Novel Robot Laser Tracking System Has Disruptive Factory Of The Future Potential

Reflex Imaging has developed a novel robot tracking sensor based on MEMS devices to achieve +/- 100 um accuracy, at a fraction of the cost of comparable units. Previously, accuracy of this order required expensive equipment to be brought on site whereas the LAMM can be installed on every robot. Mounted on a robot head, the Reflex Laser Measurement Module (LAMM), can precisely scan multiple measurement points.

LAMM is designed to easily integrated into existing systems, with Ethernet, CAN and USB connectivity. A powerful embedded ARM processor provides common positioning functions as standard, to minimize the need for complex central controllers. The low cost and modularity of the unit enables users to implement a scaleable network of LAMM devices to provide unobstructed field of view, high read-out rates, system redundancy and higher stability.

Reflex Imaging have been working with the Integrated Large Volume Metrology group at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Sheffield to develop applications for the device.

Tom Hodgson, the Technical Lead at AMRC, agrees that the LAMM specification and price point could represent a paradigm shift for the industry. Rather than using expensive portable systems, a network of dedicated permanently installed LAMM sensors could have numerous potential applications including high accuracy closed loop robot end effector positioning, workpiece positioning, and the reconfigurable factory. Thomas Hodgson states “possible applications identified for the technology includes robotic tracking, fixture validation and robotic machining. One of the uses of the trackers is for ensuring robotic drills are in the right place before drilling a hole and often that is done with expensive equipment. The robot moves into position, it is measured and then drills a hole. The cost of the metrology devices that perform these measurements can be expensive and we’ve worked with the LAMM to show it can be done much cheaper.”

Engineers at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) have helped develop a novel laser tracking measurement device that has potential to be a disruptive technology in high value manufacturing and a key capability in factories of the future.

The AMRC team believes LAMM has the power to shake up the metrology market due to the low costs of the sensor it uses compared with more conventional metrology systems. The sensor, which uses a laser to track a target and generate co-ordinates for that target, was originally developed for use in medical equipment.

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