AR1000 Laser Distance Sensor

The Acuity AR1000 laser distance sensor can measure up to 30 meters on natural targets and up to 150 meters with a retroreflective target with an accuracy of ± 3 mm. This rugged sensor is built for tough, industrial environments and applications such as fill level measurement and material height monitoring.

Product ID: 3473 Category:

Reliable Measurement

Acuity’s AR1000 laser distance sensor uses continuous wave laser diodes, modulating the amplitude at high frequencies, to measure distances by measuring the phase shift of the returning light.

The AR1000 laser distance sensor can measure targets from 0.1 m (4 in) up to 30 m (100 ft) without the use of reflective targets. It can work with any opaque target, even glowing steel at temperatures up to 1000°C (1800°F). The AR1000’s accuracy is typically ± 3 mm (0.12 in), but this will depend on the reflectivity of the target surface, ambient light, and temperature conditions. Dark-colored targets may decrease the laser’s range and accuracy. In simple sampling modes, the AR1000 self-determines the optimal sampling speed, waiting until it collects enough light to make an accurate measurement. Typical sampling output rates are 6 Hz, but 50 Hz sampling is possible at close ranges to white targets. See the technical document download area for more information.

For very distant measurements, you can use retroreflective target material (such as 3M Scotchlite 3279) to increase the maximum measurement range to 150 meters (500 feet).

Laser Diode

The AR1000 has a Class 2, red, visible laser diode for simple aiming and setup. The spot size is 5 mm as the light leaves the laser, and the beam has a divergence of 0.6 milliradians. Larger targets may be necessary at long distances.

Outputs and Inputs

You can choose a standard RS232 or optional RS422 serial interface for communication with a computer or PLC. The AR1000 also comes with a standard, 4-20 mA, analog, current loop output. The analog output can be programmed to have a custom measurement span, and the minimum and maximum currents can be set to any points in the laser’s range. The linearity of the analog output is +/- 0.15% of the span due to the digital to analog converter, so it’s important to set the analog measurement span accordingly if you need the maximum, 3mm accuracy.

The AR1000 has a single limit output for indicating alarms. This can be useful for triggering an external device when a target reaches a set position. The AR1000 also has a line in to receive an external trigger to take single distance measurements.

Climate Control

The AR1000 can also be purchased with an optional internal heater that allows operation in temperatures as cold as -40°C (-40°F). The heater can be configured to power on below a user determined temperature in the settings.

AR1000 Case Studies


Acuity has had many customers request that the AR1000 long range laser sensor be able to provide a color Touch Panel Display that can output the measurement format in English unit fractions.

Foundation Pile Set Measurements

A maker of foundation pile testing equipment uses laser rangefinders to collect set data, acquiring it much faster than hammer impacts. The rangefinder is affixed to a stationary base. The automated equipment is set up prior to starting of the hammer and does not require the use of manual recording methods.

Laser Positioning Video Demo

In this video demo of laser positioning, we show how to set up two AR1000 laser distance sensors on two opposite targets.


A global manufacturer of self-contained drill rigs uses the AccuRange 1000 laser distance sensor to automatically gage the depth of drilled holes. Their drill rigs are equipped with powerful down-the-hole hammers for high-capacity rock drilling in quarries, opencast mines and construction projects. The operator, sitting in a climate-controlled cabin, can know the exact hole depth on a digital console display.

Length Measurement of Hot Steel Pipe

A system integrator in Croatia worked closely with a steel pipe manufacturer to develop a system for measuring the length during production. The clever solution incorporates an AR1000 laser distance sensor from Acuity to measure to the leading edge of the pipe during cutting.

Overhead Crane Position Measurement

Steel mills producing large coils of sheet stock store their inventory on the floors of huge warehouses. Modern factories automate the pick and place of their inventory in 3D space by equipping their overhead cranes with multiple laser distance sensors.

Sag of Web Material to Control Take-Up Speed

Before material is cut into individual sheets, there can be a large sag created by the mismatch of speeds between two rollers. A global manufacturer sought to use laser distance sensors to improve the performance of their production lines.

Steel Tank’s End-Cap Dimensions

A manufacturer in Brazil designs and builds tanks and vessels for use in various chemical and petrochemical industries.The company approached Acuity to assist in improving their dimensional measurement practices.

Wing Displacement Measurement Tests

The “wing up-bend test” is a test of the mechanical integrity of composite wings as they are displaced upwards. Hanging from the end of each wing is a laser distance sensor, mounted on a gimbal to ensure the laser would be pointed perpendicularly to the floor as the wing is bent upwards.


See PDF datasheet for full specs

Range: Working distance between measurement endpoints over which the sensor will reliably measure displacement.

Accuracy: The sum of all measurement errors when compared to a known standard.

Resolution: Smallest increment of change in distance that a sensor can detect.

Reproducibility: Similarity between duplicate measurements.

Sample Rate: Speed that data samples are obtained from the sensor.

Options and Accessories

Connection Options

Acuity offers the following standard and optional outputs for the AR1000 laser rangefinder devices:

Standard RS-232 Serial Output

An RS-232 Output is standard on the AR1000. Cables purchased with the laser come with flying leads that can be wired directly to whatever connector your computer or PLC uses. The data from the AR1000 is output as ASCII and may be set to decimal or hexadecimal numbers. The maximum transfer rate is 38400 baud.

Optional RS-422 Serial Output

The AR1000 can be purchased with an RS-422 serial output for applications that require long cables (> 20 ft).  The RS-422 serial output replaces the RS-232 output, so please double check the output your application requires before ordering. The available sample rates, formats and software configuration commands are the same for a RS-422 output as it is for RS-232.

Standard Current Loop Output

4-20 mA, analog, current output is included on all AR1000 sensors. The maximum and minimum current outputs can be set to any point on the sensor’s range, even inverting direction if necessary. The 4-20 mA output has a maximum voltage capability of 10 V, and we suggest that a 400 to 500 Ω resistor be connected to the current loop wires at the measurement point for best accuracy.

Environmental Endurance Options

Internal Heater

The AR1000 can be ordered with an internal heater. This heater allows the sensor to be operated in temperatures down to -40°C (-40°F). This allows the AR1000 to be installed in cold environments without a custom-built enclosure. Users can configure the temperature settings to suit their application.

Display Accessories

Touch Panel Display

Touch Panel Display with data displayThe Acuity Touch Panel Display is a stand-alone terminal interface for use with Acuity laser distance sensors. These fully enclosed units replace panel meters, alphanumeric displays, and analog controllers by providing a modern interface through a full-color LCD and touch screen. The Touch Panel Display communicates with one or two Acuity sensors using RS-232 serial interfaces. The touch panel can be easily configured using on-screen buttons to display, scale, and even graph the sensors’ distance outputs. Relative dimensions can be measured using a tare function. With two Acuity sensors, the touch panel can serve as a thickness gauge. Limits can be programmed into the touch panel to give a visual warning to operators that the target is too close or too far or too thick or too thin. With a USB flash drive, measurements can be logged and saved for further analysis.

Connection Accessories

Connectivity Kit
Connectivity Kit

The AR1000 laser measurement sensor comes with an unterminated bundle of wires in a shielded cable. As an option, Acuity sells a connectivity kit to aid in connecting your laser to a power supply and serial port. This product includes a 120V, 15 VDC, AC power supply; a serial cable with DB9 connector; and a solid-state, NEMA-4X interface box. The interface box includes two sets of terminal blocks for simple input (from sensor) and output (to your selected device), a DB9 male serial connector out, and a barrel style power connector in. You can either pass through the wiring to another unterminated cable, connect a DB9 serial cable directly to the interface box, or both at the same time.

Also available: A 240 V version with a European-style plug; connectivity kit with serial to USB cable.









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