EYNSHAM, England, Oct. 13, 2010 — Meta Vision Systems Ltd. has launched the Smart Laser Probe laser seam tracking system that applies the company’s latest sensor technology to automatic arc welding machine applications. The concept of the company’s original laser probe was to provide laser seam tracking performance and reliability at a price comparable with mechanical, tactile probe tracking. The system has proved successful in applications such as tank welding, railway wagon production, fabrication in shipyards and other automated welding operations involving simple linear, rotary or circumferential operations. Using the latest advances in megapixel CMOS cameras, embedded electronics and high-resolution displays, the company has designed the new-generation device with improvements in performance, reliability and ease of use, while maintaining its competitive price. The noncontact seam-tracking system senses and compensates for any deviation from the nominal weld path to ensure highly accurate, automated welding, without the need for expensive fixturing or manual guidance. Proprietary smart laser sensor technology incorporates the image processing hardware and software inside the sensor head, simplifying the architecture of the system, which uses an Ethernet interface to communicate between the sensor head, color touch screen display and integrated multifunction input/output board. Advanced antireflection techniques have been incorporated in both the hardware and software, so system performance with more reflective metals such as aluminum and stainless steel is improved. Even though the electronics for image processing is now in the sensor head rather than in a separate controller, a high sampling rate of 30 full fps at megapixel camera resolution underpins fast welding speeds and better accuracy, and partial frames can be analyzed at higher rates. The new design can tolerate ambient temperatures from -40 to 55 °C. The initial requirements for extended temperature operation came from applications in cross country pipelines and also accommodate extreme factory environments. Ease of use has been improved by the inclusion of a controller with a color touch screen instead of a simple monochrome video monitor. The touch screen is used for monitoring welding performance at a glance and for diagnosing maintenance issues during operation. Multifunction input/output within the cabinet allows easy interface to a wide range of equipment. The operator pendant has been redesigned to be more robust and informative. It includes multicolor LEDs to give the operator status feedback directly from the pendant itself.