WRTL system delivers unique wireless scanning connectivity for large-scale laser tracker automated inspection projects

Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division today announced the launch of its latest solution for automated inspection integration projects based on 6DoF laser tracker technology. The WRTL solves common configuration problems faced by customers setting up large, automated inspection systems by removing the need for a cable connecting the laser tracker and the scanner controller, opening up the possibility for the tracker and/or the scanner to be mobile through mounting on an autonomous mobile robot (AMR) or automated guided vehicle (AGV). The system is particularly relevant for the large-scale inspection tasks increasingly seen in the aerospace and wind energy sectors.

Compatibility with the Absolute Scanner AS1, the groundbreaking 3D laser scanner launched in 2021, allows for the collection of high-density data at impressive levels of accuracy. This means a WRTL-based scanning system can deliver accuracy to within 50 microns throughout a measuring volume 60 metres in diameter, independent of robot accuracy. Thanks to the enhanced level of freedom the WRTL delivers to users when defining new system configurations, factories can now even be run at lights-out, with large-volume inspection tasks carried out autonomously overnight. When the operators arrive on the following day, a measurement report would be ready for analysis and the manufacturing process will be ready to proceed to the next production step.

– Before WRTL, automated inspection used to be limited to stationary cells accomplishing repetitive and specified tasks,” explains Rodrigo Alfaia, Product Manager for Laser Trackers at Hexagon. We’re now making automated inspection truly mobile, which was the case only for handheld applications before. Inspection can be carried out today here, tomorrow there, without drilling holes on the floor to install robot sliders or rotary tables.

The flexibility to replace fixed robot rails with AGVs (or AMRs) driving through the factory and performing tasks at various locations opens new doors in automated inspection and production. Without the WRTL, it would be always necessary to maintain and accommodate a cable connection between the scanner controller and the laser tracker. The WRTL system solves this problem, and allows for the possibility of both the tracker and scanner being completely mobile and flexible. That capability makes possible a number of large-volume automated inspection applications that were previously out of reach.

The WRTL is the only scanning solution made for large-volume applications with absolute accuracy and wireless capability. Up to four robot-based scanner systems can work in parallel with the WRTL – up to four trackers and four AMR-based robot-mounted scanners working in simple pairs or in a crossed configuration with each tracker monitoring multiple scanners, optimising field productivity. And thanks to the long range 6DoF capabilities of the AT960 laser tracker, those AMRs will be able to travel up to 30 metres away from the tracker with no interruption or compromise in measurement.