Cylinder Head Volume Checker Uses Smart 3D Sensors

In the automotive industry, volume gauging is an important application in engine development. Each cylinder in an engine block has to be measured for correct combustion volume. While CAD data can be used to determine nominal volume, compliance testing requires the acquisition of a large number of measurement points, their connection by line or curve approximation, and finally computation of the displacement volume.

Tactile and Traditional Methods of Volume Gauging

Tactile coordinate measuring machines (e.g., CMMs) can accomplish volume gauging with a high degree of accuracy, but this method requires a tremendous amount of time. Compared to tactile methods, traditional methods using liquid, gas or acoustics are much simpler and still remain in wide use.

The Advantage of Optical Methods: Structured Light 

Raw 3D Profile of Cylinder Head

Optical measurement methods based on structured light (fringe projection) offer a 3D scanning method that is non-contact and area based. This means scanning is significantly faster (seconds, not hours)  and the 3D data produced is of much higher data density representing a more accurate shape of the part.

A structured light 3D snapshot sensor projects a line pattern onto the cylinder head of an engine block. The line pattern is recorded by a camera from an optimal angle, yielding information on the cylinder’s surface topology calculated from the deformation of the projected lines.

There is a significant advantage to using this inspection method. Namely, when blue LED stripes with smooth value gradients are projected and moved across the engine block in close steps, the analysis of these values allows for a magnitude better position resolution than the single point measurement typical of classical triangulation methods.

Stripe pattern projection provides coordinate resolution down to 1/50 of the projected stripe width. This means the cylinder head can be fully inspected with the acquisition of just a few dozen images with slightly shifted stripe positions (phases), which can be accomplished in just a few seconds.

LMI’s Cylinder Head Volume Checker Solution

Cylinder Head Volume Checker Exhibited at Control Expo

To meet the unique demands of the engine volume gauging application, LMI has designed the Gocator Cylinder Head Volume Checker which it claims is the only modular solution for engine volume gauging on the market today and was showcased at the recent Control exhibition in Stuttgart, Germany.

With a maximum measuring area of 100 x 154 mm, the Gocator 3210 Snapshot Sensor projects stripe patterns onto the engine block surface. These patterns are recorded by a 2-megapixel stereo camera that achieves detail down to 2 microns resolution. The sensor’s stereo camera and bright industrial projector minimize occlusions and allow for measurements even on combustion chambers with shiny surfaces.


Cylinder Head Volume Calculation Data

The LMI Cylinder Head Volume Checker can perform measurements on both gasoline and diesel engines and has a scan rate of 4 kHz with a total vertical measuring range of up to 4 centimeters capturing each cylinder in a single 3D snapshot in a standard cycle time of under 5 seconds, using a simplified, automated procedure that dramatically reduces the chance for operational errors.

Multiple 3210 sensors can be used to measure multiple cylinders in parallel to achieve fast cycle times.



The 3D Sensor Built for Volume Gauging

The LMI Gocator 3210 sensor models the virtual engine block on the specifications of the individual manufacturer allowing for displacement measurement in a wide variety of engine sizes and types. The volume measurement algorithms are driven by model parameters that describe the displacement region particular to the engine block design.

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