Project Puts Exact Metrology on the 3D Map with Fermilab

High precision 3D mapping supports installation of a new beam transport line for scientific research

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), America's premier high-energy particle accelerator laboratory, in Batavia, Illinois, collaborates with scientists from around the world to perform pioneering research, operate world-leading particle accelerators, plus experiment and develop technologies for science supporting U.S. industry.

In 2014, Fermilab contracted Exact Metrology to work on a project known by its location as "Main Injector Ring Section MI-10." Horst Friedsam, Head of the Alignment Metrology Department at Fermilab, led the week-long project with Exact Metrology, which involved 3D mapping of existing equipment in order to yield data to support the placement and installation of an additional beam transport line.

Exact Metrology performed the scanning in section 10 of the Main Injector Accelerator, which is situated in a tunnel about 10 m below ground with a circumference of approximately two miles. The Main Injector accelerates a proton particle beam, arriving from the 8 GeV (Giga-electron-Volts) Booster, to 120 GeV and subsequently blasts it into a stationary target to generate the world's highest intensity neutrino beams.

Recently, Fermilab has been working on a new Deep Underground Neutrino Project (DUNE) to provide a neutrino beam to the Homestake Mine in South Dakota. This project features access to research facilities 2 miles below ground, which is ideal for neutrino experiments requiring shielding from cosmic ray events. In order to deliver a neutrino beam to the DUNE, a new beam transport line that fits within the existing beam line infrastructure was required. As a result, data scanning, full CAD modeling and photo overlays of a large section of the currently installed Main Injector equipment was needed. The collected data were crucial for the design of new beam elements and visualizing interferences with existing components.

The Alignment Metrology Department maintained a high precision control network throughout the laboratory complex. For the scanning process, a Leica ScanStation P20 ultra-high speed 3D Scanner was used in conjunction with special laser scanner targets, modified to fit within the existing control network points. Exact Metrology's Leica ScanStation P20 was chosen for its combination of high accuracy and low scan noise, plus its industry-leading environmental specifications for industrial as-built documentation. The software chosen to aid the process was Leica Cyclone, producing TruView—a web-enabled panoramic point viewer allowing the user to view, pan, zoom, measure and mark up point cloud data over the web. Additionally, RSL300 laser scanner target markers from Berntsen International Inc. were mounted concentric to 1.5” radius steel half spheres interfacing with Exact Metrology's laser tracker nests. The coordinates of the control network, determined at the millimeter level, were provided to Exact Metrology to globally register all scans relative to Fermilab's system. Thus, the end product provides information for all scanned objects in the common coordinate system used for the entire Fermilab site. 

Fermilab has a long-existing relationship with Exact Metrology, having purchased and rented equipment from their instrument pool plus contracted for metrology services as on-site work, such as this scan.

Exact Metrology is an ISO 9001:2008 Certified Company.  

Exact Metrology, with facilities in Cincinnati and Milwaukee and affiliated offices throughout the Midwest, is a comprehensive metrology services provider, offering customers 3D scanning, reverse engineering, quality inspection, product development and 2D drawings. The company also provides turnkey metrology solutions, including equipment sales and lease/rental arrangements.  

For more information on this system or to arrange a demonstration, please contact:


Steve Young

11575 Goldcoast Drive

Cincinnati, OH 45249

Phone: 513-831-6620

Toll Free: 866-722-2600

Dean Solberg

20515 Industry Avenue

Brookfield, WI 53045

Phone: 262-533-0800

Local: 866-722-2600


1117 N Washington Ave

Batavia, IL 60510

Phone: 630-840-2787

Horst Friedsam

More from Sensors, Monitors & Transducers

All Topics