Jump directly to main navigation Jump directly to content Jump to sub navigation

Profile, Contour, Surface

The surface or the surface profile is frequently a decisive factor in quality inspection. Laser scanners from Micro-Epsilon are frequently used for this. If traversing laser point sensors are used, these also measure a profile of the surface. The profile measurement is often used on robots or inspection systems for controlling further processes.

3D inspection of unpopulated printed circuit boards

Conventional inspection systems such as measuring microscopes are not suitable as an automated inline solution because the inspection process takes a long time and these microscopes are very expensive. Therefore, 3D sensors from Micro-Epsilon are used to enable fully automated inline inspection of the substrates.

The high-precision 3D snapshot sensor surfaceCONTROL 3D 3510 measures directly in the production line on the matt surface of the substrates. The working distance is 120 to 140 mm. The recorded measurement values are calculated in the sensor and output to an external PC via the integrated Gigabit Ethernet interface. Further processing, evaluation and logging of the 3D data is possible with the powerful 3DInspect software.


3D measurement of coil springs

Qsigma designed the Spring Measurement System (SMS) for precise 3D measurement of coil springs and other components. It is used, among other things, in the development of prototypes and 100% inspection of series parts. The SMS automatically identifies the spring, evaluates the wire contour and determines the wire diameter, even if it is subject to strong fluctuations. 

The scanCONTROL 2950 sensor has a large measuring field in both the Z and X directions. This enables extremely fast scanning of springs up to a height of 70 cm and radially up to 30 cm. The wide range combined with high point density enables precise evaluation of the wire diameter


Automated machining of workpieces

Micro-Epsilon scanCONTROL laser profile scanners are ideal for machine integration and automation due to their high accuracy, compact design and universal application options. In addition to a powerful laser profile scanner for the detection of the component geometry, corresponding evaluation software is also used. The company BCT GmbH from Dortmund has developed the OpenSCAN software solution for this purpose, which enables the machine-integrated digitization of workpieces in combination with 3D scanners from Micro-Epsilon. Components are detected directly in the processing machine in terms of position and shape.


Defect recognition on worktops

Kitchen worktops are now made from a variety of materials, e.g. natural or artificial stone, solid wood and laminate (e.g. HPL). All these materials offer benefits and have special characteristics. However, a defect-free surface finish and perfect edges are critical production factors. The example above is a so-called laminate worktop with a stone decor. As the cutting edge of this top is rough and unclear, it is covered with sidebars. Foreign bodies, uneven distribution of the adhesive or unevenness when closing may produce open joints between the top material and the sidebars. The scanCONTROL 2910-25 laser profile scanner is used to inspect if any open joints are present.


Inline inspection of sealing compound in covering lid

After injection of the sealing compound in the covering lid, curing takes place in the tunnel furnace. Here, fault points and faulty thicknesses of compound must be acquired and faulty lids must be sorted out in the production process. A laser-based optical displacement measurement system samples the compound surface of the rotating lid for a quality inspection. The monitoring of the thickness contour within the permissible tolerance limits and the sorting of the faulty lids occurs with the aid of the PLC that is



Inspection of rotationally symmetrical parts

The scanCONTROL laser scanner is used for part inspection of various hypoid-tooth components and a digital model of the tooth structure of the component is generated by the measurement system. In this way, the 3D point cloud can be evaluated afterwards according to customer requirements. Previously, this type of inspection was done with manual removal of the part.


Display glass defects

A special measuring system has been developed for the quality control of display glass. The glass pane is placed on a measuring table by a robot. A measuring arm with several confocal sensors traverses the glass pane there. If any defects are found, the pane is marked as NOK and rejected. The scanCONTROL laser scanner simultaneously circumnavigates the edges and checks these for defects and dimensions. After the check has been completed successfully, the pane is lifted back into the production process and the next measurement is started.


Deflection/cambering of steel strips and saw blades

In the production and processing ne of metal strips, numerous measurement variables need to be monitored, e.g. straightness, cambering and deflection. The inspection of these quantities is carried out using three optical micrometers. The two outer laser micrometers form a straight line. The middle one measures the deviation and therefore the deflection to this straight line. The position of the sheet edge in the laser beam is not important here as long as the edge is within the beam path of all the three micrometers.


ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) for pipeline inspection

To meet safety regulations, the inspection of the internal parts of pipelines is mandatory, as any defects can lead to cracks, which could result in complete pipe failure or, in the worst case, in personal injury. The critical factor is the weld seam. DEKRA developed a fully automatic vehicle that solves this task by using a combination of visual inspection and geometrical measurements performed by a scanCONTROL laser scanner from Micro-Epsilon.


Flat glass defects

A special measuring system has been developed for the quality control of flat glass. The glass pane is placed on a measuring table by a robot. A measuring arm with several confocal sensors traverses the glass pane there. If any defects are found, the pane is marked as NOK and rejected. The scanCONTROL laser scanner simultaneously circumnavigates the edges and checks these for defects and dimensions. After the check has been completed successfully, the pane is lifted back into the production process and the next measurement is started.


Water depth measurement on a river model

With investigations using realistic models of flowing waters, the river bed must be sampled as accurately as possible and without physical contact. To do this, the laser-based optical displacement measurement system, optoNCDT, is used which

features high accuracy with a large measuring range and is largely independent of the ground conditions. It is mounted together with the signal conditioning electronic unit on a measurement carriage movable in the X direction which is suspended from a traversing beam movable in the Y direction. The distance to the water surface is acquired simultaneously with a parallel-mounted ultrasonic displacement system.


Shape measurement of rotation symmetrical parts

As rotary pistons for pumps must have very precise surface geometries, the pistons have to undergo 3D shape measurement. The scanCONTROL laser scanner is moved vertically by a linear axis in a special measuring machine. In doing so, the piston rotates in the measuring range of the scanner. A resolution of 3µm is achieved using this.


Rail wear

Tram or train rails are subject to constant wear either due to corrosion or due to friction during use. Rails are checked for wear completely automatically using a system developed by Micro-Epsilon. A test car records the surface profile of the rail during the journey. The data obtained is compared with standard values and if a section is recognized as worn down, the system stores the track section for later maintenance. The profiles are measured using several line scanners of the type scanCONTROL 2800.


Measurement of large geometries with precision machines

Measuring complex part geometries is a task for the scanCONTROL laser scanner. Laser scanners are used in the precision machines of EHR in order to perform a component inspection at high resolution and without contact. The special feature is that using a scanner, not only is an inspection possible from the outside but also from the inside.


Obstacle recognition on climbing robots

The scanCONTROL 2600 sensors used form a barrier above or below the detector depending on the climbing direction. Due to the detector size, a correspondingly large measuring range of 100 mm in the X and Z directions is required. The sensors are placed directly on the robot arm near the detector. This is made possible by the compact sensor housing and the low weight of only 380 grams. In addition, the laser profile scanners from Micro-Epsilon are resistant to the changing environmental conditions to which the climbing robot is exposed in outdoor use.

The measuring system is almost insensitive to falling dust and dirt when removing the masonry as well as to water, moisture, vibrations and shocks. A manual laser switch-off provides additional safety when handling the robot. Obstacles are measured from a width of 156 µm and a height of 12 µm. The different materials and surface properties of the facades have no influence on the measurement result.


Optical sensors in side trimming systems of saw mills

The tree trunk cut into planks in saw mills still shows the wane of the original tree on the edges. In order to achieve an optimum cutting width and thus a maximum yield here, laser triangulation sensors are installed every 30 to 50 cm which measure the transverse section of the plank in the flow path. The maximum width of the plank is calculated using special software.


Geometry inspection of ingots

Ingots are sawn into thin wafers for the production of photovoltaic modules. However, geometric deviations can occur during the manufacture of ingots which adversely affect the arrangement of the wafers in the module. Therefore, ingots are inspected for deviations before the sawing. Four scanCONTROL line scanners are used for this in a special measurement system. They traverse along the ingot and make a completely objective assessment possible. Even a banana shape of the ingot is detected.


Inline burr measurement on sheet edges in body manufacture

In order to avoid corrosion, continuous and error-free corrosion protection is a critical factor in the painting process. As the thickness of the applied painting on burrs can only be determined under challenging limitations, it is a decisive advantage when the burrs are recognized early in the production process before the corrosion protection and other paint layers are applied.

In contrast to fixed solutions that enable a random test, Micro-Epsilon offers its scanCONTROL 2910-10/BL Plug and Play system which provides the required precision with its high point resolution of approx. 8µm along the laser line in order to recognize burrs reliably even during inline measurements.


Adhesive beading check on border strip

Border strips are automatically adhered to glass by robots in vehicle production. This automatic process must be monitored as the application of uniform adhesive beading by the robot is not certain. The adhesive beading is checked immediately after the application by the same robot using a scanCONTROL 2810 for height, width and position.


Robot positioning for application of seals

In order to permanently protect weld seams against the penetration of moisture, BMW AG’s Leipzig factory seals the weld seam on the roof rail. A robot automatically applies sealant at the position where the side frame  is joined to the roof panel. A laser sensor from Micro-Epsilon, which prepositions the robot using distance measurement, is used so that the robot knows exactly where each weld seam is located.


Adhesive beading check

It is important during the gluing in of glass panes in automobile production that the adhesive beading shows a constant track. Therefore a robot arm tracks the adhesive beading track exactly with a scanCONTROL laser scanner. In doing so, the robot centres itself on the adhesive beading automatically due to the measured data. In doing so, the scanner measures the surface profile of the adhesive beading. The supplied software automatically detects whether the beading is too narrow, too wide or too flat.


Measurement of contact lenses

Contact lens manufacturers have a need to conduct various material tests on clear, flexible polymer samples. The material samples must be submerged during testing in a saline solution for hydration.

The highly sophisticated ThruBeam model ODC2600-40 is uniquely capable of making dimensional measurements with high accuracy and speed.


Coplanarity of connector pins

Using connectors and sockets, electrical circuits can be alternately opened and closed. The connector pins must be correctly oriented in order to prevent the pins from bending during connection. As this cannot always be guaranteed by the mounting process, it is important to inspect the coplanarity and the orientation of the connector pins to one another. In many cases, mechanical sensing devices carry out this task. However, this procedure has its disadvantages. First, the sensing device itself applies a certain force onto the pins, and second, the mechanical parts are subject to wear, which reduces the measurement accuracy and reliability. Non-contact scanCONTROL profile sensors measure are wear-free and are applied in a variety of pin inspection tasks.


Paintwork defects

The exterior appearance is an important factor for many surfaces. The reflectCONTROL inspection system is suitable for automatic defect inspection of reflecting surfaces. This system measures the quality of the surface without contact using light reflections and classifies the defects found. The system is particularly suitable for painted surfaces or smooth plastic. Different versions make possible adequate usage for automobile body shells or smaller elements.

Paint inspection of car bodies

Bearing shell surface

Sliding bearings are used in combustion engines for the crankshaft and camshaft. The bearing shells are often composed of three layers whereby the inner layer is only metallised or sputtered. If there are residues on the bearing shell, the inner layer has too little purchase and flakes off. The system from Micro-Epsilon checks all bearing shells at the end of the production for a faultless condition of the surface. A BV camera records an image of each shell which is evaluated afterwards completely automatically. If necessary, the system also takes over the selection afterwards depending on the measurement result.


Dimensional Testing of Cans for the Food Industry

Accurate dimensions and shape of the prefabricated cans and can-lids is of prime importance, in order to ensure that the lids and the cans match properly and form a permanent airtight seal after the filling and sterilization process. This in order to avoid costly batch sealing failures in the canning industry. A special non-contact automated measurement testing machine was developed to control the dimensional integrity of the cans and the matching lids.


2D/3D measurement station for gaskets

Even if gaskets are just very small components in plant and machinery, they are still critical in terms of their function and operational reliability. However, mechanical engineering companies normally purchase these components rather than produce them in-house. Reliable quality control at goods inwards is therefore essential.


Measurement of surface changes by laser irradiation (700°C)

Fraunhofer EMI researches the effect of laser beams on different surfaces. For this purpose, various samples are irradiated with a high-power laser that packs a punch of several kilowatts. Meanwhile, two scanCONTROL laser profile scanners from Micro-Epsilon measure the exact change in surface geometry. Based on the measurement results, new insights can be gained into how different process parameters, e.g., laser power, laser spot size, and air flows, influence the laser-matter interaction process.



Profile measurement generally describes the measurement of the object contour, flat or as a track. Basically, it is possible that either the sensor traverses across the object or the object moves through the measuring range of the sensor. It is important therefore that the object is located in the measuring range of the sensor during the complete measurement. The scanCONTROL laser scanner is ideal for a wide track. It measures a profile across maximum 140 mm width. In this way, either a wide track or the complete measuring object can be measured. Non-contact and inductive sensors are suitable for a narrow profile measurement. Profiles are measured in all imaginable industrial sectors, from the wood industry to metallurgy to automobile production.


Profile measurement of compressor blades under high temperature conditions

The thermal geometric change under operating conditions needs to be measured on a new type of composite material for gas power plants.


Profile measurement system

In the field of quality assurance, e.g. in the tyre industry, profile measurements of the tread and sidewall must be carried out. Sensors or complete profile measurement benches with precision laser and computer systems can be used for this which relay a fully automatic sequence through to the finished output of the required layout.


Profile measurement of mounted tram rails

Modern operating conditions for trams lead to increased wear of the wheels and rail. In order to document the wear of the rail, our customer has developed a measurement system that detects, automatically evaluates and analyses this data. scanCONTROL laser profile scanners record the profile of the rail.


Profile sensor for tyre measurement on the test rig

Tire properties are crucial for safety, driving response and comfort in modern automobiles. To ensure constant quality at the highest level 100% inspection of tires is already required in production. Apart from dynamic stress tests, the acquisition of bulges, constrictions and impacts is of primary importance.


Automatic test station for heat exchangers

Heat exchangers in plant and machinery serve as heat transfer mechanisms between different material flows. To maximise the heat-emitting area, they are designed using multiple plates. Respectively one connecting flange for the material-conveying cables is welded or soldered onto the last plate. The position and the flatness of the flanges have to fulfil highest requirements so that these can be connected  at  the  desired  point.


Inspection of saw teeth

Whether in a linear arrangement or a saw blade, saw teeth are used for cutting materials. Due to increasing demands for reproducible production results, saw teeth must fulfill the highest quality standards. The reproducible form of the saw teeth, which are often hardened, is therefore critical. The scanCONTROL 2960-100 laser profile scanner is tilted above the strip to continuously inspect the angle of the cut and the maximum points of the saw tooth edges.


Quality control in chocolate production

Customers demand flawless products. The first glance and optical appearance are often decisive factors in the purchasing decision. Production errors such as deformations, holes in the surface or undesired protruding edges affect the perfection desired by the customer.

For example, quality control in chocolate production is often a manual process at the end of the production process, either based on tactile measurements or using laser point sensors. This involves high timebasedand financial expenditure. A much more efficient method is to monitor the production process usinglaser scanners from Micro-Epsilon.

The scanCONTROL 2960-100 laser scanner enables 100% control directly in the processing line. The scanCONTROL Configuration Tools software enables easy sensor set up andconfiguration. With a throughput rate of more than 60 m/min, the high speed laser scanners detect each profile of the finished chocolate bars without contact and transmit this to the software. The inspection is now based on predefined parameters.


Tester for (railway) wheel rim measurement

Testers are integrated in the track bed for the wear control of wheel rims on trains. The profile is checked during the passage of the train. Point-type and line-type lasers measure the diameter and the profile of the wheel. Thus, a precise statement of when the wheel must be reprofiled is possible. The measuring technology thereby is exposed to all weather influences.


Tire surface

Three laser scanners from the scanCONTROL series measure the surface profile of tires. The turnkey tester is at the end of the production line where each tyre is examined for dents and bulges. The tyre is clamped and rotated by 360° within one second. Lettering and symbols are recognised by the software and not assessed as bulges. The process takes place completely automatically and makes a 100% check possible. The tyre is reintroduced back into the production process after completion of the testing.


3D profile measurement of soil samples

German automation company Visutronik GmbH from Neubrandenburg, Germany has developed a laser scanningdevice to measure surface soil samples for subsequent geometric analysis: roughness, surface type expansion (e.g. earthworm courses), etc. The core of the measuring device is the scanCONTROL 2700-100 laser scanner.


In-line inspection of the rubber on windshield wiper blades

A faultless surface is indispensable for the functionality of wiper blades. Therefore, wiper blades are inspected by the measuring system after the extrusion in the endless state. In doing so, two scan CONTROL 2800 sensors are used. The inspection is performed above and below the material.


Automatic rail inspection using laser profile scanners

There are several reasons for regular inspection and maintenance:

  • Early recognition of wear
  • Maintaining travelling comfort
  • Ensuring safety

The company Donfabs & Consillia offers an intelligent solution for this: a new maintenance vehicle that performs inspections using measuring sensors from Micro-Epsilon. A total of six laser profile scanners are mounted on the maintenance vehicle. These measure the conductor rails from below and above as well as the lateral guide rails. Thanks to a large measuring range, it is not necessary to move the sensors in order to detect position or dimension deviations, for example


Measurement of key profiles

In the production of security keys, the correct blank must be located in the machine before grinding of the teeth can be checked. An optoNCDT 2200 laser sensor traverses across the profile, recording the surface profile precisely while doing so. A measurement profile without any gaps and a very small measuring spot size are important here.


Optimizing weld seams with profile measurements

Inrotech A/S in Denmark relies on sensors from Micro-Epsilon to achieve optimal quality of weld seams in a fully automatic process. The company has developed a welding robot called "Inrotech-Crawler" which calculates welding processes in advance before carrying them out. Therefore, the robot uses the precise measurement values provided by the powerful laser profile scanner from Micro-Epsilon.

A scanCONTROL 2900 scanner is fixed on the Inrotech-Crawler and detects the geometry of the seam to be welded before the actual welding process starts. Only these high precision profile measurements enable the process to be automated. Due to its compact, lightweight design with integrated controller, the laser profile scanner is ideally suited to this measurement task.

Various connection possibilities offered by the SDK (Software Development Kit) enable the customer to directly transmit the profile data calibrated to their own software via scanCONTROL DLL. The Weldlogic technology from Inrotech then calculates, among other things, the number of welding passes, the position of the weld seams, the weld speed and the oscillation width. Directly after the calculation, the Crawler automatically performs the welding process.


Dimensional accuracy of sectional doors

With sectional doors for parquet or laminate flooring, key and slot joints for individual sections are applied. However, these sections are opened and closed frequently. To enable a robust but permanent flexible key and slot joint, specified  dimensions  are  critical  and  must  be  adhered to. This is particularly important in the case of significant temperature differences or inaccurate dimensions, where the door could be locked or positioned incorrectly. The measurement of the key and slot joint is therefore critical in ensuring the correct manufacturing dimensions.


Gap and flushness measurement of car bodywork parts

The demands on car bodywork are increasing, not only from a technical viewpoint, but also with regards to the optical design. Therefore, a door that doesn’t close flush could fulfill the technical purpose but would be detected immediately by the eye of the prospective buyer. A bonnet/hood with different gap sizes on both sides is also a considerable flaw. The typical approach for measuring gaps is to use manual feeler gauges, which is time-consuming and costly. This method is prone to error due to human factors, which is why the gapCONTROL gap sensor is used in modern production lines to inspect bodywork gaps quickly, reliably and consistently.


Gap measurement of brake discs

In any type of vehicle, the braking system is one of the most important safety features. This is why high requirements are placed on all braking system components. When manufacturing brake discs, the different sizes must be strictly adhered to. One critical feature is the gap between the plates of the brake disc. Therefore, the gapCONTROL 2911-25 gap sensor is used.


High precision measurement of special profile sections in the production line

In the factory research department a fully automatic system for optical geometry measurement has been developed, constructed and integrated into a production line for lift profile rail sections. The system acquires the deviation of±0.2mmfrom straightness in both axes, the length of the section and the thickness of the rail web to ± 0.02 mm in two tracks.


Control of the milling head in a mobile CNC milling unit

Thanks to their robustness and low weight, fibre-reinforced composite materials are increasingly used in the aviation and automotive industries. Maintenance and repair of such components are challenging tasks for repair shops. The damaged area must be removed layer by layer in order to enable the reconstruction of the laminate layer.

For repair work on airplanes, company SAUER GmbH developed the ULTRASONIC mobileBLOCK, which is a mobile 5-axis milling unit that enables repairs within just a few minutes. As the component can be damaged anywhere, the surface must be measured before the repair process starts. This is where SAUER relies on sensors from Micro-Epsilon.

In order to avoid collisions, the optoNCDT 1302 laser triangulation sensor measures the distance from the surface at a measuring range of 200mm. Subsequently, a scanCONTROL laser scanner measures the surface profile. Next, the program for the repair process is generated based on the  acquired 3D data.


Welded sheets on gas valves

For automatic welding processes, the quality of the weld is often dependent on how precisely the welding head is positioned for the seam place. If the positioning is checked by a measurement system before the welding, unnecessary rejection can be prevented right from the start. The elster company uses the scanCONTROL 2810 profile sensor for this. The position of the scanner to the valve is initially measured eight times before the welding process. The laser welding head is positioned to the seam based on these data.


Windscreen defects

During the production of windscreens, it can happen that the correct curvature of the windscreen has not been maintained or the fissures and cracks in the surface make the windscreen unusable. A system has been developed for this purpose which inspects the windscreens completely in-line for a surface free from defects. Several confocal sensors on a measuring beam measure the distance to the surface. Using the automatic centring function of the confocal sensors, they track the curvature of the surface precisely. The high resolution makes it possible to inspect the windscreen for cracks and fissures at the same time.