Carl Zeiss Optotechnik GmbH - Optische Messtechnik

Displaying items by tag: Digitizing

IDEAL Automotive Oelsnitz GmbH has optimized processes at its Slovakian production site with ZEISS T-SCAN


Automotive system supplier 

IDEAL Automotive Oelsnitz GmbH 

A vehicle's technical features are not the only thing customers consider when buying a car. They increasingly focus on comfort and design – particularly on the interior. IDEAL Automotive Oelsnitz GmbH produces textile lining components for a vehicle's interior, exterior, and trunk. As system supplier for brand-name manufacturers like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the company offers comprehensive industry expertise and knows how to meet its customers' demanding requirements. In addition to the look, functionality, and durability of its products, cost efficiency plays a key role. Hence, the need for optimized processes. The German company saw particularly strong optimization potential for the quality-assurance measurements of parts manufactured at its sites abroad.

As the individual locations did not have their own measuring equipment, all test fixtures had to be transported to headquarters in Germany where the company has its own measuring lab, equipped with a contact measuring system. Here the company checked, if the parts met the OEMs' requirements. It was a complicated logistical feat: the test fixtures – known as 'cubing models' – can weigh up to a ton, are quite large, and had to be shipped by truck to Oelsnitz in Eastern Germany and back again. This process meant that, for several days, the fixtures could not be used in production to align the parts. This caused significant costs. To solve this problem, the automotive supplier began a pilot project for optical and mobile measurements – with ZEISS T-SCAN – at its site in the Slovakian city of Bratislava, approximately 600 km away from Oelsnitz.

Now everything works a lot more smoothly: "The mobile scanner has made us significantly more flexible. My colleague and I take turns traveling to Bratislava every two weeks to measure the parts – because the measuring system remains stationied in Germany," explains Jochen Rödel, a measuring technician at IDEAL Automotive Oelsnitz. "We travel there, set up the system, measure, dismantle our equipment, and then head back." The employees at the Slovakian production site requested the ZEISS system. They first researched the different options on the market and identified ZEISS T-SCAN to be the best scanner for their needs. The modular system is user-friendly and suitable for many different applications. The hand-held laser scanner makes intuitive and highly precise 3D scanning quick and easy.

"ZEISS T-SCAN does everything we had hoped for," confirms Rödel who has been using the scanner for more than a year. The three elements are perfectly aligned: the hand scanner, the tracking camera, and the touch probe. The major benefits of the system are its speed and the precise results. 210,000 points are captured every second – more than with any other method. The acquired data provide a detailed look at the actual condition of the component. This can also be compared with the nominal values stipulated in the CAD model. Thus, errors can be identified quickly and easily thanks to a false color comparison of the component surface.

Particularly when scanning large parts such as the cubing model, operators benefit from the excellent ergonomics of ZEISS T-SCAN allowing fatigue-free measurements. The light, compact scanner housing also makes capturing difficult-to-reach areas a breeze.

Even with tolerances of up to two millimeters for textile products, IDEAL Automotive Oelsnitz not only wants to ensure precision, but also be customer-oriented. The company is only responsible for developing the components. "We are involved until the start of batch production, and we use measuring technology every step of the way," explains Rödel. The geometry, cut, and placement of the components have to be inspected meticulously and must meet manufacturer’s requirements. This is where the ZEISS software scores. Problems that occur in production can be solved through component testing. "Learning by doing," is how Jochen Rödel sums up the process. He also counts on the expert service his company receives from ZEISS: "We get immediate support if we have problems or difficulties."

When performing measurements at the Slovakian factory, Jochen Rödel not only gets to know new approaches and different ways of thinking about his work, but also often discovers optimization potential. "The measurements are ideally suited for improving products so that they meet customer requirements. This process speeds up development." His colleagues are keen to implement these recommendations, and they are all impressed by the ZEISS system. "Whenever we arrive with the scanner, people are curious, but slightly hesitant at first. However, everyone is convinced by the time the results are in." Thus, it is planned for additional production sites in the Czech Republic and Poland, that have just opened and are gradually being equipped for production, to benefit from ZEISS T-SCAN as soon as possible.

- Maximum portability means high flexibility
- Less logistics expenses for factories abroad
- Precise measurements and optimization impress even sceptical employees

"With ZEISS T-SCAN we are mobile. Our customers benefit from a faster development process based on the measuring results."
Jochen Rödel, Measuring Technician, IDEAL Automotive Oelsnitz GmbH

Published in Optical Measurement
%PM, %21 %553 %2018 %14:%Aug

A Quick Fix

The company SLR Elsterheide has significantly sped up their measurement process with the ZEISS T-SCAN


Casting house 

SLR-Elsterheide GmbH, Elsterheide, Germany 

Well-known companies such as Caterpillar Inc., the world's largest manufacturer of construction machinery headquartered in Peoria, USA, put their trust in the quality of the vehicle parts cast in the town of Elsterheide, Germany. SLR-Elsterheide GmbH is part of the SLR Group, which produced around 120,000 tons of nodular cast iron machine parts in 2016. The carbon in this particular type of cast iron has a nodular shape. Companies are very interested in nodular cast iron parts for industrial applications because of their outstanding mechanical properties and the relatively low cost of manufacture. As a system supplier for drive systems and components, the SLR Group's customers not only include companies from the construction machinery industry. It is active internationally, supplying its axle parts, gear housings and engine mounts to companies in the commercial vehicle, agricultural machinery, rail technology and mechanical engineering industries.

"Whether it's an excavator or a tractor, the vehicle almost always has a cast part from SLR," says the Head of the SLR Group, whose annual revenue totals 140 million euros.

Today the family-run company has around 700 employees. Its roots go back to the early 1980s: the SLR Group's main factory was first built in St. Leon-Rot, a small city in southwest Germany, in 1981. Located near Dresden, SLR-Elsterheide GmbH produces nodular cast iron parts and has an automatic molding facility. It joined the SLR Group in 2009. Many of the 280 employees working at this site fill orders for quality-conscious customers from Europe, the US, China and Japan. That the SLR Group continues to thrive in a country like Germany where wages are relatively high is primarily the result of their sharp focus on quality. This is evident in the company's reject rate of just 0.5 percent, which is remarkably low for this sector. The quality assurance employees in Elsterheide were looking for a digital solution to further increase the quality of their products as well as the number of nodular cast iron and gray cast iron parts that could be inspected. They wanted a system to replace a coordinate measuring machine that had become a bottleneck in the quality assurance process.

Multiple suppliers presented their solutions before the company made its decision. As Bernd Macijewski, Measuring Lab Manager in Elsterheide, explains, the decision proved an easy one: "The T-SCAN CS from ZEISS best meets our requirements when it comes to precision, ease-of-use and portability."

The hand-held ZEISS T-SCAN CS laser scanner enables the metrology engineer to perform quick, intuitive and highly precise 3D scans. The hand-held scanner, tracking camera and touch probe are perfectly matched, ensuring the modular system can be used for a wide variety of applications. The exceptional scanning speed and the precise measurement results are particularly impressive. The surface of the component is probed using non-contact measurements: the laser line generated in the hand-held scanner completes the job in next to no time. 210,000 points are captured every second, more than with any other conventional method. Since the tracking camera detects the position of the scanner, 3D surface data can be calculated via triangulation. Contact measurements for additional individual points can be performed using the touch probe, enabling the metrology engineer to capture characteristics such as extremely deep boreholes or difficult-to-access recesses.

The data acquired with the ZEISS T-SCAN CS give the operator a detailed look at the actual condition of the scanned workpieces. Since this can be compared with the nominal parameters stored in the CAD model, serious deviations are identified quickly. Even those employees less familiar with metrology technology notice when a characteristic exceeds tolerance thanks to the comprehensive, user-friendly false-color comparison on the screen.

The ZEISS T-SCAN CS also meets even the most demanding ergonomic requirements, making scanning even larger components a breeze. Thanks to the light, compact scanning housing, it is also easy to capture data in difficult-to-reach areas with the ZEISS system. The intuitive, straight-forward operation further expands the range of applications and user groups.

All it took was two days to introduce the system and instruct employees on site, and three days to conduct the software training course for evaluating digitized, 3D data captured with optical measurements. Then the company was able to start using the device for quality assurance and inspection. "Any remaining issues were cleared up quickly as we used the system in our day-to-day work," says Bernd Macijewski, describing the roll-out phase for the innovative ZEISS T-SCAN CS in Elsterheide. Since 2014, two of the site's employees have been using the ZEISS solution to ensure the quality of cast parts manufactured in serial production. "Now we are monitoring a lot more components," says the Quality Manager, immediately highlighting another benefit: "When inspecting new component samples, we are now three to five times faster than with the coordinate measuring machine." This increase in efficiency has also had a positive effect on the reaction times for special measuring jobs, and thus all the workflows in the measuring lab. Not only that: inspecting more components in the measuring lab in Elsterheide has meant no additional costs for third-party measurements. "It used to be the case that, during particularly busy periods, we had to commission third-party measuring labs because we simply could not handle the measurements ourselves," says Macijewski.

- More workpieces inspected
- First sample inspection is now three to five times faster
- System rolled out quickly

"Introducing the ZEISS T-SCAN CS has definitely paid off. Thanks to this digitization system, we perform our quality assurance and initial sample inspections more quickly, more precisely and more cost-effectively."
Bernd Macijewski, Measuring Lab Manager, SLR-Elsterheide GmbH
Published in Optical Measurement
ZEISS is releasing two new, advanced measuring systems that will bridge the gap between the basic and premium segments and thus round off its portfolio of optical measuring machines. The 3D sensor ZEISS COMET 8M and the 3D scanning system made up of the ZEISS T-TRACK 20 tracking unit and the ZEISS T-SCAN 20 handheld laser scanner will both come on the market.

The new compact 3D sensor ZEISS COMET 8M is equipped with an 8-megapixel camera and is therefore the new, high-res version of the ZEISS COMET LƎD 2. Its high resolution and accuracy mean this fringe light projector will bridge the gap to the premium product, the ZEISS COMET Pro AE.

“We’re using this new resolution to tap into the application fields of turbine blades and consumer electronics,” explains Markus Eßer, Head of ZEISS Optotechnik. After all, to check whether these complex precision parts are in line with the prescribed tolerances, the data captured using the sensor has to be highly precise. In order to complete the different measuring tasks perfectly, users can opt for one of many lenses – and switching measuring fields is still so easy. The ZEISS COMET 8M offers a host of benefits besides: the 3D sensor is easy to transport, construct and calibrate. People are always impressed with the system’s ease of use.

Compact 3D sensor ZEISS COMET 8M

In order to offer one-stop solutions that meet all customer requirements, ZEISS has also developed a mid-range segment for its modular laser scanner systems.As the name suggests, the ZEISS T-TRACK 20 laser scanner tracking unit has a measuring volume of 20 m3: in this field it can detect the scanner and touch probe that belong to the system. In this way, it bridges the gap between the ZEISS T-TRACK CS+ with a measuring volume of 6 m3 and the ZEISS T-TRACK LV with 35 m3 – and it’s the same size, too. The ZEISS T-SCAN 20 handheld laser scanner is perfectly matched to the tracking system and thus ensures a no-hassle measuring process. 

“The new system was completely revamped – and we now rely exclusively on products from the ZEISS Group. After all, we have the skills for optics and cameras in-house,” says Eßer. The ZEISS T-SCAN 20 enables greater mobility – including for at-line measurements.

“The new systems deliver spotless data at the high speed users have come to expect. We’ve managed to triple the measuring volume and drastically reduce measurement uncertainty,” says Eßer. Accessories that have already been purchased, such as stands, are compatible with the new system.
Published in Press
%PM, %26 %662 %2018 %16:%Jun

Up to the Challenge

The pump manufacturer Allweiler in Radolfzell, Germany is using the ZEISS T-SCAN to reduce throughput times and costs. 


Manufacturer of pumps and cast parts 

Allweiler GmbH, Radolfzell, Germany 

Located just a stone's throw away from the Swiss border in Radolfzell, Germany, Allweiler GmbH is the country's oldest pump manufacturer and knows exactly what is most important these days: meeting customers' requirements down to the very last detail. The company has been producing pumps since 1860. Most of these must work flawlessly under extreme conditions, which is why materials and designs at this mid-sized company have to fulfill such demanding quality requirements. The pumps produced by Allweiler are not only designed to operate efficiently, but also to have a long service life. Achieving these goals requires outstanding manufacturing precision, so a comprehensive quality assurance system is in place to inspect each part. The key component is the nominal-actual comparison, i.e. the comparison of the manufactured part with the data set from the initial sample or its CAD data. It makes no difference whether the part is supplied by the customer or manufactured in-house. "The dimensions have to be 100% correct," explains Christian Bühring from the Process Planning department for Molding / Sales / Simulation / 3D Scan at Allweiler.

For a long time, an external service provider handled the measurements of cast parts. Yet it became increasingly apparent that outsourcing measurements was slowing down Allweiler's processes and, as a calculation of the company's costs revealed, making them significantly more expensive. "It was clear that, in the long run, it would be cheaper to do the measurements ourselves – even if we had to acquire the necessary equipment."

The ZEISS T-SCAN stood out from the very beginning: the pump manufacturer's hand-held laser scanner will have paid for itself within just two years. Christian Bühring creates the measurement reports for Allweiler's customers and appreciates how user-friendly the ZEISS T-SCAN is. The ergonomic design means scanning is simple and intuitive. "Using this device is really easy. You have three measurement points, and these make scanning so straightforward." This also kept the time needed to introduce the scanning system at Allweiler to an absolute minimum. Within just a few weeks, Quality Assurance employees were using the ZEISS T-SCAN to perform reliable measurements without any problem.

The system comprises three components: a tracking camera, a hand-held scanner and a touch probe. Thanks to its modular design, the ZEISS T-SCAN can be set up in line with the customer's needs. This makes the system suitable for various applications, including measuring difficult-to-reach areas. The lightweight, ergonomic scanner housing is ideally suited for the technology, making measurements a breeze. The exceptional scanning speed and the precise measurement results are particularly impressive: the surface of the component is probed using non-contact measurements and at lightning speed with the laser line generated in the hand-held scanner. 210,000 points are captured every second, more than with any other standard method. Since the tracking camera detects the position of the scanner, 3D surface data can be calculated via triangulation. Contact measurements for individual points can be performed using the touch probe, enabling the metrology engineer to capture hole boundaries or difficult-to-reach areas such as recesses.

Sometimes customers require pump parts with extremely intricate designs. Christian Bühring remembers a plate with twelve individual models on top of it. All of these needed to be scanned. The most important factor was the suspension points. These were affixed to components to lift up and secure them, and needed to be balanced accordingly. Allweiler uses a wet casting process where the model is recreated using a molding material made up of sand and a bonding agent. The mold is hardened by pouring in molten metal and can shift in different directions. "When using the scanner to perform inspections, it became clear that each part had to be measured differently starting with the suspension point." This meant that there was a difference between the outer and inner shape. "Here we were able to use the scanner to great effect to accommodate these dimensions. Since then, we have not had any problems in this area." Another benefit is that the number of defects in the machining phase has been drastically reduced.

"We scan everything we cast – from a rotor or a lid all the way to the housing," says Bühring, citing some of the various components comprising a pump. "First and foremost, doing these measurements ourselves has saved us time." The company's external service provider had estimated they would need about two weeks to inspect each component. By doing on-site measurements, the throughput time at Allweiler is approximately just six hours. Allweiler passes on the time and costs it saves with the ZEISS T-SCAN directly to its customers. For Bühring, it is clear how customers benefit from these optimized processes: "They get the results more quickly and, what's more, test reports have become significantly less expensive."

In the future, not only will new parts be measured with the ZEISS T-SCAN, but the company will also start using the scanner for components it has been producing for years. "This is really exciting for us because we can identify wear in the casting molds early on by comparing the scan with the CAD model," says Bühring. This enables Allweiler's employees to manufacture components that correspond to the ideal first model with fewer interruptions.

- In-house measurements increase flexibility and lower costs
- Data sets are captured quickly for initial inspection
- Optimized production processes

"The ZEISS T-SCAN enables us to act a lot more quickly than before. Thanks to the precise measurements, defects in the cast parts are identified at such an early stage in the manufacturing process that the number of rejects has been reduced dramatically."
Christian Bühring, Process Planning department for Molding / Sales / Simulation / 3D Scan, Allweiler GmbH

Published in Optical Measurement
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
%AM, %03 %346 %2017 %09:%Aug

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
%PM, %01 %509 %2017 %13:%Aug

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
%AM, %11 %397 %2017 %10:%Jul

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
%AM, %05 %410 %2017 %10:%May

High-precision system for 3D digitizing

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
%AM, %26 %455 %2017 %10:%Jan

A new dimension in increased efficiency

3D digitizing with the ZEISS T-SCAN CS+ optimizes quality assurance and product development. 


Manufacturer of office and contract furnishings 

Wiesner-Hager Möbel GmbH, Altheim, Austria 

Wiesner-Hager Möbel GmbH from Altheim (Upper Austria) can look back on a history covering nearly 170 years ‒ a history filled with innovative decisions. After decades as a carpentry and construction company, the firm diversified and began manufacturing furniture starting in 1921. To great success. By 1930, the company already had 275 employees on its payroll. And because the management set its focus at an early stage on the booming field of cinema and festival hall furnishings, the company also survived the global economic crisis and the war years. The long-established firm didn't lose its flair for profitable trends after 1945, either. In the 1960s and 1970s, the company was one of Europe’s three most renowned manufacturers of seating furniture. The furniture maker reinvented itself yet again in the early 1980s. At that time, it withdrew altogether from the home furnishings, cinema, theatre and restaurants business units, continuing to operate only its office and contract furnishings division. Today Wiesner-Hager is among Europe’s most successful furniture manufacturers, with an export share of 56 percent.

To continue meeting the increasing quality standards of its international customer base in future while also reducing the time to market for new products, the company management was looking to take its quality assurance to a new level. The manual measurements customarily used in quality control were far too imprecise, and much too time-consuming. A disadvantage that impacted prototype construction; what’s more, it impacted the entire development department. Wiesner-Hager therefore set out to find a fast and precise measuring method. And it found what it was looking for. Carl Zeiss Optotechnik GmbH, formerly Steinbichler Optotechnik GmbH, provided the solution needed to boost efficiency in quality assurance and product development: the handheld ZEISS T-SCAN CS+ laser scanner.

The ZEISS T-SCAN CS+ all-in-one system includes a hand-held scanner, a tracking camera and an optional tactile touch probe. The surface of the parts being scanned is sampled via the contactless laser line integrated in the hand-held scanner. And it all takes place at a rate of 210,000 points per second. During this process, the tracking camera detects the position of the scanner, allowing the 3D surface data to be calculated by triangulation. The touch probe can also be used for tactile sensing of additional individual points, such as perforated edges or impervious recesses. As such the system is extremely versatile and can be used in applications ranging from quality control to tool and die making, design development, rapid manufacturing and reverse engineering.

System setup on site - ZEISS laser scanner  Scanning a component with ZEISS T-SCAN
System setup on site                       Scanning a component

Wiesner-Hager itself uses the laser scanner for a range of tasks in various divisions: Development/CAD, Die-Making and Quality Assurance. The introduction phase at the company was relatively short. “After three days of training, we were already quite good at using the system”, emphasises Günter Weilbold from Quality Assurance, “and after a month of self-directed study, we felt like experts”. The ZEISS system is used specifically for incoming goods inspection, series testing and prototype design, but also to inspect development parts as well as testing and welding equipment.

“Our investment in the ZEISS T-SCAN CS+ laser scanner has paid off. We are now able to detect faults early on, at the product development stage. This allows us to bring high-quality products to market faster and more cost-effectively”, Günter Weilbold continues.
But product development is not the only thing to benefit from the new measuring method, according to Weilbold: “Thanks to the high-speed measurement and process accuracy, we are detecting quality problems in production earlier than before and are thus able to correct them faster”.
Another reason the company decided to invest in the ZEISS T-SCAN CS+ was “because of the ZEISS laser scanner‛s attractive price-performance ratio and ease-of-operation”.

“Since we have been using the laser scanner, we are measuring faster and more accurately. We are detecting faults earlier and are now more efficient, from the Development department to Quality Assurance”.
Günter Weilbold, Quality Assurance, Wiesner-Hager Möbel GmbH

Published in Optical Measurement
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Carl Zeiss Optotechnik GmbH
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83115 Neubeuern, Germany
+49 8035 8704 0

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