FARO Technologies Inc. treated press members to a sneak peek of the company’s new scanners in Orlando February 22. The new Photon 80 and Photon 20 laser scanners replace the LS 880, 840 and 420. The modularity of the FARO scanners hasn’t changed the product line’s outside appearance but the insides hold many improvements.




FARO Evolves Scanner Line

FARO Technologies Inc. treated press members to a sneak peek of the company’s new scanners in Orlando February 22. The new Photon 80 and Photon 20 laser scanners replace the LS 880, 840 and 420. The modularity of the FARO scanners hasn’t changed the product line’s outside appearance but the insides hold many improvements. At the Richard Petty Driving Experience site outside the Walt Disney World Resort, FARO staff, including James Needham, vice president of marketing for the Americas, David Morse, senior vice president and managing director for the Americas, and Ed Oliveras, Americas technical product manager for laser scanners, provided information on FARO’s mission and dedication to the markets it serves. The company claims it grew by more than 25 percent to $189 million in 2007 and that its regular sights are on technology, growth in markets, efficiency and portability. The Photon will help reach these goals.

FARO reps expect equal growth in 2008. Each of its three head offices in the USA (Lake Mary, Fla.), Europe (Stuttgart) and Asia (Singapore) contribute equal thirds to the business’ bottom line. This growth has led to a build-out of sorts to its Lake Mary facility; the company leased a new building across the street from its original facility, expanding its headquarters. The original office maintains R&D operations. Needham noted modestly that Forbes named FARO No. 18 in its list of America's 25 Fastest-Growing Tech Companies. Company reps also touted FARO’s technical and service support, specifying that “every one of our people are FARO employees. Repair is done in our FARO facilities-we’re direct.”

The company overview rolled into Oliveras’ presentation on the new Photon 80 and Photon 20 laser scanner models, the seventh rollout in seven months. Oliveras also noted that FARO has released six new scanners in six years. The Photons offer greater clarity, accuracy and portability than their predecessors. The casing of the new models has not changed-the four heart chamber-like quadrants of the body design is still modular. The Photon scanners include 300% less noise for greater clarity, which doesn’t mean a thing without good positional accuracy. To that end, the unit also includes 200% better positional accuracy for less distance and angle error. Additional advancements include: high-quality color overlay (although Oliveras said later that only about 20% of customers add this to their technology package); self-contained battery with a claimed six-hour life; the ability to be controlled by the iPod Touch or Wi-Fi connection; increased mirror rotation speed; and faster minimal scanning times. The unit operates with two times the power at the same eye safety and 50 percent more range in sunlight relative to the previous laser scanners. A bigger lens offers more light (i.e., more signal over noise).

The Photon’s output is much more crisp than previous models (to me, it compared to a fax sheet versus a Photoshop image). An 80 Gig drive provides more disk space. New accessories include a high-definition color bracket and a handle for portability. In a press release announcing the Photon, CEO Jay Freeland said: “The Photon’s attractive pricing, ease of use and solid customer support make it painless for businesses to adopt this powerful technology.” We will be on the lookout for customer stories to support this. Click here for the new Photon’s specs: http://www.faro.com/Photon/di/Features.aspx.