Performance evaluation of a three dimensional laser scanner for industrial applications

Laser scanners are nowadays extensively used in industries due to their high accuracy, resolution and robustness. However, the specifications provided with most laser scanners are debatable and without proper analysis the output results from the scanners cannot be trusted. The performance of laser based scanners depends on many aspects including ambient lighting condition, surface reflectivity, surface roughness and stand-off distance. In this paper, a set of performance evaluation tests for a three dimensional (3D) laser scanner is presented. An initial definition of the best strategy for testing prior to its use is proposed. The performance of the scanner was evaluated under different operating conditions such as different surface reflectivity, viewing angle, surface roughness and stand-off distance. The optimum working range of the laser scanner was established and the regions where the laser scanner produces inappropriate data was identified and quantified. A similar testing approach can be used for any industrial laser scanner prior to its application to minimize any unambiguity in measurements. This will also enable the users to have confidence in the measurements returned by laser scanners.