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  • December 22, 2017

    Seasons Greetings and Holiday Office Hours

    Seasons Greetings and Holiday Office Hours


    All of Meta’s employees in the UK, Germany, the United States, and Canada wish all of our friends, partners, and customers a very happy holiday season! We all thank you for your support and loyalty over this past year and look forward to working with you in 2018.


    Please note that our offices will be closed from December 23 through January 1, 2018 with everyone being back at work on January 2.


    Please accept our best wishes for the holiday season and Happy New Year!

  • October 27, 2017

    Meta Corporate Restructuring


    Meta Corporate Restructuring


    Meta is in the process of restructuring its operations with the objective of fostering global competitiveness, improving customer service, and ensuring the flexibility required for dynamic, future growth.


    For over 33 years, Meta has been providing 3D laser vision systems for welding automation applications that help welders do a better job. Meta’s restructuring was undertaken to make its operations more competitive on a world-wide basis and to position itself positively for future growth.


    Beginning immediately, the company’s operations in the UK will become Meta VS Ltd. and the main function of this very specialised group in Oxford will be to serve as the company’s new global, R&D centre. Meta’s wholly owned subsidiaries Meta Vision Systems Inc. in Canada, Meta Vision Systems USA Inc. in the USA and Meta Scout GmbH in Germany will continue to serve customers as sales and support centres in their respective regions. Meta VS will partner with RDC Group PLC in China to fulfill all of the company’s global production needs. RDC has been Meta’s exclusive distributor in China for a number of years. With this new agreement, RDC has undertaken a major expansion and is constructing a new, state-of-the-art facility in Yantai, China to meet the expected demand for Meta product.


    While much of the future research and development efforts will be focused on new sensor development, the company expects to continue innovative development of specialised measurement technology for the tube and pipe, automotive, and advanced nuclear manufacturing industries. It is anticipated that as manpower and resources are added, development of such cutting-edge technology will take place at Meta’s R&D centre in Oxford, UK as well as with business partners in Yantai, China and in Seoul, Korea.


    This restructuring is about accelerating our growth strategy. And it’s about driving long term change to further establish Meta as the global leader for 3D laser sensor technology. As we drive this transformation forward, there is extraordinary opportunity ahead. We expect to emerge as a more productive company with broader reach and sharper execution. Our goal is simple: we will ensure our customers and business partners understand the multitude of products and services Meta can provide while reaffirming our commitment to excellence in product design, usability, reliability, and support. We thank our customers and business partners for their patience and continued support during this period of restructuring.


  • March 14, 2017

    Oxfordshire Apprentice of the year

    Meta's Oliver Steer has achieved the Apprenticeship Award in Electrical Engineering 2017.

    Ollie's accomplishment follows in the footsteps of Meta Apprentice David Sawyer who was awarded Oxfordshire Apprentice of the year in 2015.

  • September 14, 2015

    Meta Turns Laser Tracking Inside Out


    Meta Vision Systems has released a new version of its VistaWeld laser tracking system for controlling the position of the internal welding head on spiral pipe mills.

    There are two conventional ways of controlling the position of the weld head inside a pipe. In the first method, the laser sensor is mounted directly to the internal head and controls its position by sensing the joint directly ahead of the point of welding. The disadvantage is that there may not be enough space for the sensor inside pipes of small diameter. Another problem in two-step mills is that the internal environment is severe due to the volume of weld spatter.

    This led to the development of the second traditional method in which the sensor is mounted outside the pipe on an additional servo slide. The sensor can track the joint dynamically from the outside, as the weld head inside the pipe is mounted on a similar servo slide which mimics the action of the external slide. The disadvantage of this approach is its high cost and complexity, as it requires an expensive additional servo slide system for the sensor only. Moreover, the machine operator has to synchronise both sensor and weld head slides before welding can begin.

    Meta's new method has the advantage of placing the sensor on the outside of the pipe but without the disadvantage of a separate sensor slide. The company has developed a new calibration method which, combined with Meta’s high resolution Smart Laser Sensor (SLS), means that the laser sensor can be mounted in a fixed position on the outside of the pipe yet control the position of the weld head accurately inside the pipe. Since the sensor is fixed, there is no need for a separate sensor slide.

    The new inside-out VistaWeld SLS tracking system has already been installed on several spiral mills, with good results. It is applicable equally to one-step and two-step mills.

    Bob Beattie, Meta’s MD, commented: “Over the past fifteen years, we have supplied many systems for spiral pipe mill ID welding and have acquired a lot of experience in the application.

    "Even though we developed some very small laser sensors for going inside, previously there was always a restriction on minimum pipe diameter, whereas with this new approach there is no limitation.

    "Accurate laser tracking is now available for ID welding on pipe of any diameter. What’s more, the sensor provides accurate as-welded mismatch measurement that can be monitored by mill operators or used as the input to an automatic mismatch control system.” 

    Release no:      1044(PR)

  • June 1, 2015

    Meta starts KTP project on Weld Inspection with Oxford Brookes University

    Meta extends R&D programme on Weld Inspection

    Meta is pleased to announce that it has partnered with Oxford Brookes University to start a new R&D project on 3D weld inspection.  The two year project will be run under the UK government's Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme which aims to encourage links between universities and companies.

    Jonathan Moore, Meta's Technical Director, commented "We are very pleased to be developing our relationship with Brookes in this way and look forward to a highly successful project in a key area for us.  We have seen a rapid increase in interest in automated weld inspection over the last few years, so we felt that the time was right to build on our existing expertise by working together with the academic community."

    Further details can be found at: http://www.brookes.ac.uk/business-and-employers/knowledge-transfer-partnerships/ktp-case-studies/sensing-a-good-weld--new-applications-in-computer-vision-2015/


    Automated Weld Inspection

  • December 5, 2014

    Meta launches digital remote control system for submerged arc welding

    New version of Meta's patented MetaView system released


    META launches digital remote


    control system for arc welding


    Meta Vision Systems (Oxford, UK and Montreal, Canada) has launched a new, all-digital version of its patented MetaView system. It combines a laser-camera sensor head with a video monitor to allow a machine operator to control from a remote location both the horizontal and vertical positions of a SAW (submerged arc welding) head.

    MetaView Concept

    The digital version uses a colour touchscreen as the video monitor. Combined with a new, high resolution digital colour camera in the sensor head, it provides much improved image quality and noise immunity, together with many new features.


    Bob Beattie, Meta’s MD, commented, “As an entry-level product, our MetaView system provides a user-friendly way of getting machine operators away from the welding head. At the same time, it actually improves their control over the position of the head in the joint, leading to better weld quality.


    “Just as improved health and safety concerns rightly discourage operators from working at heights, so there is an analogous need for a system to allow welding machine operators to work remotely from a safe distance.”


    In addition to providing a better, less noisy image, the digital MetaView’s functionality includes digital zoom, pan and tilt, enabling the operator to optimise the image to his or her preference. New also is the ability to add a second camera to provide an overview of the weld head to complement the detailed positional view provided by the MetaView sensor.

    MetaView Application on ID SAW


    Release no:      1051(PR) (download PDF)

  • September 19, 2014

    META to launch new robot welding sensor at Fabtech

    Meta Vision Systems (Oxford UK and Montreal Canada) announces the launch of a new laser sensor at the forthcoming Fabtech show in Atlanta, Georgia, to be held from 11th to 13th November 2014.

    SLS Arc

    Known as SLS ARC, the new model is an extension of Meta’s successful range of Smart Laser Sensors, optimised for robotic arc welding applications. It is suitable for seam finding and real-time weld seam tracking in all of the usual welding processes, including high current GMAW and FCAW.

    Steve Thacker, Meta’s General Manager, commented “Meta was spun out of Oxford University in 1984 to commercialise a research project that developed a laser vision sensor for use in robotic MIG welding in the automotive industry. The SLS ARC represents the latest development in a thirty-year sequence which started with that first Meta sensor.

    “The automotive sector represents an important and still growing part of our business, and one where we have had very good recent success. We felt it was timely to build on that success with a new sensor fine-tuned for aggressive robot welding applications. The ARC is just one part of an overall product development plan aimed at extending the state of the art in robot welding.”

    By using some of the inherent advantages of SLS technology, including fully automatic image quality optimisation, combined with new sensor optics and a mechanical design matched to the requirements of robot arc welding, the SLS ARC provides a high performance laser sensor in a rugged package as demanded by the automotive industry.

    The SLS sensor series is the cornerstone of Meta’s Smart Laser Pilot (SLPi) system, which exploits direct Ethernet connection from the sensor head directly to the robot controller to give excellent seam finding and real-time tracking performance with a simple system hardware architecture.

    Jonathan Moore, Meta’s Technical Director, explained “The SLS family has been successful, not only because it was the first welding sensor to include the image processing inside the sensor head, but also because it encompassed several new developments and ways of improving particular features, all of which resulted in better performance while achieving a very competitive price. The ARC takes that approach one step further by using the technology features in the best possible combination for robot arc welding.”

    Release no:      1050(PR) (download PDF)

  • February 24, 2014

    New Generation Laser Sensor Increases Quality & Speed of Welding

    A new laser sensor has been launched by British manufacturer, Meta Vision Systems, for all types of mechanised and robotic welding. It is the first such sensor to incorporate high performance image processing in the sensor head itself, rather than needing a separate computer, and has many applications throughout manufacturing industry.

    The thickness of the steel plates that form the base of a wind tower can be 50 mm or more, while the middle section is fabricated from lighter gauge metal and near the top, the steel is thinner still. Welding of these various gauges requires different procedures. The base is typically prepared with a U joint profile and welding takes place in several passes. The middle section requires a V type joint and is welded in one or two passes. Steel at the top is welded with a simple butt joint preparation. The DLS200 sensor has a fully programmable scan configuration, which means that a wide scan can be used for the U and V joints, but a narrow scan with high resolution can be used for the smaller butt joints.

  • January 21, 2014


    Meta Vision Systems, the leading UK manufacturer of laser guidance systems for automating arc welding, celebrates thirty years of Welding with Vision at the TUBE 2014 exhibition. Meta was a spin-out from Oxford University in 1984, following a successful research project to develop a laser vision system for real-time control of robot welding.

    The international show, featuring machinery and accessories for manufacturing and processing of tubes and pipes, will take place in Düsseldorf from 7th – 11th April. Meta will take its largest stand ever, 6B39, and will stage several live demonstrations of new products being launched.

    In addition to remaining active in robot welding, the firm has developed considerable expertise in many different tube and pipe applications over the past thirty years and is now generally considered to be one of the leading suppliers of vision and control systems for the tube and pipe industry worldwide.

    Within an overall theme of applied innovation, Meta’s stand will show a completely new pipe measurement system. With increasing demands for traceable measurement data from pipe buyers, the manufacturer has harnessed its proven experience in pipe bevel measurement and pipe inspection to develop a suite of new pipe measurement products. They represent a major expansion in the company’s activity in the sector and will be on show for the first time in Düsseldorf.

     Meta’s recent developments in longitudinal pipe mills will be highlighted in partnership with Hyundai RB, which has built a new longitudinal pipe mill in Ulsan, Korea, using Meta systems at every stage of the pipe welding process. They are used to control tack welding, ID welding, OD weld joint milling and OD welding. The result is a pipe mill with advanced automation throughout, combining excellent productivity and high quality.

    In the spiral pipe sector, Meta will be premiering a new video giving an in depth review of Meta’s new spiral mill control system. This includes mill control, welding control, laser vision and video monitoring, all within a single integrated and networked control system. As a result of Meta’s attention to detail during the design phase, the latest mill control installation was quick and painless for all concerned, enabling the mill operator to start making high quality production pipes in a shorter time than ever before.

    Meta looks forward to welcoming its many tube and pipe customers from all over the world to its stand and showing them the latest developments.


  • July 5, 2013

    Meta Leads the Way in Friction Stir Welding

    Laser tracking equipment manufactured by Meta Vision Systems is being integrated into the latest generation of friction stir welding (FSW) machines built by PTG Heavy Industries at its Elland factory in West Yorkshire. As a result, the internationally successful Powerstir FSW machine range may now be controlled automatically without the need for accurate fixtures.

    Several Powerstir machines have already been delivered with Meta's Smart Laser Pilot (SLPi) weld joint tracking system, including to customers in Europe and China.

    The work that Meta is doing in this high technology field has led to the firm researching and developing novel applications of FSW under the current EU Framework 7 programme.

    FSW was invented and patented by TWI (The Welding Institute) in the UK in 1991 and was adopted by PTG in the development of its world-beating Powerstir machines. Meta, another British company, based in Eynsham, Oxfordshire, has now added its expertise to help automate the process and simplify machine operation. 

    Being a solid state process, FSW overcomes many of the problems associated with the melting and resolidification of traditional arc welding. A rotating tool is moved along the line of a butt or lap joint, generating frictional heat that softens the material of the parts being joined. Together with carefully controlled clamping, the result is high strength, defect free welding.

    Meta's SLPi, which uses the company's high resolution Smart Laser Sensor (SLS), detects the line of the weld joint so that the rotating tool moves exactly along the correct path. With a combination of a mega-pixel camera, high quality uniform laser stripe and special optical and electronics designs, the SLS gives a very high quality joint profile from which the seam position can be extracted reliably. The tool is therefore able to be guided accurately along the line of the joint.

    Jonathan Moore, Meta’s Technical Director, commented: “We have supplied tracking and control systems for almost every type of welding and are particularly excited to be involved in FSW and helping PTG with its successful export drive.

    "FSW shows great promise in aerospace, shipbuilding and other important sectors. Our involvement with the EU R&D programme is an indication of our commitment to extend our knowledge of this important manufacturing process and further its commercialisation."

    Release no:      1045(CS)