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Metrology

Robotized Laser Radar Inspection Made Easy With Metrolog X4 i-Robot

Controls and synchronizes motions of the robot and laser radar

Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 12:00

(Nikon Metrology: Brighton, MI) -- The Nikon Laser Radar combined with Metrologic Group’s software suite, Silma X4 i-Robot and Metrolog X4 i-Robot, provide a highly flexible and accurate 3D metrology solution, designed for shop-floor CMM quality measurements in short time cycles. This single, intuitive software suite controls both the Laser Radar and the robot, thus simplifying part measurement programming and inspection.

Virtual robot inspection programming

Silma X4 i-Robot is a virtual offline programming and simulation tool capable of generating automatically optimized laser radar and robot positions (see screenshot, above). It not only takes care of the robot constraints (e.g., singularities, over speed, limits) but also the Laser Radar specifics (line of sight, incidence angle) to combine optimized and collision-free trajectories. What was a complex programming operation is now as simple as a mouse click.

In addition, maintenance is easy because robot programming and inspection are totally intuitive and flexible. No need to reprogram when modifying a feature or a part. The metrologist simply updates trajectories in the software, as he would do with any conventional CMM.

Inspection program execution

Metrolog X4 i-Robot controls and synchronizes the motions of the robot and the Laser Radar. It can accommodate any robot cell, including a seventh axis rail, a rotary table axis, or even multiple robots. The solution is independent of the robot accuracy; therefore, robot drift, warm-up, and backlash do not influence the results. The system simply executes single or multiple part programs that can easily adapt to different part models or variations.

Metrolog X4 i-Robot can be used to simply execute programs created in Silma X4 i-Robot or, such as on a CMM, easily create or update an inspection program combining robot and Laser Radar commands in one single measurement program. These flexible, easy to use, and reliable features are some but not all of this solution’s advantages. They show its capacity to fully integrate the automation process and comply with all the automation constraints and requirements.


Metrolog X4 i-Robot controls and synchronizes the motions of the robot and the Nikon Laser Radar. It can accommodate any robot cell, including a seventh axis rail, a rotary table axis, or even multiple robots.

Absolute measurements

The Nikon Laser Radar combined with the Metrolog X4 i-Robot software provides absolute, accurate measurements on the shop floor many times faster than traditional CMM solutions. This allows users to greatly increase their measurement throughput, giving them much better control over their manufacturing processes.

“The Laser Radar mounted on a robot is particularly adapted to the automotive and aerospace industries, where flexibility and efficiency are major productivity factors,” says Nikon Metrology CEO Hajime Kosawa. “This shop floor solution combined with Metrolog X4 i-Robot guarantees product quality and maximum production effectiveness of the measurement process, directly on the shop floor. I’m glad we started this project with Metrologic Group in 2012 to create this unique solution.”

“Metrolog X4 i-Robot is the first software enabling an easy-to-operate, intuitive, all-in-one robot-based inspection for the Laser Radar,” says Bertrand Gili, president of Metrologic Group. “It’s important to highlight that the X4 i-Robot solution features the same software program to generate and drive both robot trajectories and the Laser Radar, manage the measurements, analyze the data, and create customized, easy-to-understand reports. Combined with the Laser Radar, it offers a uniquely flexible and extremely robust solution. It allows the management of complex scenarios with a simple, user-oriented interface; this is the result of Metrologic Group’s 35 years of excellence and focus in 3D metrology innovation.”


The Nikon Laser Radar combined with the Metrolog X4 i-Robot software provides absolute accurate measurements on the shop floor many times faster than traditional CMM solutions.

At the Control 2018 trade fair in Stuttgart, Germany, which will be held April 24–27, 2018, Nikon Metrology and Metrologic Group will showcase their production-line 3D metrology solution: the robot-mounted Laser Radar, fully controlled and automated by Metrolog X4 i-Robot software, and easily programmed with Silma X4 i-Robot simulation software.

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About The Authors

Nikon Metrology Inc.’s picture

Nikon Metrology Inc.

Nikon Metrology Inc. offers the most complete and innovative metrology product portfolio, including state-of-the-art vision measuring instruments complemented with optical and mechanical 3-D metrology solutions. These reliable and innovative metrology solutions respond to the advanced inspection requirements of manufacturers active in aerospace, electronics, automotive, medical, consumer, and other industries. Systems are available in both fixed and portable configurations, equipped with single or multiple sensors.

Metrologic Group’s picture

Metrologic Group

Metrologic Group specializes in 3-D inspection software solutions, and design and manufacture of dimensional control systems. Related service activities are 3-D measuring software development, upgrade and retrofit of coordinate measuring machines (CMMs), in-line control systems, training, and maintenance and calibration of CMMs. Metrologic Group is located in Meylan near Grenoble, France since its creation in 1980. Metrologic’s international sales network is in 30 countries with subsidiaries in the United States, Germany, Spain, Italy, China, and Sweden.