Tube Inspection System


Available as a turnkey hardware and software package, or as an upgrade to existing portable measuring arm units, the system uses the powerful Hexagon Absolute Arm portable coordinate measuring machine (CMM) alongside specially designed non-contact tube probes and the state-of-the-art TubeShaper software to accelerate the measurement and inspection process, with the absolute minimum of intervention.

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence’s Tube Inspection System is a total solution for all measurement needs associated with tube, pipe and wire production:

  • Tube production
  • Tube and pipe inspection
  • Reverse engineering of tubes and tube assemblies
  • Tube gauging

The easy-to-handle Hexagon Absolute Arm uses non-contact tube probes, available in six different sizes, to measure tube length and bend angles as XYZ, LRA or YBC values, while standard touch probes ensure that full tube assemblies – including any welded fixtures like brackets or hangers – can be measured.

The state-of-the-art TubeShaper measurement software has been designed specifically for tube inspection with the Hexagon Absolute Arm, and represents a totally new beginning in software use in this sector. Using a completely original interface, TubeShaper has been designed with some of the world’s leading tube producers to create a product that brings you valuable measurement and process information as simply and quickly as possible.

CAD models of tubes and tube assemblies can be imported directly, while interfaces to CNC tube bending machines ensure real-time correctional data is transmitted directly to the bending machine itself. Measurement plans can be created offline prior to measurement, or even automatically during first-part inspection. These routines can be recalled and run at any time, meaning that batch measurement is both fast and easy. All measurement data can also be exported in IGES file format for reverse engineering applications, without the need to manage complex point cloud data. Tube measurement has never been so complete.


  • Plug-and-play hardware
    The easy-to-use Hexagon Absolute Arm requires no warmup or encoder referencing. Just plug it in and you’re ready to go.

  • Adaptable to the part
    With Hexagon Absolute Arm sizes ranging from 1.2 m to 4.5 m, two dedicated ‘T’ models for specific tube application and six tube probe options covering tube diameters from 4 mm to 130 mm to choose from, it’s easy to select the right size Tube Inspection System for your workpieces.

  • Automatic and repeatable probe recognition
    All measurement probes can be swapped within the same software session, with no need to recalibrate between changes. Simply switch from tube probe to touch probe on the fly, according to what you need to measure next.

  • Ergonomic system design
    Perfectly-weighted counterbalancing ensures that the Hexagon Absolute Arm is a pleasure to use, even for an entire 8-hour shift. The lightweight Tube Inspection System can be moved around your facility in minutes, to where it’s needed most.

  • Dedicated accessory range
    A full range of accessories including additional tube probes, tube clamps, measurement tables and raisers mean that your Tube Inspection System can be configured to suit your working environment and application requirements.

  • TubeShaper software
    Featuring a totally original user interface, TubeShaper has two access levels for users of different profiles. The Engineering Interface allows full use of all TubeShaper functions, while the Shop-floor Interface is designed for high-speed measurement. Larger icons enable control through the Hexagon Absolute Arm, accelerating use and reducing trips to the computer.

  • Bending machine interface
    Real-time direct interface to CNC tube benders enables correctional data to be calculated and applied within your production cycle, streamlining operations and almost completely eliminating scrap. Multiple bending machines can be supported by a single Tube Inspection System.

  • Measurement plans for rapid batch measurement
    Every time a new tube is measured it is automatically saved as a measurement plan, which can be run later at any time. Measurement plans can also be defined offline prior to measurement, meaning your intervention time on the shop floor is reduced yet accuracy and repeatability are guaranteed.

  • Automatic and customisable reporting
    Measurement reports can be created automatically and presented in the format you need, enabling you to monitor tube bender performance over time and spot problems on the shop floor before they become critical.

  • CAD data import and export
    CAD models can be imported into TubeShaper in IGES and STEP formats as standard, while other popular CAD formats are also optionally available. For reverse engineering applications, tube and geometric data can be exported as an IGES or SV file.

  • Full system certification
    The Hexgon Absolute Arm and tube probes are certificated to B89.4.22 as standard. Certifications to VDI/VDE 2617-9 are also available on request.