Portable CMM (coordinate measurement machine) arms fitted with a laser probe are a great choice for scanning small-to-medium sized parts with high accuracy. The arm is mounted to a fixed base and has six or seven joints with encoders in them that keep track of its exact position. The laser probe that emits a laser line that is projected onto the surface of the object. A camera sensor on the laser probe captures the 3D point cloud data from the laser passes without actually touching the object. When scanning with a CMM arm, it is critical that the part(s) remain perfectly still. Any movement during scanning will cause scanning inaccuracies such as doubling or noise. While CMM arms require some training to learn how to operate well, in the right hands CMM arms yield accurate and reliable 3D scans. They also have one advantage that other type of scanners don't have; they can be used with a touch probe which can be advantageous for capturing regular features such as planes and cylinders. Arms often come in different lengths, ranging from 6 ft to 12 ft indicating the diameter of its work area.
Here is a list of articulated arm scanners that are available on the market for purchase with some information regarding each model:
The FARO Edge is a portable measurement arm that allows manufacturers to easily verify their product quality by performing inspections, tool certifications, CAD-to-part analysis, and reverse engineering.
The FARO Prime delivers the highest FaroArm® accuracy at an amazing value. Equipped with Bluetooth® technology, the Prime eliminates the need to tether the device to a laptop. An extended-use battery and composite material construction ensure shop floor durability, day after day.
The Romer Absolute laser scanner arm from Hexagon is an advanced, high-end scanning system. It can scan multiple surface types in a single pass. It has the ability to vary point density and laser line width so that you can optimize the scanning process.
KREON Ace Skyline
The KREON Ace Skyline 3D scanning arm features a 200mm laser line width for super fast scanning. It can also work with a touch probe and has an easily removable scanning head. It can also scan reflective surfaces.
The Kreon Skiron is a very compact, light & ergonomic laser scanner. Fully integrated on MicroScribe digitizers, this scanner dramatically reduced digitizing time. Delivered with the user-friendly “Scantools 3D”, this solution can easily combine traditional metrology and non-contact measurement.
The MCAx Manual Coordinate measuring Arm, is a precise, reliable and easy-to-use portable 7-axis measuring system. It is the perfect partner for digital handheld laser scanners and scanning software. This arm’s accuracy, capability and portability makes it feel perfectly at home in the metrology lab, on the shop floor and in the field.
There are a number of different articulated arm scanners on the market today. Despite the increasingly expanding world of 3D scanning technologies, we expect the arm to continue to be a suitable choice for many applications.