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Product Code: JLA_2_3_41

Kevin G. Harding
Industrial Technology Institute, Sensor Center for Improved Quality, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106

A manager with a major automobile manufacturer once made the comment that “the best thing we ever did to improve quality was give the guys on the floor a caliper to measure the parts”. As the tolerances on manufacturing become tighter, the need for accurate measurement has also increased. Hand fitting of parts to each other does not work in modern automated factories. Gauges in the past have been built to provide a fixed set of measurements of a known part. This practice too has been changing due to the trend toward flexible manufacturing. Now the gages themselves must be flexible to accommodate the variety of parts made on a single line. This need has spurred a flurry of activity in the development of new three‐dimensional (3‐D) measurement tools. This paper will review the current state of the new optical based 3‐D tools, and discuss some of the applications being addressed.

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