Industry uses 3D scanning technology as a solution in a large variety of situations, due to its wide range of applications.
The data captured from 3D scanning can be used for reverse engineering, quality inspection, planned preventative maintenance, small and large bureau services; the list goes on.
The reason why 3D scanning can be used for so many things is due to its accuracy, speed, flexibility and its non-contact nature. All these qualities are needed for our clients. But today we will only be talking about reverse engineering and quality inspection. You can find out more about planned preventative maintenance and bureau service on our website.
You may be wondering if there is a specific limit on the volume/size of the item to be scanned? The answer is no, as we can scan anything from small objects such as coins, up to aircraft.
Furthermore, this flexibility and the portability of the scanning equipment means we can transport the scanning equipment to anywhere in the world and can be operated in or outdoors. So, if you think geographical location will prevent you obtaining the benefits of 3D scanning, then think again as we have the solution for you.
Change of location does not affect the accuracy of the results as the blue light scanning technology has a low sensitivity to lighting conditions within the environment. So, in an ‘uncontrolled environment’ i.e. with a varying temperature and light, we can deliver an accuracy dependent on the volume of the item. For example, a 70mm measurement volume can produce a 29 micron (0.029mm) point spacing/resolution. However, in a more controlled environment these results can be improved further. Again, another reason as to why you should use 3D scanning.
One of the applications that 3D scanning can be used for is reverse engineering. Reverse engineering is the collection of data from a piece of equipment, object or system through analysis of its geometry, structure, function and operation.
3D scanning can aid reverse engineering in several ways. For example, if the CAD drawings for your item doesn’t exist, what we call legacy equipment, or the data is outdated and no longer represents the actual part, then we can 3D scan your item and reproduce these designs through reverse engineering. Also, this data can be digitised and archived, so if something happened to the original physical item the client has data to fall back on to replace or repair the item.
The use of 3D scanning within reverse engineering can also be used for ‘competitor bench-marking’. This provides the ability to collect data, reverse engineer and simulate the performance of a competitor’s product- “bench-marking”. It must be noted that to prevent infringement of intellectual property it is crucial that the data is only used for analysis.
Lastly, reverse engineering can be used for restoration. If an old historical piece is damaged we can 3D scan the item in order to produce CAD drawings to help reproduce and repair the damaged item. This method was used within the historic wooden roller-coaster restoration project our team supported. Another example is the repair of a large 70-ton gearbox the team helped to bring back on line. In this example a gear lost a tooth in the old gear box. A new part would not mesh back in with the original gears, as it would not have the same rate of wear. Therefore, the team scanned the old broken gears and reproduced manufacturing drawing for a brand new worn part to be manufactured, with the tooth replaced to fit back with the other gears.
3D scanning can also be a valuable quality inspection process. The item produced can be scanned and comparisons made between the item ‘as-designed’ verses ‘as-built’ to determine if the items being produced meet the design specifications set, or if deviation has occurred.