Tire Molds Inspection

Driving your car at night on a slippery road, you sure hope the tires have a good grip on the pavement.

But how do you know that they do?

Your tire manufacturer measured them with a 3D scanning sensor.

Let’s see how it’s done… 

A tire has “grooves” and “sipes” to improve its traction.  Grooves are channels between the tread ribs of a tire that look like a straight line all around the wheel.  Sipes are the smaller slits in the tire tread between grooves.


Tire grooves and sipes must be a given size, shape, and depth, according to industry standards.  Otherwise, they won’t pass safety inspections.  Measuring these grooves, however, is not a trivial task.

Only a collinear laser sensor (where the laser used to measure distance is transmitted and received in the same axis) can measure this kind of geometry.


Optimet used the Conopoint 10 sensor to produce the above scan.  Since it’s a collinear sensor, the tire manufacturer can measure the grooves and sipes depth, width and side wall angles precisely.

The mold segments that are used to create the tire sipes also have to be inspected for quality control and CAD comparison. The challenge of this sort of inspection is the capability to register all the segment steep angles and undercuts.

Once again, you guessed it – you need a collinear sensor to measure deep grooves with steep walls and similar geometry.

Here there are two choices:

If you need very high accuracy, use a point sensor such as the Conopoint-10 with its bank of objectives for various standoffs and working range options.

Alternatively, speed up measurement time with the Conoline-100 line sensor, at the expense of a small reduction in sensor accuracy.


So when you’re driving down that road, just think: “It’s a good thing for Optimet, or who knows what my tire treads would look like.”

Looking for more?  Read the detailed tire scan report


Flickr creative commons image via Karyn Christner

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  • Reply

    We would like to have a catalogue and the success case study PDF by e-mail.

  • Ashlee Kuriakose

    Thank you for the July news letter. I have a question. Imagine a tire mold or tire itself is scanned using ConoPoint-10 sensor. How the scan result is compared with actual design which exists as a CAD format, for example as DXF file?

    • Dr. Kalman Wilner

      Dear Ashlee,

      Optimet’s sensors such as the Conopoint-10 can be use for either scan metal surfaces such as molds or black diffusive objects such as tires with its grooves. The sensor output is a 3D data file that can be compared to a provided CAD using common SW such as Geomagic, etc. Such a comparison is shown in BLOG for which we compared the 3D scan of a mold segment with a provided CAD. As can be seen, the sharp edges of the sample as designed in the CAD are not present in the actual measurements, due to manufacturing limitations. We show that the comparison results indicates that 88.7% of the points are within ± 100µm.

      If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask!

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