Magazine article USA TODAY

New Technique Adds Speed and Ease

Magazine article USA TODAY

New Technique Adds Speed and Ease

Article excerpt

Researchers at Ohio State University. Columbus, have found a way to shorten a key process used in designing many manufactured products, from car parts to detergent bottles. In the process, called digitizing, a computer scas an object -- a clay prototype of an auto part, for example -- to obtain its exact dimensions. This data is used to mass produce the part. The problem is that digitizing is a slow, laborious process. Using a laser sensor, manufacturers have to measure many thousands of "digitizing points" on an object's surface to get precise data.

Yuan Zheng, professor of elective engineering, points out that a method using two types of sensors canneeded to digitize a small car part was cut from nine hours to about three and a half.

Currently, many manufacturers use a laser displacement sensor (LDS) to digitize objects. The LDS works by bouncing laser beams off thousands of points on an object's surface. A sensor picks up the reflected beams and measures the distance they travel. …

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