Innovations: An Industry Demanding More

August 2, 2011
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Intelligent Illumination and Expansive Measurement Volume sets the new Helix apart from other 3-D metrology solutions.

Helix is an innovative and versatile 3-D metrology platform that enables manufacturers to perform challenging measurement tasks. Source: Perceptron

The operator can configure tightly spaced laser lines and alter the orientation of the laser lines to accommodate the differences between multiple parts manufactured on the same assembly line. Source: Perceptron

Today’s demanding manufacturing processes push traditional metrology solutions to their limit with high model mixes, complex material combinations and unique short-run parts. In response, Perceptron’s (Plymouth, MI) Industrial Business Unit (IBU) has introduced its groundbreaking Helix 3-D metrology solution.

Helix is an innovative and versatile 3-D metrology platform that enables manufacturers to perform even their most challenging measurement tasks with ease and precision. It combines more than 25 years of laser-triangulation and 3-D metrology experience with recent technological advances to create a unique solution for the market.

The key benefits to the Helix system are provided through Intelligent Illumination and Expansive Measurement Volume.

Intelligent Illumination is a patent-pending breakthrough that allows operators to control virtually every aspect of the sensor’s calibrated light source. By customizing the quantity, density and orientation of the sensor’s laser lines through a simple user interface, image acquisition is optimized on a feature by feature basis. The operator can configure tightly spaced laser lines for small, complex features, increase the number of laser lines to robustly measure challenging materials and alter the orientation of the laser lines to accommodate the differences between multiple parts manufactured on the same assembly line.

Prior to Helix, manufacturers were forced to purchase and deploy multiple measurement technologies in order to implement a comprehensive quality strategy. Intelligent Illumination serves as the foundation of a single, in-process solution capable of precisely measuring key dimensional features, as well as generating full 3-D point clouds–allowing, for the first time, a truly integrated, 3-D metrology solution.

Harry Rittenour, Perceptron’s president and CEO, states, “Our Helix solution is the most significant development in sensor technology in the past 15 years, and represents a quantum leap in 3-D metrology. Nothing comparable exists in the market today. Helix will provide our customers with a powerful tool for overcoming the challenges they face on a daily basis and a means to successfully implement their most far-reaching and innovative strategies for the future.”

The benefits of Enhanced Measurement Volume is simple-reduce the amount of hardware and move back to fixed sensors, saving cost and time.

Helix sensors use increased measurement volumes, in many cases more than 100 times that of competitive offerings, to effectively and efficiently support those flexible manufacturing processes. By using Helix solutions, Perceptron’s customers can measure more features on multiple models with fewer sensors, simultaneously adding value and saving money.

Rittenour adds, “The significant product differentiators provided by Helix will allow us to deliver a customized, high-precision, affordable solution. A solution that eliminates the compromises customers have had to make with competitive systems. Helix is the embodiment of value innovation-increased capability without added complexity or cost.”

For example, a study of the inspection system of an automotive assembly operation revealed that the company could reduce its number of camera placements in its current process-from four to one on a single inspection point, from 22 to six on a back-end inspection and from 125 to 47 on a full-body inspection-by implementing the Helix 3-D system.

Over the past several months, Perceptron has installed beta systems at two key customer locations and began taking customer orders.

For more information, contact:


47827 Halyard Dr.

Plymouth, MI 48170

(734) 414-6100


Generates from 1 to 200 lines on an individual inspection point without ever moving the sensor.

Allows for three separate orientations: vertical, horizontal and oblique.

Allows for three separate acquisition modes: area, line and point.

Provides a density up to 10 lines per mm.

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Charles J. Hellier has been active in the technology of nondestructive testing and related quality and inspection fields since 1957. Here he talks with Quality's managing editor, Michelle Bangert, about the importance of training.
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