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Automating QA Reports with ZEISS 3D Scanners and Software

By <a href="" target="_self">Brian Metzger</a>

By Brian Metzger

Posted on January 11, 2024

In today’s blog, we look at some helpful automation QA report features in ZEISS Inspect Optical 3D (the software formerly known as GOM Inspect Professional).  This software is used to operate the ZEISS line of 3D Scanning tools including the ATOS Q, GOM Scan 1, and T-Scan Hawk 2.

ATOS Q with turntable and laptop

ZEISS Inspect Optical 3D is also equipped with powerful tools for QA analysis, turning a 3D scanner into a touch-free CMM (Coordinate Measuring Machine).  Users who upgrade to Zeiss Inspect Optical 3D Professional will unlock the features we will review today for automation of measurements and reporting.

For today’s example, I worked with a set of four identical sheet metal parts.  I was lucky to be working with the ZEISS ATOS Q, which is capable of scanning multiple parts simultaneously.

Once the scan was finished, I simply defined the four resulting mesh (.stl) models into separate Stages in the software.  This is appropriate for situations where we want each scan to be treated the same.  I’ll be able to switch between the stages using the tabs on the bottom of the screen.

Bracket 3

After switching to the Inspection workspace, I imported the CAD model of the part.  This would act as the idealized, or perfect geometry of the design.  ZEISS Inspect Optical 3D can now compare each of the scanned parts to this nominal element.  I proceed with this process as if I had only taken a single scan.  In fact, I will leave the tab for “Bracket 1” active while I set up my inspection and report.

The first step in setting up an inspection is to define the alignment of the scan to the CAD model. Since this particular part has distinctive features, the pre-alignment works almost instantly.  This alignment simply moves the scan to the location of the CAD model using a best fit of the entire surface area.  In other models where the pre-alignment correctly match the geometry this perfectly, a good trick is to change the “Search Time” from Short to Long.


Now that the data is aligned to the CAD model, my first step is typically to create a Surface Comparison.  This applies a color map to the surface of the geometry (you choose the scan data or the CAD model) representing the distance between the two bodies.  Green surfaces represent areas where the manufactured part matches the idealized geometry. Red represents areas where the scanned metal falls to the outside of the CAD model’s envelope, and blue is where it is underneath.

This surface map gives the viewer an instant impression of how well the part has been manufactured, giving instantaneous intuitive understanding of problems like warp, missing material, burrs or manufacturing errors.  In the image below, I also supplement the Surface Comparison with a selection of Point Inspection labels that call out the exact deviation at important locations.

Bracket with tolerance callouts

Next, I will typically create two-dimensional Inspection Sections to highlight more information about the deviation of the metal from its intended form. In the image below, I’ve used ZEISS Inspect’s ability to add a series of equidistant Point Inspections to quickly add many notations all in a single keystroke. I personally find that this kind of 2D “slice” of a scan can be a great way to illustrate my point in a report, because it mimics the look of a sketch in a CAD program like SOLIDWORKS.

bracket cross section

Important dimensions can be checked by fitting geometries to the inspection, using the CAD model as a guide.  In the image below, I’ve fit a circle to the hole in the middle of the part, and four lines to the sides of the two slots.  This allows me to check the diameter of the hole and the width of the two slots.  These dimensions draw their nominal values from the CAD Model, and the actual values from the scan.  ZEISS Inspect automatically displays them in clear callouts that judge whether this particular part passes or fails each tolerance check.

bracket with hole diameter

With each measurement and visualization of an important feature, I can easily create a report page. Clicking on the camera icon in ZEISS Inspect allows me to add and format a report page as I work. Report pages can be edited to whatever appearance you prefer to match your company’s style guide, or your own communication goals.

QA Report Analysis

Finally, now that my inspection and report are fully set up, I can easily switch between my stages to see all of my measurements and visualizations instantly update for each of the four sample parts I scanned. It can be as simple as clicking between the tabs in the bottom of the screen. Many QA reports can have information from dozens of samples taken from a batch of manufactured parts, without adding substantial time to the workflow.

If you’re interested in learning more about automating inspections using 3D scanning, please contact us at TriMech Solutions for more information.

Article by <a href="" target="_self">Brian Metzger</a>

Article by Brian Metzger

Brian Metzger has been an Application Engineer with TriMech since 2013. He received his CSWP in 2013 and became an Elite AE in 2015. He is the Technical Lead on 3D scanning and is an expert with simulation products.