Hard-to-reach spaces

Non-contact measurements in hard-to-reach spaces

Novacam metrology systems facilitate surface inspection and 3D metrology inside hard-to-reach spaces across industries.

Small fiber-based non-contact probes reach inside to measure:

  • Interiors of tubes, bores, barrels, and various small-aperture cylinders
  • Interiors of high-precision parts made by casting, high-precision drilling, deep gun drilling, injection molding, 3D printing
  • Inside surfaces of drilled rivet holes, fir-tree bases, blisks (bladed disks in the aerospace industry)
  • Inside engine blocks, through-holes of connecting rods, camshafts (automotive industry)

…with sub-micron precision and at high speeds, acquiring 2,100 to 100,000 of 3D points per second.

Novacam offers probes in a range of lengths and diameter sizes (as small as 0.14 mm).  Probes are either side-looking or front-looking and are typically used in concert with a suitable scanning mechanism. Rotational probes are also available.

Inside diameter (ID) of a measured aerospace assembly rivet hole exhibits a tool-mark defect at the interface of composite and aluminum layers

Advantages of measuring with fiber-based probes

Novacam metrology systems combine low-coherence interferometry (LCI) technology with fiber-based modular design, meaning that:

  • Measurements are done with fiber-based non-contact optical probes
  • The data acquired is sent over an optical fiber, up to a km long, to the signal-processing detector box (interferometer).

Advantages of Novacam’s design include:

  • Configuration versatility for both benchtop and in-process inspection
  • Support for automation
  • Ability to acquire long profiles
  • Ability to measure inside small-diameter tubes, bores, etc.  
  • Ability to measure surfaces with steps, O-ring grooves, channels, splines, holes, and other high-aspect-ratio features
  • Ability to measure even in extreme temperatures or in radiation. See inspection in hostile environments.

See a more complete list of advantages of our fiber-based LCI systems.

Novacam fiber-based optical probes come in many designs and models – standard, small-diameter, rotational, or galvo-scanner – to satisfy the majority of high-precision inspection applications.

Examples of 3-D metrology applications in hard-to-reach spaces

Novacam systems measure hard-to-reach spaces in many sectors including aerospace, automotive, defense, medical instrumentation, energy, and electronics. Here are some examples.

Defense (firearms) sector

Application:  rifle barrel ID inspection (ID≈5.6 mm, length≈46 cm)

Metrology system: TubeInspect 

How it works: small-diameter probe is advanced into the rotated tube, acquiring the ID surface as a very dense spiral of 3D point measurements

Bonus system aspect: with this same system, both the inside and outside diameters of a tube can be acquired

Video3D Tube ID measurement (2:09), demonstrating inspection of a rifle barrel

TubeInspect’s small-diameter probe about to enter a rifle barrel (diameter≈5.6 mm, length≈46 cm)

Visualization of rifle barrel interior – bottom left: 2D deviation map of tube ID, top right: 3D deviation map of tube ID, bottom right: height and intensity images

Automotive sector

Application: automotive valve body bores

Metrology system: BoreInspect

How it works: small-diameter rotational scanning probe is lowered into a stationary bore, acquiring the ID surface as a very dense spiral of 3D point measurements

Benefit: Easy programming of measurement sequences

VideoValve Body Bore Measurement (2:02)

BoreInspect's rotational scanner about to enter a valve body bore as part of an automated measurement sequence.

BoreInspect’s rotational scanner about to enter a valve body bore as part of an automated measurement sequence.

Visualization of measurements acquired in the valve body bore

Related links

Download application note “Inspecting Hard-to-Reach Surfaces with a Fiber-based Profilometer” [3 pages, PDF, 0.5 MB] for more details on 3D metrology in hard-to-reach spaces

 Contact us or request free sample analysis to see if Novacam 3D metrology systems are suitable for your application