Laser Tracker

Introducing KEYENCE’s laser tracker with a dedicated wireless probe that eliminates movement restrictions when measuring large targets. Measurements can also be performed virtually anywhere with no need to take targets to a metrology lab, helping to reduce the time spent on measurement and improving operating rates. In addition, repeatability is extremely high—in the μm range—eliminating variations in measurement results for parts with complex shapes requiring high accuracy, including turbine blades.

What is Laser Tracker?

A laser tracker is a measuring device that projects a laser beam onto an optical target that is in contact with an object to be measured, and determines the three-dimensional position of the target. The optical targets known as “retroreflective” because they reflect the laser beam back to its emitted origin point – typically known as a spherically mounted retroreflector (SMR). Dimension values, angles, geometrical tolerances, etc. are determined by software that calculates the 3D coordinates of the retroreflector.

Understanding a Laser Tracker

Laser trackers are characterized by the ability to measure large objects. Laser trackers generally have a measuring range of more than 10 m (30 ft), whereas a standard arm-type CMM has a maximum measuring range of a couple meters. It is useful in situations where you want to measure large objects such as large measurement objects such as airplanes, parts of large equipment, and parts produced by double-column, 5-face milling machines.

A: Control PC B: Emitter / Receiver C: Tripod D: Retroreflector (SMR)

Laser Tracker Components

The components that make up a laser tracker are generally divided into four parts.
A PC to run laser tracker operation software, a camera body that integrates a light emitting unit and a light receiving unit, a tripod that supports it, a retroreflector (SMR) that contacts the object to be measured.

Principle of a Laser Tracker

The laser tracker calculates the center coordinates of the retroreflector (SMR) from the distance and angle information from the horizontal and vertical two-axis rotary encoders. The laser tracker body follows the laser light by rotating in the horizontal and vertical directions.

The retroreflector (SMR) has a mirror surface inside, and no matter which angle the laser light is received, it returns the light in the direction in which it came. The retroreflector (SMR) is in the shape of a true sphere, and the light is always reflected from its center so that the center coordinates of the sphere of the reflector itself can be obtained.

Benefits of Laser Tracker

Laser Tracker Benefit 1: Single-person measurement of large targets
Laser trackers use reflectors and probes, making it possible even for individual workers to measure large targets that would require several people with conventional models. In addition to a wide measurement range, the freedom of movement provided by the wireless probe allows for fast measurement even with time-consuming, difficult measurement locations, helping to reduce both effort and costs.

Laser Tracker Benefit 2: Fast, highly accurate measurements
Laser trackers can be used to measure angles, coordinates, and GD&T over a wide measurement range in less time and with higher accuracy than tape measures, calipers, or micrometers. Many laser trackers are also able to import 3D CAD data for comparing differences with actual targets.

Laser Tracker Benefit 3: On-the-spot measurements with no need for a metrology lab
Because laser trackers are portable and can be installed virtually anywhere, eliminating the need to move targets and opening the door to a wide variety of applications, including checking targets on manufacturing machines and performing periodic inspection during operation.

Measurement by Laser Tracker

Coordinates: X,Y,Z Coordinate of the holes

Coordinates: Measured with KEYENCE WM Series

Dimensions: Distance between 2 lines, Distance between 2 holes

Dimensions: Measured with KEYENCE WM Series

Virtual Figures: Distance between intersection line and a hole, Distance between intersection and a hole

Virtual Figures: Measured with KEYENCE WM Series

GD&T: Flatness of a plane, Roundness of holes, Parallelism of 2 lines, Perpendicularity of 2 lines

GD&T: Measured with KEYENCE WM Series

Laser Tracker Case Studies

Application Example 1: Dimensional measurement of H-shaped steel beams
H-shaped steel beams are an essential material in civil engineering and building construction. Conventional methods for measuring these beams involve multiple workers using calipers or tape measures, which can be time-consuming. KEYENCE’s laser tracker makes it possible to measure the shape, joined section finish, and welding shrinkage amount using the wireless probe.

Application Example 2: Leveling of industrial machinery
Leveling is an important step when installing industrial machinery, equipment frames, or base frames. Equipment or devices installed at an angle could lead to malfunctioning products or parts, or the equipment itself could become damaged due to unexpected loads. Using a laser tracker makes it easy for even individual workers to perform leveling quickly for significantly reduced time spent on setup.

Application Example 3: Vacuum chamber dimensional measurement
Vacuum chamber quality depends greatly on semiconductor device performance. Leaks (vacuum leaks) that allow air to enter through gaps in the vacuum chamber, and degassing caused by poor bonding or other causes must be prevented as these factors could lead to defective semiconductor devices. Using a laser tracker to accurately measure the shapes and dimensions both before and after assembly can significantly improve quality.

Frequently Asked Questions About Laser Tracker

Question 1: Do I need a metrology lab to use a laser tracker?
Laser trackers can be used anywhere measurement is needed, whether indoors or outdoors, eliminating the need for a metrology lab.

Question 2: Is there any special equipment needed to carry the laser tracker?
KEYENCE laser trackers can be transported without any special equipment. Some items can even be carried by a single person.

Why choose KEYENCE?

KEYENCE's WM Series is a completely new measuring instrument that overcomes the obstacles of conventional laser trackers in terms of usability, cost and portability.
The portable system allows for immediate measurement with a handheld probe equipped with a touch panel designed for ease-of-use and accuracy over a wide area. Learn more about this next-generation laser tracker.