Understanding Laser Projectors

August 23, 2019

For companies who need to assemble or position parts, especially in high volume, who paint large-scale objects, or who work with multiple plies during the composites layup process, 3D laser projection technology offers a versatile and accurate solution. But other industries and companies may find high value in the technology as well.

Using a laser projector helps:

  • Dramatically reduce rework
  • Reduce error rates
  • Speed up the inspection process
  • Elevate overall throughput

Read on to learn how laser projection works and if it's right for your company. 

Laser projection uses CAD model data to generate a series of points that the projector then uses to create a project outline on a 3D surface. The projection will not distort; it will project accurately even on a multi-plane surface. The projected image is “drawn” onto the surface using a combination of advanced optics, high-precision mirrors and galvanometers.

Many industries use 3D laser projection in a wide spectrum of applications. Aerospace and defense companies rely on the technology for composite part layup, system bracket placement, rib and stringer placement, paint templating and more. Automotive and heavy equipment industries use it for precision placement, weld locations, production line and robot station layouts, precision table applications, among others.

With a laser projector, users can create a virtual template even on complicated 3D surfaces, and project alphanumeric text to indicate specific part numbers for placement or define multiple composite plies.


Use laser projection when you need:

  • Reduced or eliminated physical templates
  • Shorter layout time
  • Increased assembly throughput
  • Reduced or eliminated scrap and rework time — especially when the costs are extremely high, such as in welding or composites ply layup
  • Space or maintenance costs previously taken up by physical templates
  • The ability to quickly implement Engineering Change Orders (ECOs) onto the production floor

One of the biggest benefits of using a 3D laser projector is reducing or eliminating the need for physical templates. Physical templates carry:

  • A higher potential to be misaligned, creating cascading errors
  • A higher potential to fall out of placement during a layup process
  • A risk of becoming obsolete as parts are created or altered
  • A higher storage and maintenance cost

Laser projection, on the other hand, provides a clear assembly process, maintains strict tolerance specifications and delivers a blueprint for a streamlined workflow that doesn’t require advanced training or difficult programming. Using a laser projector solution can result in a 50-70% labor savings over physical methods.

Depending on what a company needs, a laser projector may come with various configurations to meet the unique requirements of the production floor. FARO’s lineup includes the FARO® TracerSI Imaging Laser Projector and TracerM Laser Projector.

In conclusion, laser projectors should offer:

  • Extremely accurate and repeatable long-range projections
  • Fast projection and refresh rates
  • Set-up versatility and flexibility
  • Streamlined operational control - multiple projectors can be controlled from one workstation
  • In-process verification at any step of the process to detect deviations in real time
  • Hands-free, targetless and feature-based alignment
  • A user-friendly interface
  • The ability to implement ECOs almost immediately 

When examining how a laser projector can improve your throughput, be sure to consider the full package of features and software integrations your work requires. Upgrading an assembly line begins with solutions that can streamline the process at multiple points. Laser projectors are often key components of that effort.


Want to learn more about laser projection?

Videos, whitepapers and webinars:

  • [Webinar] Streamline assembly & production with 3D laser projection – Here
  • [Watch] Trailblazing laser projection technology transforms iconic theatre – Here
  • [Webinar] Speed & quality with laser-guided assembly & verification – Here
  • [Read] Reduce non-conformances, streamline production & eliminate templates & hard tooling – Here
  • [Read] Reduce rework & increase throughput with 3D laser projection – Here

Have questions about bringing laser projection into your workflow?  Call +1 (800) 736-0234 or fill out the form on this page.

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