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High-performance 3D laser triangulation systems

Solutions for inline measurement and inspection applications

The application possibilities for 3D laser triangulation are almost endless and range from the inspection of small parts to scanning of large parts or pick&place applications in a wide variety of industries. At the same time, the technical requirements are very high! In order to develop a cost-optimised solution, a lot of machine vision experience is required. Besides the selection of the right technology and the appropriate PC, the acquisition and processing software is the most important factor. The experts at phil-vision can draw on years of experience with a wide range of image processing solutions and will be happy to advise you comprehensively which system solution is best suited to your task.

How does 3D laser triangulation work?

principle of laser triangulation

A laser line is directed to the surface at an oblique angle. It is incident on the surface and creates a visible line. In areas where the object is lower, the beam is slightly shifted. By means of a camera this displacement of the bright laser lines can be determined in the image.

If the angle between camera and laser and the line displacement is known, the component height can be calculated using simple trigonometric formulae (right-angled triangle).

If the laser is incident on the object at a shallow angle, even smallest differences in height cause a strong displacement of the lines, however, the detected height range is low. Even differences of tenths of millimetres can be detected easily in practice without special effort. Good triangulation systems can measure down to a hundredth of a millimetre. In case of obtuse angles, the measuring accuracy is low, but large differences in height can be detected.

The principle of laser triangulation is perfected when using 3D triangulation cameras and lasers. In systems such as the Z-Trak™, the laser and camera are already permanently installed and calibrated in a robust housing. With a frame rate of 45khz at 2k resolution, it is one of the fastest 3D sensors on the market. The test object is continuously moved under a camera-laser system and a large number of triangulation profiles are generated. We are therefore talking about a scanning system. A three-dimensional image of the object can then be calculated from the deflection of the individual line profiles with the help of complex software algorithms.

Compared to stereo 3D systems or projection 3D systems, laser triangulation systems are also particularly robust with metallic and reflective objects, as well as against extraneous light. The other two technologies however, have the advantage that the object or sensor does not have to be moved.

Inexpensive & simple

3D laser triangulation systems are based on standard components and are therefore relatively inexpensive. They are easy to install and use as no special illumination is required.

Fast & robust

Further developments in high-speed CMOS sensors in combination with FPGAs and high-performance embedded systems are constantly improving speed and reliability.


Different resolutions

By simply changing the optical and mechanical design, resolutions from a few micrometres to metres are possible without changing the processing architecture.

Exact & repeatable

With proper calibration and an optimised setup with suitable lenses and correct mechanical construction, accurate and repeatable measurements can be realised at low cost.

Easily expandable

Thanks to the intelligent architecture, many process modules can be added to increase the performance of the systems. For example, AI or pixel processing can be used for intelligent processing.

Vibration tolerant

Slight vibrations are not a problem. When scanning, they can even help to reduce the overall noise generated by the speckles of the laser (inherent noise).

High-performance 3D profiler sensor –Z-Trak™ from Teledyne DALSA

Z-Trak™ is a series of 3D profile sensors delivering high-resolution, real-time height measurements using laser triangulation. These lightweight IP67-rated profile sensors are ideal for in-line measurement, inspection, identification and guidance applications in automotive, electronics, semiconductor and factory automation and deliver reliable and repeatable results in varying operating conditions.

Z-Trak™ models handle object widths from 8.5 mm to 1520 mm and height range of 10 mm to 1000 mm. All Z-Trak™-models are factory-calibrated and come with a choice of laser options to suit the surface reflectance. The Z-Trak™ series features real-time laser line optimization for uniform measurement results, multi-sensor synchronization using generic Gigabit network routers and Power-Over-Ethernet (POE) to simplify setup and configuration.

z-trak laser profiler sensor 3 models
  • Factory calibrated ready to deploy

  • Robust FIR-Peak detector algorithm delivers high accuracy and stable operations

  • Wide model selection covers measurement range from 10 mm to 1100 mm

  • Red or blue laser with laser safety class 2M and 3R for wide operating conditions

  • Compact IP67 housing for harsh operating environment

  • License for Sapera™ LT SDK, Sapera Processing RTL and Sherlock™8 included

  • 3rd Party Software Support via 16-bit mono and GenICam standard

Diverse applications for a wide range of industries

  • Inline metrology

  • Volume metric measurements

  • Robot guidance

  • Gap and flush

  • Surface inspection

  • PCB-, BGA-inspection

  • Solderpaste inspection

  • Parts identification & inspection

  • Embossed OCR

  • Bead inspection

  • Pick & Place

  • Angular measurements

application examples 3D laser triangulation

Compact, versatile smart vision system as basis

VICORE smart vision system

VICORE™ is a versatile vision system best suited for 2D imaging, thermal imaging, 3D imaging or a combination thereof. The compact unit consumes minimal space and provides convenient, front-accessible connections for cameras, I/O and system components. This includes a dedicated industrial Ethernet port that offers efficient communication with complementary factory devices using Ethernet/IP or Profinet.

As an alternative to the Z-Trak™, a Genie Nano with special laser profiler firmware can also be used.

Variety of software development tools

The Z-Trak™ series is GigE Vision-compatible and supports both the image processing software from Teledyne DALSA (Sapera, Z-Expert, Sherlock 8) included in the scope of delivery and 3D image processing packages from third-party suppliers such as MVTec Halcon, NI Labview or Common Vision Blox from STEMMER IMAGING.

Multi sensor configurations

Multiple Z-Trak™-sensors can be combined to create expanded FOV or to eliminate occlusions. Multiple Z-Trak units can be synchronized using standard network switches with better than 1μs precision. To further simplify the measurements, a unified coordinate system can be created using Z-Expert graphical tools bundled in Sapera LT. Z-Expert features an intuitive GUI to visualize profiles and 3D range images from multiple sensors at the same time and includes a system calibration wizard to facilitate setup.

screenshots machine vision software from Teledyne DALSA

You need more information?

Just get in touch! We are looking forward to discuss your ideas and to develop an individual solution, based on your requirements.

Call us at +49 89 125094350 or complete the contact form.