Quality Innovations: GPS Success

December 30, 2008
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The iGPS is a noncontact, large-scale metrology solution that can be easily expanded to larger volume with no limit to the size of the system. Operators can target a part or fixture, a complete work area or factory, and constantly monitor results or track the location within a network of transmitters.

Aerospace assembly is one of the applications well suited for iGPS. Receivers incorporated into a probe stay within reach of the transmitters surrounding the aircraft. Source: Metris


Once automobile drivers become accustomed to using a GPS system, they may find it hard to drive without one. The same may eventually be said for the iGPS product from Metris (Leuven, Belgium).

It is a noncontact, large-scale metrology solution that can be easily expanded to larger volume with no limit to the size of the system. Operators can target a part or fixture, a complete work area or factory, and constantly monitor results or track the location within a network of transmitters. It also is possible to monitor multiple devices.

The metrology devices now can be monitored in the same network-a feature that was added based on customer request. Customers asked to be able to monitor instruments such as articulated arms, laser radars and laser trackers.

“The accuracy in a large volume can be better than ever expected from multiple metrology devices,” says James Gardner, the director of business development for large scale metrology at Metris.

Any time portable devices such as these are moved in a setup, the uncertainty of a measurement increases-causing more chance for error, he says. A tracker is very accurate in the first instrument station of a setup, and in order to move the instrument a series of common points are set up to tie the points from the first station to the second station.

The laser-based iGPS transmitters create a measurement field that is extendable by adding more iGPS devices. Source: Metris

“This leap-frog of the instrument is where much is left to the skill of the operator,” says Gardner. “With the iGPS, there is no ‘leap-frogging.’ Once the device is targeted, it can be repositioned and the iGPS will keep the coordinates live in the work envelope.”

Gardner explains that this same concept can be used to track handheld devices such as hole gages, paint thickness devices, gap-guns and torque wrenches, along with many applications using nondestructive testing devices. The location on the part must be logged. From the iGPS monitor and trigger readings, an electronic map can be made easily.

At the AeroTest America Conference in late November 2008 in Fort Worth, TX, Metris announced that it would incorporate SpecMetrix coating measurement technologies from Sensory Analytics (Greensboro, NC) into its iGPS tracking and positioning system.

The system does have some limitations, however. Because it is a line-of-sight-based system, it needs transmitters set up with proper angles to give readings back from each sensor, which limits some of the ability to go inside of areas with just pure sensors in sight of the transmitters. It also offers lower accuracy in small volume with limited transmitters.

Technology Contact

For more information on iGPS, contact:
    Metris USA Inc.
    12701 Grand River
    Brighton, MI 48116
    james.gardner@metris.com
    (810) 220-4360
    www.metris.com


Specifications

  • It is a completely scalable system that can be easily expanded to larger volume, with no limit to the size of the system.

  • Operators can target a part or fixture, a complete work area or factory and constantly monitor results or track the location within a network of transmitters.

  • Monitoring multiple devices also is possible.
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