Author: R. Loser
Institution: Leica AG
Co-Author: Steven Kyle, Dennis Warren
Automated part positioning with the laser tracker
Improvements and new developments for Leica's laser tracker make it suitable for measuring the relative position of two parts or components during the manufacturing process. This facility is made technically possible by the development of an Absolute Distance Meter (ADM), accurate to some 30 - 50 microns, as well as small, lightweight, wide-angle retro-reflectors known as Tooling Ball Reflectors (TBRs). The ADM enables the tracker to locate individual target reflectors without the need for continuous interferometric tracking. The TBRs are particularly suitable for attachment to both large and small components. By measuring a small number of target reflectors on each component, their relative positions can be regularly updated with full position and tilt information. This concept is currently being applied and evaluated within the aerospace industry where the objective is to use the tracker as a measurement controller within a complete manufacturing loop. A beta program is available for this purpose. It is based on Leica's Axyz software platform and uses the programming functions (Visual Basic scripts) which are part of this package.