Leica Geosystems Takes the Measure of Ford Motor Co.
Leica Geosystems' LTD700 PCMM
W hen Ford Motor Co. found itself in need of upgraded measurement solutions for its major North American assembly plants, it turned to Leica Geosystems' Metrology Division, headquartered in Underentfelden, Switzerland.
Ford faces the same issues that all automakers face--making accurate measurements quickly, particularly for large sheet metal and tooling pieces. The problem was how to measure these parts in place without moving either the part or the measuring instrument.
Although suitable for small-volume work, articulated arms for inspecting large tooling didn't yield the accuracy automakers look for due to leapfrog measuring and data alignment issues. The arms would capture many relative point locations, but no absolute positions to the overall 3-D coordinate tooling system.
Laser tracking technology ushered in many advantages with its large measurement volume capability that could capture the entire automobile envelope within three or four station relocations around the tooling. The accuracy was dead-on, and the data captured were absolute to the global coordinate system of the measured tooling. But there were still line-of-sight issues, and time-consuming station relocations.