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Digital 3-D touch sensor wins Hexagon’s support

Posted on 22 Mar 2023. Edited by: John Hunter. Read 1271 times.
Digital 3-D touch sensor wins Hexagon’s supportStockholm-based Hexagon, a ‘leading global digital reality solutions company’, recently announced the winner of the second cohort of its Sixth Sense open innovation platform, which nurtures start-ups creating solutions to ‘pressing manufacturing challenges’. Hexagon launched Sixth Sense in 2022 to support the growing demand for ‘disruptive innovation’ in manufacturing. The platform offers business insight, access to experts and mentorship, as well as exposing them to Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division’s global customer and partner base, which includes the likes of Audi, Airbus, Meta, and Zimmer Biomet.

US-based GelSight won the competition following an intense 10-week programme of product refinement and business development, which culminated in a pitching competition at the Hague in the Netherlands, where the compant presented its progress to a panel of judges representing experts in technology, investment, and Hexagon leadership. As part of its winning package, GelSight will receive access to Hexagon’s extensive customer base to expand its business, integrate with Hexagon products, and ‘further resources to globalise’.

Youssef Benmokhtar, GelSight’s CEO (pictured above, centre), said: “Many inspections in the industry today are still performed by an inspector simply looking at or touching a part to identify, and sometimes measure, a defect. However, this is a subjective, non-repeatable non-traceable process, whereas our gel material acts as artificial skin, providing extremely detailed and rapid surface characterisation.

“We have digitalised the entire workflow so that our technology analyses the readings to give users detailed 3-D visualisation with up to five million data points that can help automate processes, thereby cutting costs and time. Working with Sixth Sense has been such a memorable experience. We are proud and humbled to have been chosen and are looking forward to the future with Hexagon. The real work starts now.”

Digital touch technology

At the heart of GelSight’s digital touch technology is the company’s proprietary elastomeric platform, which creates a soft, high-resolution, tactile sensor that conforms like human skin to the shape of an object on contact, precisely capturing the topography of the surface. Data captured is instantly analysed by GelSight’s proprietary operating system to provide detailed, 3-D information on surface features, regardless of lighting or material reflectivity.

Mobile metrology applications include: hole diameter measurement; scratch and defect measurement; fastener flushness; X/Y/Z dimensional measurements; weld inspection; pit detection/corrosion analysis; roughness measurement; radius of curvature measurement; replica measurement with image transformation; and shot peen analysis.

The runner-up was Castor. Angeliki Malizou, the company’s director of business development, said: “Participating in the Sixth Sense cohort has provided us with an exceptional opportunity to take our business to new heights. Our intelligent software analyses thousands of parts at once and identifies opportunities where additive manufacturing makes sense, from a technical, economical, and sustainable point of view. Whether a company’s initiatives are cost reduction, sustainability, supply chain resilience, or others, we can help engineers to scale up their AM journey, and we look forward to furthering that journey with Hexagon.”

Parth Joshi, chief product and technology officer for Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, said: “The market is in a state of flux. The industry is trying to contend with a shrinking global economy, sustainability requirements and increasingly complex customer demands, which are all piling on the pressure. To us, however, this presents an opportunity.

He concluded: “Constraints provide fertile ground for innovation, and start-ups know that better than anyone. In fact, the industry as a whole can benefit from the creativity and agility they bring to the innovation process, as demonstrated by the success of our cohorts. We are excited to continue working together with budding companies and will be recruiting for the next cohort soon.”