The following information is courtesy of Mr. Olivier Lapierre
Symetrie is specialized in 3D metrology and positioning systems. The company, based at Nime (France),
meets the demands of the aeronautics and automobile sectors or, more generally, of the precision
mechanics sector. The company offers consulting services, in-house training, as well as customized
development of measurement systems.
Symetrie's expertise is particularly in the inspection and calibration of positioning systems
such as coordinate measurement machines (CMMs), machine tools, positioning robots, and hexapods.
In addition, the company offers consulting services related to the installation of new methodology
for evaluating and correcting geometrical errors caused by manufacturing and control. Training
in these various fields is also available according to customer specifications.
The company also develops complete customized 3D measurement and positioning systems, with control
interface, based on innovative design techniques. These techniques are backed with a strong
expertise on 3D position sensors.
Related Products and Prototypes
Symetrie announced in February 2002 their latest, particularly innovative, development. The
designed system allows the positioning and orientation of an experiment room on the
Laser Integration Line (LIL) of CEA Cesta. (The Cesta branch of the French Atomic Energy
Commision, CEA, is specialized in nuclear arms development.) The 6-DOF system is basically a
hexapod whose six struts support in parallel the mobile installation and are connected to the
base through original ball joints. The hexapod's precision is in the micrometer range.
The hexapod was manufactured on a subcontractor basis for the French
Thales Engineering & Consulting in close collaboration
with the research labs of CNRS LIRMM at Montpellier and
ENSAM L2MA at Lille.
Fig. 1: Symetrie's hexapod for nuclear simulations.
The goal of the prototype installation of the Laser Integration Line (LIL) is to validate the technological
choices of the future Laser Megajoule (LMJ). The installation is currently being built at CEA Cesta,
near Bordeaux. LIL will be able to deliver energy of up to 60 Kilojoules. It will be, therefore, the
most important installation of its kind in the world, until the start of the LMJ in 2008 and of its
American equivalent, the NIF (National Ignition Facility).
Fig. 2: Close-ups of one of the six struts.
The hexapod developed by Symetrie allows precise adjustments of the position along three axes as
well as of the orientation about those three axes within a cube of approximately 50 mm side. The
installation process was particularly delicate since it was necessary to modify the existing support
of the experiment room without complete disassembly. The room is in the shape of a sphere of 4.8 m
diameter and weighs 17 tons.