Laser scanning centre first of its kind in UK

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A 3D laser scanning centre offering large-area measurement capabilities for analysing car and aircraft components is underway as part of a joint project between the University of Leicester and Polytec UK.

When it opens in May 2014, the Advanced Structural Dynamics Evaluation Collaborative (ASDEC) research centre will be the UK’s first commercial 3D non-contact laser vibration scanning measurement and modal-analysis centre. Located in Nuneaton, UK, it has been developed specifically to service the automotive, aerospace and space sectors.

ASDEC will be the only such facility in the UK providing 3D full-field scanning measurement, modal analysis, modelling and certification services. This capability will be provided by the range and spatial resolution of Polytec’s laser Doppler systems, enabling automatic 3D scans of structures at the centre as well as vibration field scans at end-user sites.

This non-contact technology enables large-area dynamic measurements to be performed in hours compared with the longer turn-around times of traditional multi-channel accelerometery.

ASDEC is initially funded by a £1 million grant from the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund and by an ERDF structured grant to support small and medium enterprise (SME) access to the centre. When fully operational, ASDEC is expected to create 250 new jobs in the UK.

The advanced vibration measurement and analysis will cut the time required for new product development, testing, analysis and, ultimately, time to market. For product development, this approach also allows an enhanced upfront pre-test diagnostics, improved Mac address comparison data, early product de-risking, and greatly reduced development time and costs.

The ASDEC facility is expected to act as a catalyst and an entry point for businesses to access the resources of the University of Leicester and its broad range of additional services, expertise, R&D, facilities, and technologies.

Aldo Rona, academic technical leader of the ASDEC project, said: ‘Although we are a start-up centre, we are a secure proposition for client companies because there are structural supports in position around the business proposition.

‘The main purpose of the ASDEC lab is research and technical development. There is no plan to spin it out in the first five years of its operations: we would expect any surplus income to be reinvested in the facilities.’

Joe Armstrong, sales manager of Polytec, said: ‘We are extremely pleased that the University of Leicester is the first group to make available a robot-mounted laser vibrometer to the UK. This new resource will help UK innovative and cutting-edge companies by offering large area structural dynamic measurements with both high resolution and high accuracy for improved finite-element analysis (FEA) validation. For example, it can fully measure and characterise a full body in white for an automotive supplier.’