About the Project
We were approached by a leading metals fabrication client to support them in an armoured vehicle design optimisation project. Our client had been tasked to develop a range of bespoke turrets and armour options for manufacture and retro-fitting to existing armoured assets as required.
The project created a cost-effective way to upgrade existing military hardware; extending the life, efficiency and protection of the vehicles. It also provides the option for countries to improve their defensive capabilities by either upgrading their existing hardware or purchasing vehicles that have been already upgraded.
The initial requirement required the scanning of a Spartan Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), as this was to be used as a test platform for multiple options of turret design, weapon systems and armour. The first challenge was how to collect the data relating to a range of different armoured vehicles, as there was no existing CAD / digital data to utilise for design optimisation.
As a solution PES Scanning used the GOM 3D optical scanning system for this project and scanned the upper chassis of the vehicle at the client’s facility. This captured the main details of the upper deck, for use by the design engineering team. The scan of the APC was captured in the form of a polygon mesh, before the data was transferred into CAD software by the design engineers.
3D scanning services
The GOM 3D scanning system is the first choice for use by all major OEMs due to its quality and repeatable accuracy in capturing data. The system is versatile, can be transported and once set up the scanner, and the part being scanned, can be moved without affecting the integrity of the data. The PES team have taken this system around the UK and internationally (to such locations as Los Angeles), when capturing data for clients. The beauty of the scan data is that once captured and imported by the engineers into CAD as useable digital data*, it can be used time and time again for different optimisation projects.
Reverse Engineering and Optimisation
Once the design engineers had converted the scan data into a usable CAD format, the team utilised the data to design a range of ‘bolt-ons’ that would be manufactured to the designed specification, in order to fit the specific test vehicle perfectly. Many vehicles may have been modernised and upgraded a number of times during their operational lifetime. Capturing the data relevant to a specific vehicle or mod’ of vehicle allowed the team to guarantee that the new bespoke optimised design would fit the vehicle.
The scan data was not only used for reverse engineering the fit of new equipment, it was also used for space claim**. This ensured that any new designs would operate unhindered on the hull, clearing any equipment or crew positions. The digital information is also compatible with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) or finite element analysis (FEA) software and allows virtual simulations to be run. In this case the new upgrades could be analysed virtually to ensure that they delivered the required performance before the first physical prototypes are manufactured.
*The Scanner outputs the data from the scan in the form of a polygon mesh. This data is classed as ‘dumb data’ and cannot be used in any practical way in the design process, until it has been imported via a special file format into compatible CAD software. The data can then be converted into a format suitable for use in reverse engineering, CAD modelling etc.
** Space claim: This is an approach where a new piece of hardware, being added to an existing vehicle or piece of equipment can be checked, (either digitally or by manufacturing fabricated or 3D printed test parts), to ensure they can operate as intended in the space available.