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Machine Vision in 3D – Precise Point Clouds Without Artifacts

The next generation of ShapeDrive 3D sensors from wenglor sensoric group is now available. The two product series from the ShapeDrive G4 family for small and large measuring volumes MLAS and MLBS generate high-resolution point clouds in the shortest possible time with almost no noise or artifacts. Among other things, this is made possible by the integrated MPSoC technology (multiprocessor system-on-a-chip), which ensures powerful fourfold performance values.

The new ShapeDrive G4 3D sensors meet the highest demands on the quality and availability of 3D point clouds. The combination of high-quality hardware and sophisticated algorithms ensures an excellent measuring rate and display performance. Stable and repeatable measured values are guaranteed even under fluctuating ambient conditions due to the built-in temperature management.

The G4 sensors can be integrated via an SDK or a GigE Vision interface. The built-in web server also makes configuration easier. Calibration on delivery and regular updates ensure that the sensors provide consistent results for years to come and stay up-to-date at all times. Two out of nine sensor models come with 5 MP resolution and three others with 12 MP resolution. All models cover small measuring volumes of just 60 × 40 × 40 mm – for example, for inspecting the smallest electronic components such as circuit boards – up to large volumes of 1,300 × 1,000 × 1,000 mm, e.g. for bin picking applications from large containers.

New Chip Technology Enables Four Times More Performance

All of these advantages are made possible by sophisticated multiprocessor system-on-a-chip technology (MPSoC). ShapeDrive G4 combines four performance features on a single chip. Two Dual Core Arm processors with up to 1.3 GHz act as a unit to enable extremely smooth command processing, control and communication. As a real-time processing unit with 192k System Logic Cells, the Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) enables fast calculation of the 3D point clouds in less than 250 milliseconds. The large (4 GB) and fast (19.2 Gbit/s) memory manages the huge amounts of data in a very short time. Generated data volumes are transmitted via Gigabit Ethernet interface with fast transmission speeds of up to 10 Gbit/s.

Structured Light: How 3D Sensors Work

Structured light is an illumination technology where the light creates a known pattern such as grids or bars. The depth and surface information of the objects can be detected by the way in which the patterns are deformed. Highly accurate resolutions of less than 10 micrometers can be achieved with the measurement method based on triangulation and structured light. This enables the smallest structures that are practically invisible to the human eye to be identified.


The pattern sequence of structured light is recorded by the camera. The result of the calculation is a 3D point cloud where the set of points provide a three-dimensional description of the object surface. Information on the intensity and quality of the point can also be obtained.

Bin Picking, Depalletizing, Measurement Technology: Application Variety in 3D

More and more companies are relying on 3D measurement technology with results in micrometer accuracy. The micrometer-precise resolution of the sensors is used for the visual quality inspection of metal components in the automotive industry. 3D sensor technology makes handling movements by robots, which can be reproduced millions of times over, even safer, more reliable and faster. In bin picking applications in particular, users benefit from the symmetrical design of the built-in camera and illumination – which significantly reduces shadowing effects in containers.

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