Indiana Patent of the Month – March 2021

Aerospace equipment is very sensitive to fatigue and needs constant maintenance. Dents can cause significant problems and can reduce the fatigue life of the airframe. When dents are serious enough, the equipment requires repair. Measuring these dents involves precise measurements of three-dimensional (3D) surfaces for local fine deformations, dents and surface imperfections. The material is usually metallic and glossy resulting in plenty of reflections which limit the measuring capabilities. Measuring systems rely on measuring the contrast of projected patterns on these surfaces but the reflections of the material are enhanced by dents which reduces the precision of measurements. The surfaces also have high curvature and high reflectivity, so most of projected light is reflected away from the camera, and produce very low contrast images of projected patterns. Vehicle Service Group, LLC has designed an improved hybrid measurement system for use on industrial, automotive and aerospace components and parts.

VSG’s method uses calibrated active stereo 3D reconstruction and uncalibrated nonplanar deflected or back-projection reflectometry in an effort to enhance precision of measurements. Their system uses a calibrated digital camera pair and a digital projector. These are used for stereo 3D metrology. They are angled towards the surface of interest. A second projector is angled to provide deflectometry. So the second projector produces a sequence of digital patterns across the projection path of the first projector onto the surface. As the patterns interact with dents, the light is scattered, changing the pattern. These patterns reflect off of the surface to the digital camera pair which captures the now altered patterns. An active stereo 3D is then used to determine the shape and any dents based on changes in the projected patterns. This method allows for per pixel correlations which means the measurements are absolute and precise.

About Vehicle Service Group, LLC

Part of Dover Corporation’s Engineered Systems segment, Vehicle Service Group (VSG) is a strong, diverse and dynamic global leader in the vehicle service industry. VSG comprises 13 major vehicle lifting, wheel service, diagnostic and collision repair brands

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