1/15/2016 | 1 MINUTE READ

Determine if Scanning is the Best Measurement Option

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Think about what can potentially go wrong when scanning a component, then determine if it is the right process to use.


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Laser scanning and analog scanning are both inspection options for measuring small to medium parts. However, shops should know that scanning is not always the best option for a component. Other options include touch probing and chromatic white light sensors.

According to the PM article, “To Scan or Not to Scan,” first look at the overall manufacturing process and think about what can potentially go wrong. For example, if the part is a plastic component, is there a thicker area prone to shrinkage as the material cools and settles? If the answer is yes, and it is a critical feature with high tolerances, it should be scanned. If the feature is not critical and has loose tolerances, touch probing is probably sufficient.

A company may check a profile by laser scanning the housing. But when checking features located beneath the surface of the part, analog scanning or even touch probing is adequate. Analog scanning might be best for mating surfaces of a component, as well.

Laser scanning should not be used when tolerances are tighter than ± 0.01 inch, but is ideal for looser tolerances on parts with numerous surfaces controlled by profile. Touch probing delivers higher accuracy, but it has a lower repeatability when compared with analog scanning probes.

Analog scanning is considered the most accurate method of inspecting a part, according to the article, and can hold tolerances to ± 0.0005 inch.

To read more about when to scan and not to scan, click here.

To learn more about the latest laser scanning technology, click here.