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How 3D Scanners Give Engineers Digital Accuracy Across a Range of Different Design Projects

Project managers overseeing design, prototyping, replicating and reverse engineering projects turn to advanced 3D scanners for the accuracy and usability they need to make their projects a success.  The Konica Minolta RANGE 7 3D laser scanner is an example of an instrument that returns highly accurate measurements in a host of different applications.


Using advanced laser triangulation technology, a 3D scanner takes a laser “picture” of an object, such as a machine part with multiple surfaces and contours.  A CAD model is then digitally reproduced on a computer screen, and from it engineers can create a design prototype or search the digital part for imperfections in a quality control application.  Because of ±40 ?m accuracy and a 1.31 million pixel sensor, even irregular shapes and dark surfaces can be studied in perfect replication with Konica’s RANGE 7.

In reading dark surfaces, this instrument excels with the recent inclusion of a dark surface mode, which lets the instrument take precise measurements of objects and surfaces with as little as 2.5 percent reflectance.  This lets users bypass the hassle of having to pre-spray the measurement object (and clean it off afterward) or taking it into a specialized darkroom.

The RANGE 7 was engineered to be used in many applications on site, with a special design that keeps instrument tilt influence at a minimum and prevents other variables that can affect the accuracy of measurement results.  It can measure and digitally reproduce very small objects as well as very large ones including ships, buildings and airplanes.

This 3D scanner was made to be both fast and easy to use, even for first-time operators.  Circuits designed for high-speed processing return a 3D preview of the measured object in about two seconds.  With the preview function, technicians are able to predict the results of the measurement while examining the scanning area for potential problems arising from the conditions of the object’s surface, dead angles and depth.  This significantly reduces mistakes during the scanning process.

To further enhance the accuracy of this 3D scanner, there is a built in auto focus function and a measurement algorithm along with interchangeable WIDE and TELE lenses that allow users to customize the instrument based on the scan range.  A multi-focus mode will shift the position of the focus automatically, while the auto focus alleviates concern on the part of the user about fine positioning.

The newest RANGE 7 3D scanner model is lightweight and compact, easy to handle and transport.  At just under 15 pounds, its weight is half or less of the weight of older models.  An optional stand is available that provides easy camera position changes for measuring projects that require data to be gleaned from multiple angles.

Finally, Konica’s Range Viewer software, which is standard with the RANGE 7, gives users the ability to perform several editing tasks including data integration, measurement data registration and various scanning controls.  The software interacts easily with a number of third-party programs and is supported by Windows Vista (64-bit).  The current RANGE 7 is the newest in a line of 3D scanners that is trusted by engineers and manufacturers in numerous industries throughout the world.

In summary, Konica Minolta’s RANGE 7 3D scanner provides users with an instrument that can return extremely high degrees of accuracy when creating digital replications of a wide range of objects.  It features a dark surface mode, which can precisely measure surfaces with a reflectance as low as 2.5 percent.  The instrument has a built in auto focus function that simplifies the measuring process for the user and ensures predictable accuracy.


About the author: Doug Thomas is a freelance writer interested in Konica Minolta Sensing Americas, a Ramsey, N.J., developer of advanced measurement instruments including 3D scanners, colorimeters, spectrophotometers and spectroradiometers that are used in a wide array of applications across multiple industries.  You can learn more about Konica Minolta at Sensing.KonicaMinolta.us.


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