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High-speed ADM Distance Measurement in Laser Tracking Applications

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

I’m willing to guess that most DE readers have a pretty good grasp of what laser tracking measuring devices are all about for tasks as diverse as first article inspection, reverse engineering, documentation, and so forth. I’m also willing to guess that far fewer DE readers have a tight grasp on the operating principle nuances, physics, and so forth of laser tracking technologies. That goes for me anyway. The on-demand webinar at the far end of today’s Check it Out link is your chance to get an engineer’s introduction to ADM laser tracking. And, let me tell you, this is a treat.


The title “High-speed ADM Distance Measurement in Laser Tracking Applications” has something of a redundancy in it since ADM is an acronym meaning Absolute Distance Measurement. ADM is one of the two main laser tracking measurement technologies. The other is interferometer (IFM) based measurement.

IFM is the old pro. It takes incremental distance measurements by halving a laser beam and measuring the time cycles between a beam reflected off of a spherically mounted retroreflector (SMR) and its intersection with a beam aimed at the interferometer.

ADM, on the other hand, is a point the beam at the SMR and shoot technology. The beam reflects back to the scanner and it automatically analyzes the flight time to determine the absolute distance from the points. A number of advantages here: Accuracy compares well to IFM-based measurements, the beam can be broken and the measurement still made, you can scan moving objects, and you can do high-speed scanning without compromising accuracy. ADM technology began moving out of the research labs and into engineers’ hands in the early 1990s, so it’s well vetted.

OK, but what’s in ADM for you? That’s what this webinar is all about. It poses the questions you’d ask such as how does the ADM data collection process work? How does speed affect the acquisition process? What about the effects of the environment I’m operating in, temperature and so forth? How can I be confident with the data I obtain?

The webinar begins with a look at the data collection process. It provides a demo of high-speed distance measurement applications, a look at the difference between single-point and scanned data, and such dynamic measurement applications as manual (flat and circularity) and autonomous (robotic).

The webinar dwells a while on what’s called TruADM technology, one of the key aspects of FARO’s ADM implementation. The nub of it is that TruADM is designed for single-point and high-speed data acquisition, which makes it possible to track motion and collect large data sets quickly. It enables distance measurements at a sampling rate of 16,000 times a second (16MHz) then averages those samples to a single point. How it averages data and the advantages of this approach are explained in great detail, making this a must-see part of the demonstration.

“High-speed ADM Distance Measurement in Laser Tracking Applications” is 60 minutes long, with about 40 minutes of that devoted to the main presentation and the rest to a lively Q&A. The presenter, Todd Wilson, an applications engineer at FARO, really knows his stuff.

This is the second FARO webinar I’ve written about recently, and I’ve watched a bunch more. They do a really good job on these things. Everything is presented in engineer-to-engineer fashion. Marketing glitz is totally absent. Plenty of technical meat is offered. The explanation of data averaging in today’s webinar will demonstrate that to you. The FARO format is to let the expert speak so that you can learn something valuable. Hit today’s Check it Out even if you think you know something about laser tracking. Everyone will get something valuable out of this one.

Thanks, Pal.   – Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood

Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

High-speed ADM Distance Measurement in Laser Tracking Applications

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About the Author

Anthony J. Lockwood's avatar
Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Digital Engineering’s founding editor. He is now retired. Contact him via [email protected].

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