET LƎD 2 have not only limited themselves to improving the existing functions, but have also created new features. The new sensor detects changes in exposure and vibration. An innovation that, according to Mr. Daxauer, "reduces the uncertainty of measurement and thus inspires product developers and quality managers".



Published in Optical Measurement
Tuesday, 01 August 2017 13:13

3D sensor optimizes 3D printing

ZEISS COMET LƎD enables the research institute Wood K plus to carry out a nominal-actual comparison. 


Research and development 

Kompetenzzentrum Holz GmbH (Wood K plus) 

Kompetenzzentrum Holz GmbH or Wood K plus for short is a leading research institute for wood and related renewable raw materials in Europe, located in Linz, Austria. Around 115 employees in five research areas at four locations (Linz, Tulln, Lenzing, St. Veit) are currently researching how renewable raw materials can be finished and processed for innovative applications and used for high-tech applications.

The fact that the scientific output of the competence center is internationally recognized is documented by many, in some cases highly ranked publications. In 2015 alone, the team from Wood K plus published more than 100 articles in refereed scientific journals and conference papers, as well as in trade journals and books. In addition to this, the center counted more than 50 ongoing academic works in the same year.

An important focus of research of the scientists in the field of wood-polymer composite materials is the development and processing of composites of renewable raw materials and thermoplastics (WPC: Wood Polymer Composite and NFC: Natural Fiber Composite), including with the use of 3D FLM printing. This is a theme that is of great interest for many companies from the industry due to its enormous practical relevance. In the context of a new international pilot project (Interreg Austria-Bavaria 2014-2020; technology and research platform "Hybrid Materials", AB97), the Kompetenzzentrum Holz was able to expand its infrastructure in Linz with additive production with 3D FLM printing.

In order to be able to manufacture high quality work pieces with this still innovative process, the deviations of the 3D-printed parts from the nominal values of their CAD model must be definable. In 2016, Wood K plus therefore invested in a ZEISS COMET LƎD that for the first time enabled researchers to carry out analyses of this kind.

The Austrian scientists decided in favor of the strip projection sensor of Carl Zeiss Optotechnik GmbH especially due to its precise measurement results, which are "indispensible" for making qualitative statements about the nominal-actual deviations of the ongoing project in the field of wood-polymer composite materials."
The ZEISS COMET LƎD is an innovative sensor for the recording of 3D data that is based on the measurement principle of strip projection and blue LED technology. Here a strip pattern is projected onto the respective measurement object using the blue LED light. This pattern is specifically distorted due to the geometry of the respective component, and is recorded by a camera.

The intuitively operated ZEISS collin3D software subsequently uses triangulation calculations to establish a relationship between the individual camera pixel and a point on the work piece. The point cloud created in this way is then transformed to the so-called triangular network in the STL format, with which a 3D model can be generated. This is then drawn upon using the inspection software INSPECTplus, also from ZEISS Optotechnik, for the nominal-actual comparison with the 3D CAD model.

Only a few hours were required to launch the ZEISS COMET LƎD for practical usage. Because, according to the employees, handling is "easy and intuitive“, all of those trained could subsequently work independently with the ZEISS COMET LƎD after a brief introduction by ZEISS. After several weeks of intensive usage, the employees of the Kompetenzzentrum Holz were then introduced to the fine points of the system. Thanks to this detailed ZEISS workshop, which took place over several days, "we can now exploit the complete potential of the system."

The Austrian research institute Wood K plus currently uses the ZEISS sensor especially for the analysis of the components created with 3D printing or for the detection of deviations from the nominal geometry defined in the CAD model. Thanks to the precise measurement results, the scientists in Linz are able to adapt the printing process as hoped in such a way that, depending upon the material, the nominal-actual deviation already lies within the strived for or prescribed tolerance range after 2-3 test runs.

In addition to this, the employees can also digitalize various injection molding parts with the ZEISS COMET LƎD. "This makes it possible to evaluate and correlate the process-related differences with regard to the shrinkage behavior of the respectively used materials in the injection mold in comparison with the 3D print more quickly than previously.”

- "The price-performance ratio of the ZEISS COMET LƎD is convincing: we received an extensive system with a high degree of flexibility and performance capability at a fair price."
- "We were looking for an exact digitalization system. The ZEISS COMET LƎD fulfils our requirements, which is why we consciously chose it."
- "We use the ZEISS COMET LƎD to analyze whether the components manufactured with 3D FLM printing deviate from the nominal geometry (CAD). With this information, we adapt the printing process in such a way that the prescribed tolerances are observed."
- "Thanks to the time savings achieved through the adjustment of the process parameters for the required tolerances with the assistance of the data, investing industrial companies can anticipate a quick return on investments on the foundation of our development results."
DI Josef Ecker, scientific employee and lecturer on wood-polymer composite materials, Kompetenzzentrum Holz GmbH

Published in Optical Measurement
Tuesday, 11 July 2017 10:32

Visualized measurement deviation

Injection mold manufacturer uses ZEISS COMET LƎD to accelerate both quality assurance and the testing of initial samples. 


Injection molding / module assembly 

EMKA-Plast GmbH, Hille, Germany 

The eastern Westphalian company EMKA-Plast GmbH has been designing, producing, and assembling plastic items and modules in Hille in the Minden-Lübbecke administrative district for 20 years. In the meantime, the company, with its 25 employees, works for a large number of internationally active companies from a wide variety of industries. 

Seventeen injection molding machines are used in Hille to process the many customer orders. Around the clock. They use pressure to press liquid plastic into injection molding tools, which respectively determine the shape and the surface quality of the parts to be produced. Although injection molding is a common process today, the production process is nonetheless in no sense trivial, considering the strict quality specifications of customers. Especially when, as is usual in Hille, insert parts are inserted into the injection molding tool, which EMKA-Plast usually produces itself, and sprayed with plastic. The inserts are usually threaded sockets, contacts, plates, or coils. The spraying of other components such as magnets or PCBs is also possible in Hille.

In order to assure the quality of its broad product portfolio, the medium-sized company works with a 3D measuring machine that measures optically and tactilely. However, that takes time. Especially when parts with 200 or more specifications need to be tested. The manufacturer of plastic parts therefore searched for a digitizing system that enabled a rapid nominal/actual comparison. The system especially needed to be suitable for initial sampling reports. Also of great importance to the business management was that handling be simple and that the training of employees require no more than a week.

The fringe projection sensor of Carl Zeiss Optotechnik GmbH scored points both with the business management and with the employees in Quality Assurance, who in the meantime use the system on a daily basis. Especially the results, which are very precise in comparison to other 3D digitizing methods, and the impressive speed in comparison with tactile measuring processes were immediately convincing.

The innovative ZEISS COMET sensor for 3D data recording is based on fringe projection and blue LED technology. It projects blue LED light in a fringe pattern onto the object to be measured. This pattern is specifically distorted by the geometry of the respective component and recorded by a camera. Software uses triangulation calculations to establish a relationship between the individual camera pixel and a point on the work piece. The point cloud created in this way is then transformed into the so-called triangular network in the Stl format, with which a 3D model can be generated. This is then drawn upon for the nominal/actual comparison with the 3D-CAD model.

Five days were enough to introduce the fringe projection or the system from ZEISS at the manufacturer of plastic parts. During this time, one employee of ZEISS Optotechnik trained two EMKA-Plast employees on location in Hille. For the person responsible for quality, "the week was more than enough" to be able to use the ZEISS COMET LƎD safely for a variety of tasks.” This is because, thanks to the excellent data quality, the application range is also broad for the manufacturer of injection molding parts.

According to EMKA-Plast, "the system utilizes all of its strengths”, especially for the creation of initial sample test reports. In addition to the considerable time savings in their own company, the company emphasizes another advantage: Thanks to the colored representation of the nominal/actual comparison, customers can now see at a glance whether all specifications are within tolerances. "That clearly involves less effort and time than working through sometimes endless table columns full of actual and nominal data."

- "Although concrete figures for a before-after comparison are missing, it goes without saying that the use of the ZEISS COMET system saves EMKA-Plast an unbelievable amount of time in the creation of initial sample test reports."
- "Customers also profit from the use of the ZEISS COMET system. This is because, thanks to the colored nominal/actual comparisons, the initial sample test reports can now be read more easily and quickly, which also reduces the time required by the customer."
- "The handling of the ZEISS COMET system is extremely simple. It can be safely operated after only a few days."
Quality testing, EMKA-Plast GmbH
Published in Optical Measurement
This engineering firm for measurement services has now switched to ZEISS COMET LƎD.



Andreas Rühmer Engineering Firm, 35088 Battenberg 

Battenberg is a small town in Hessen, with a population of only 5,500. It is also the hometown of Andreas Rühmer, the founder and owner of this engineering firm specializing in measurements.

As a Mechanical Engineer, he works on more than 1,000 orders every year – primarily from customers from the automotive industry – together with his seven employees. This figure is also on the increase. The spectrum of services offered by this service provider in the area of contract measurements include the preparation of initial sample reports and the execution of feasibility tests, as well as the digitizing of components for the execution of target-actual comparisons and for reverse engineering.

Due to ever-more complex designs and the increasing number of free-form surfaces on components, important functional measurements continue to be performed only in tactile form or contact-free, using 3D measurement machines. The trend is moving more and more toward the digitizing of components and comparison of data generated in this manner with the 3D data.

In 2011 – following testing of multiple digitizing systems – the Rühmer Engineering Firm invested in a contact-free 3D white light fringe projection system by Steinbichler, known nowadays as Carl Zeiss Optotechnik GmbH. For three years, Rühmer and his employees used the ZEISS COMET 5 system in order to quickly digitize workpieces and compare them with the CAD model.

In 2014, working for more than 60 customers both domestically and internationally, the company switched to the more precise ZEISS COMET LƎD. "We wanted to offer our customers the most current and innovative system on the market", states the visionary engineer regarding his decision.

The special 3D sensor projects blue LED light as a stripe pattern onto the object to be measured. This muster is specifically distorted due to the geometry of the respective component, and is recorded by a camera. The software generates relationships between the camera, the projector, and the projected point on the workpiece, using triangulation calculations. The scatter plot created in this manner is then converted into a triangular network in STL format. This how a 3D model, that can be used for the target-actual comparison with the 3D CAD data set, is created.

Currently, the engineering firm is using the ZEISS COMET LƎD for verification of the profile forms and for the reverse engineering. These are tasks that this service provider had already conducted for its customers using the ZEISS COMET 5. However, the resolution is now significantly higher, allowing for finer details during the target-actual comparison itself. This is an advantage that equally "excites" both quality-conscious customers and measurement technology experts. Furthermore, Andreas Rühmer sees two additional reasons why the ZEISS COMET LƎD represents "a clear step forward in the area of digitizing", in comparison to other systems: 1. an easy modification of the measuring fields, and 2. lower operating and follow-up costs thanks to conversion to the LED technology.


- "Our quality-conscious customers value the high resolution of the ZEISS COMET LƎD and the possibility to image the finest details."
- "The training and installation expenditure was low - thanks to our existing knowledge, but primarily because the operation is intuitive."
- "With the ZEISS COMET LƎD we are expanding our spectrum of services and we can thus acquire additional customers."

Andreas Rühmer, Andreas Rühmer Engineering Firm, Battenberg
Published in Optical Measurement
Thursday, 03 November 2016 08:40

Concentrated fringe performance

Fast custom digitizing with the ZEISS COMET LƎD. 



RUAG Aerostructures Services GmbH, Wessling - Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany 

Using the latest technologies in composite forming, sheet-metal forming and metalworking, RUAG Aerostructures Services GmbH in Wessling - Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, manufactures, develops and integrates primarily structural modules and precision components for aerostructures. The company's core competencies include specialised processing methods, forming technology, surface engineering, assembly technology and environmental technology, which are reflected in large, highprecision individual components, detailed components or complete modules and systems.

The customer base spans many industries, ranging from machine builders and semi-conductor manufacturers to wind power specialists, to companies in the automotive industry; but RUAG's primary customers are the renowned aeroplane constructors.

In order to manufacture products at the highest quality level, quality assurance with guaranteed high dimensional accuracy is absolutely essential. Comparisons of target versus actual component performance are indispensable in this regard, and contactless 3D measurement methods provide the most efficient way to capture data.

The decisive factor in acquiring a 3D scanning sensor was the realisation of a project in which it was necessary to perform optical measurements on the actual condition of approximately 1,500 components with an accuracy tolerance of +/- 0,05 mm, and to reverse-engineer CAD parts from the STL files.

Following an extensive evaluation, RUAG chose the ZEISS COMET LƎD fringe projection sensor from Carl Zeiss Optotechnik GmbH (formerly Steinbichler Optotechnik GmbH), headquartered in Neubeuern, Germany.

This innovative measuring system for 3D data acquisition provides an extremely convenient system solution for the application at hand. An added plus is its intuitive ZEISS INSPECTplus software.

In connection with a very clear, structured system configuration, the software makes it possible for technicians to work independently with the system following a four-day training. The different lenses allow measuring ranges to be adjusted to the various component sizes in the blink of an eye, easily assuring the required dimensional tolerance of +/- 0.05.

Fast custom digitizing with the ZEISS COMET L3D. Fast custom digitizing with the ZEISS COMET L3D.
                              Measurement set-up: ZEISS COMET LƎD with rotary table

Since acquiring the maintenance-free 3D sensor, RUAG is now able to evaluate part documents for components using a completely new approach. Two different production states can be compared immediately and evaluated through rapid generation of STL files. This is accompanied by the possibility of quickly incorporating this new, time-saving type of target/actual data analysis into new quality assurance process chains. Exceedingly short measuring times of under two seconds per individual image allow for a degree of efficiency which was previously lacking. It is also worth noting that the system fits perfectly into its ambient conditions thanks to countless attachment options (from pedestals to wall brackets).

• Extremely high dimensional accuracy
• Clear, structured system layout
• Simple, flexible and easy to operate
• Only four days required for training
• Target/actual comparisons
• Comparison of various production stages
• Intuitive software

"It's hard to believe how fast we were able to work productively with the ZEISS COMET LƎD. The system provides countless data acquisition options and enables us to define new quality assurance processes which allow more efficient accuracy checks."
Guido Maier, Team Leader, Measuring Technology, RUAG Aerospace Structures GmbH - Gilching
Published in Optical Measurement
Following the acquisition of Steinbichler by ZEISS last year, Central Scanning Limited is now the UK authorized reseller for ZEISS Optotechnik 3D scanning solutions. Central Scanning will continue to support existing Steinbichler customers in the UK as well and provide hardware demonstrations, training and support for all new ZEISS 3D Scanning solution customers.

If you have any other questions please feel free to contact Central Scanning Limited:

Unit 9, Wildmoor Mill, Mill Lane, Wildmoor
Bromsgrove, Worcestershire B61 0BX

Phone: 01527 558282
Tuesday, 30 August 2016 11:49

Better qualification of prototype parts

COMET LƎD fringe projection sensor enables verification of dimensional accuracy and production tolerance. 



Cognex Germany Aachen GmbH 

Founded in 1981 by Dr. Robert J. Shillman, Bill Silver, and Marilyn Matz, Cognex Corporation is the world's leading provider of vision systems, vision software, vision sensors, and surface inspection systems used in manufacturing automation. Cognex is also a leading manufacturer of industrial ID readers. From offices located throughout North America, Europe, Japan, Asia, and Latin America and through a global network of integration and distribution partners, Cognex serves an international customer base in a range of industry sectors, including the automotive, consumer goods, and automation industries. The company is headquartered close to Boston in Natick, Massachusetts, USA.

In addition to machine vision products, Cognex offers an entire range of barcode readers as fixed-mount and rugged, portable solutions. Not only does the company have the largest selection of barcode readers; the readers also boast the most advanced technology available for 1D barcode and 2D data matrix code reading and for verifying barcodes.

The company's German subsidiary, Cognex Aachen GmbH, develops ID readers. To conduct and verify measurements on the barcode readers, manual measuring methods and external service providers were used. In summer 2014, the company was in the market for a new optical measuring system.

For Cognex Aachen GmbH, important reasons for acquiring a new optical measuring system included high sensor accuracy, system extensibility, and a favourable price-performance ratio.

These requirements were met by the compact yet powerful COMET LƎD 3D sensor from Carl Zeiss Optotechnik GmbH (formerly Steinbichler Optotechnik GmbH), located in Neubeuern, Germany. This sensor uses fringe projection technology to perform 3D digitizing.

A cost-effective entry-level solution in visual measuring technology, the COMET LƎD delivers outstanding data quality and highly accurate measuring results. Thanks to a one-of-a-kind LED pulse mode, its high light output ensures excellent measuring results even in difficult ambient conditions.

Just a few quick steps is all it takes to expand the measuring field. Changes to the measuring field are accomplished simply by swapping lenses. Depending on the resolution of the COMET LƎD system, measuring fields between 45 and 500 are at the user's disposal, allowing the measuring volume to be specially tailored and adapted to suit a broad range of applications.

COMET VarioBench, the flexible positioning solution with workbench and integrated camera stand, and the COMETrotary table ensure maximum efficiency and ease of use.

Designed specifically for use with the sensors, the ZEISS Optotechnik software solutions are the ideal companion to the hardware components, giving users still more powerful features. The INSPECTplus inspection software offers a number of comparison methods, logging functions, and comprehensive editing options for documenting the measurement results. To complement this, the colin3D software enables data acquisition, data processing, and simple data comparison. The component scan data can be calibrated for verification purposes against the surface of a CAD model using a simple best-fit alignment. To analyse the measurement results, colin3D features false colour display with a colour gradient.

It took just two days of training at Cognex in Aachen to introduce the COMET LƎD system. The sensor was put to work immediately thereafter. The fringe projection sensor is used to develop ID readers and for initial sampling of prototypes and initial series specimens.

Since its commissioning, the COMET LƎD has enabled fast and easy verification of dimensional accuracy and production tolerances of prototypes and initial production parts.

• Initial sampling possible
• Verification of dimensional accuracy and production tolerances
• Easy modular extensibility
• Highly accurate scan results
• Good price-performance ratio

“Thanks to the COMET LƎD system, we can now qualify prototype parts better and faster. With the colin3D evaluation software, it is now also possible to verify complex features and obtain detailed measurements of variations from the CAD.”
Andreas Weber, Principal Optical Engineer, Cognex Germany Aachen GmbH
Published in Optical Measurement
Monday, 05 September 2016 09:32

3D scanning, in service of our health

The versatility of the COMET in different areas of intervention. 


Health / Dental 

Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Portugal 

A young Portuguese doctor tries to build an articulation disc replacement, which may ultimately help patients with anomalies in the jawbone, with the collaboration of the Hospital of Santa Maria, doctors of Badajoz Hospital and the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria. 

The dysfunction in the articulation difficult routine movements like eating, laughing or yawning. To do this, he bought nine sheep, because they have the jawbone similar to ours, to make the experience of replacing the natural disc, being the process accompanied by veterinarians. The disc is generated at the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria and they need to create virtually the natural anatomy of the disc.

The Polytechnic Institute of Leiria has participated in several research projects, national and international, contributing to the scientific and technological advances leading to products, materials and processes more efficient and appropriate by developing new technologies, the definition of the theoretical foundations of such technologies and development methodologies grounded in strong scientific basis.

In many of these projects it was necessary to resort to 3D scanning and Carl Zeiss Optotechnik GmbH offers the perfect solution in the world of 3D scanning, capturing the 3D data, an accurate and efficient labeling.

The COMET 5 system combined with the rotating table allows scanning of complex components in an extremely short time with high detail. This scanning system projects a fringe pattern, which is encoded using a special process, onto the object to be measured. The topography of the object causes deformations and deflections in this fringe pattern. These make the object's surface visible in 3D to the camera systems, which form the second key part of a white light fringe scanner. To determine the individual 3D point coordinates, a triangulation calculation (relationships in the right-angled triangle) is performed from each camera pixel on the basis of beam intersection (projector – camera(s)) and encoding.

The Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, with the COMET 5 system scanned the capture of the anatomy of the joint. Based on its 3D data and with the help of the inspection and data acquisition softwares INSPECTplus and colin3D (both also from ZEISS Optotechnik), they created a replacement disc virtually. With the use of a high end 3D printer, it was finally possible to produce the replacement disk made of a biomaterial.

A now designed long-term study will bring more information on longevity and compatibility.

3D scanning, in service of our health
Replacement disk application

• Simple, flexible and easy to use
• High precision
• Very attractive price
• Intuitive software

Published in Optical Measurement
Thursday, 24 March 2016 09:44

Seven in one go

COMET LƎD and INSPECTplus provide seven unbeatable benefits in the field of 3D data acquisition from printed materials.


High-end 3D printing

Bernstein Innovation GmbH

The potential uses for 3D printing seem to be endless – thanks to the use of the latest 3D printing technologies, many things that used to be unimaginable have now been made possible with a previously inconceivable level of customisation. This applies to individual items, small series and large series alike.

Excited by these possibilities, in 2014, Klaus Schmied, then CEO of Silhouette International Schmied AG, founded a successful company with his son Jakob: Bernstein Innovation GmbH. This specialises in the production, development, structuring and design of consumer goods using 3D printing.

The company is divided into two organisational units based at two different sites. The Bernstein Innovation Agency specialises in design and product development activities and is based in Linz, Upper Austria. Not only is it responsible for the development of proprietary products but it also takes on services for external customers. Bernstein 3D Production is the production branch of the company and is based on Gmünd in northern Austria. During production, high quality and dimensional accuracy are key priorities.

The 3D printers, which use high-precision selective laser sintering (SLS), form the heart of the production processes. During this additive production procedure, layers of powder are partially sintered in a horizontal manner by a laser. By stacking these layers, which have a thickness of approx. 0.1 mm, any objects with a size of up to 55 x 55 x 45 cm³ can be created. It is also possible to simultaneously produce objects of different geometries, complexities and sizes in one single construction area. The enormous production flexibility poses a major challenge for quality assurance as measuring systems have to be able to capture complex geometries as well as measure the broadest range of component sizes with edge lengths from just a few millimetres to 55 cm.

Example of a printed component
Example of a printed component

Bernstein 3D Production started to precisely evaluate the possibilities offered by optical measuring systems. Particular attention was paid to the highest precision and flexible integration options. The COMET LƎD from Carl Zeiss Optotechnik GmbH (formerly Steinbichler Optotechnik GmbH) in Neubeuern, Germany, impressed the team from the outset.

The compact and high-performance 3D sensor uses innovative, maintenance-free and affordable LED lighting technology. Thanks to the new and unique LED-Puls mode, the high light output also guarantees excellent measuring results even in difficult environments. The sensor housing with the tried-and-tested single-camera technology and the complete measurement setup have a highly compact and lightweight design for effortless transportation. The 3D data acquisition process using this sensor is particularly quick, in part thanks to the user-friendly software. The excellent data quality and highly precise measurement results are therefore ideal for demanding uses in the fields of quality control and quality assurance.

A more in-depth observation subsequently made it clear that choosing ZEISS Optotechnik also offered many other valuable benefits.

The first focus area was the fulfilment of the core requirement. The COMET LƎD in combination with a rotary table, the COMETrotary, was an extremely convenient solution. The ability to be quickly integrated into existing workflows, the intuitive operation and the stable and precise acquisition of measurement data all contributed greatly to the final purchase decision. The modular and expandable design of the COMET LƎD quickly resolved the issue of how to measure different-sized components as the measurement fields can be changed and calibrated within a matter of minutes. The combination of the COMET LƎD measurement system with the INSPECTplus inspection software offers a target/actual comparison, among other benefits. The measurement data is compared with the 3D reference data records, which are available in the 3D printing process anyway. This makes it possible to ensure that all customers can order a customised measurement record for their finished component and that the required tolerances are adhered to.

A further benefit of choosing the ZEISS Optotechnik system is that it simplifies quality assurance activities in relation to the 3D printers. The accuracy of the printing system can be ensured by regularly measuring a printed reference object. Expensive downtime and quality impairments can therefore be avoided.

A further area of use is also opening up for Bernstein 3D Production: the 3D scanning of components. Since the COMET LƎD was launched, 3D data can be generated for components that have not yet been digitally recorded. This offers enormous potential, especially with regard to parts without CAD data that are no longer available as well as custom parts.

• Modular design of the 3D sensor
• Rapid expandability
• Quick integration into existing workflows
• Stable measurement data acquisition
• High precision
• Quality control/assurance
• 3D scanning of components as a new area of use

“Thanks to its versatile range of uses, the COMET LƎD has paid off from day one. In line with the motto ‘seven in one go’, the seven unbeatable benefits are clear.”
Stefan Niedermair, CTIO, Bernstein Innovation GmbH

Published in Optical Measurement
Page 1 of 6


Carl Zeiss Optotechnik GmbH
Georg-Wiesböck-Ring 12
83115 Neubeuern, Germany
+49 8035 8704 0

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