Imagine getting to work and your boss says: « We no longer need Internet at our desks. From now on, we’ll get what we need from the library. » That may sound absurd, but ask Generation X: They do remember that time when Internet wasn’t part of the normal workflow. (And it is not that long ago!) Technically, it is possible to do without, but working with it makes our lives much simpler, and our work is accomplished much faster. Just like Internet has become an essential tool in our day-to-day tasks, so will 3D scanning in any manufacturing process in a few years from now.

Not just a fad. A long term trend.

This is a trend that Daniel Brown, Creaform’s HandySCAN 3D product manager, has identified over the last years. Being in the 3D scanning industry for close to a decade, Daniel Brown attended this year’s International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, IL., to educate people about 3D scanning technologies.

Creaform’s HandySCAN 3D Scanner at IMTS 2014 in Chicago, IL.

Daniel Brown (on the right), Creaform’s HandySCAN 3D product manager, at IMTS 2014 in Chicago, IL.

« The manufacturing world realizes that sooner or later, 3D scanning will have to become one of the standard steps in the manufacturing of their product. Funny to think that a few years ago, 3D scanning was still the new weird thing that you observe from a distance, like a kind of witchcraft! » Now, people are educated and many types of industries have integrated 3D to their product development process. The automotive, aerospace and heavy industries are only a few. In the last years, 3D has also become an essential tool for the assessment of pipeline corrosion and mechanical damage or for hail damage on aircrafts.

From the reverse engineering of parts in the designing process to the inspection on the production line, 3D solutions add accuracy and simplicity to the whole process.

Reverse-engineering-creaform-3d-scanner

Reverse engineering can be used in the designing process of dies, molds, fixtures, jigs and patterns. It can apply to a wide range of fields and industries, going from the automotive to museology and heritage preservation.

The biggest gain for manufacturers is that time to market has been considerably reduced, making it a major inconvenient for manufacturers that don’t integrate such a technology. In other words: You don’t plan on making the big leap? You’re out.

IMTS 2014: The pulse of the manufacturing industry across the globe

Understanding the importance of 3D scanning is one thing. Educating the crowd and keeping the industry in the loop is the next step. This is why Creaform attended IMTS in September, a major venue for manufacturers across the globe. Leading show of its kind in America, IMTS has brought together a little over 114,000 visitors this year. Over 2,000 exhibitors displayed their products and productivity solutions at McCormick Place in Chicago, covering 1.2 million net square feet of show floor. For Creaform, and as a major league player in the metrology industry, this is a no brainer: attending this venue is essential to get the pulse of the manufacturing industry and to to provide the visitors with educational content about 3D metrology solutions.

IMTS - Creaform - 3D Scanner - 3D model

The crowd, much more educated about 3D scanning, is still in awe with how simple it is to produce a highly accurate 3D model in just about no time.

According to Stéphane Auclair, Vice-President, Marketing, Creaform has built a solid credibility over the years: « When our company launched its first handheld 3D scanner in 2005, we had a very disruptive and different approach to 3D scanning and therefore felt we had to scream to make ourselves heard. But now that we have a place of among the other big players in the industry, people are looking for us. We come through the main entrance with great confidence, and we’re proud to refer to ourselves as a 3D metrology solution company that provides its clients with highly performant, portable and easy-to-use 3D scanners and software! »

Creaform’s new 3D products’ performance: Outrageous? Most definitely!

Nowadays, the demand is oriented toward automated scanning solutions ─ robot-mounted scanning solutions, for example. The latter allows a repetitive inspection of the parts directly on the production lines. Accordingly, the market is evolving to respond to that demand and so is Creaform, with his MetraSCAN-R. This specific market has already lots to offer and will evolve and grow over the years, along with scanning technologies that will also gain accuracy and speed! Thanks to its TRUaccuracy technologies that allow to measure parts with high accuracy regardless of the conditions of the environment or of the precision of the robots, Creaform is without any doubt very well positioned.

HandySCAN 3D TRUportability

3D scanning technology reduces costs and speeds up product development with new technology advancements. As the 3D scanning technologies improves just as fast as the demand grows, R&D webzine analyzes this cutting-edge innovative technology and its outstanding achievements. Daniel Brown, HandySCAN 3D product manager at Creaform opens the door on the evolving world of 3D.

Environmental topics and issues are becoming more present, both in the day-to-day life and in the industrial realm. Increasing efforts are being made towards a “green shift,” whether for new technologies or optimizations made to existing ones. The project we carried out at the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) in the US is a good example of that new paradigm. Siemens, one of the world’s largest providers of products, solutions and services in the energy technology field, asked us to complete a quite unique mandate.

 

The project

This project consisted in scanning sections of the blade from a wind turbine, which was about 53 meters long. We additionally had to scan the position of 250 sensors measuring pressure and speed, distributed all along the blade. Data from this project was used for Computational Fluid Dynamics purposes. We used the MetraSCAN 3D, in order to obtain the 3D image from the blade sections, and the HandyPROBE, in order to obtain the sensor’s 3D position.

Siemens Project
 

The challenges

The mandate came with several challenges, which our teams of technical experts all very efficiently solved.

Scanning a large-scale object such as this one requires several steps, including the creation of a precise referential. Using a laser tracker was necessary for this project, in order to link both sides of the blade and maintain sufficient precision across the 53 meters. To do so, we distributed reference points (nests) on the part and recorded their position with the tracker. Then, we placed reflective targets on the nests, viewed by the C-Track, and we imported the .txt file including the center position of the tracker in VXelements. The software recognizes these positions, and our scans are then automatically linked into a global reference, offering the accuracy of the laser tracker.

Siemens Challenges

The need for renewable energy is ever increasing, and we hope to work on many other such projects. This way, Creaform will be able to contribute to a larger environmental effort, and help engineers and designers to create and manufacture more efficient green equipment.

 

Quality Digest Live’s recent Tech Corner presented an excellent overview of the Go!SCAN 20, our new next-generation white-light scanner for designers and engineers that work in product development. Now available in color!

Want to learn more? View Dirk Duscharme’s product highlight here. Another great job by to Dirk and the entire Quality Digest Live team!

The Creaform team gives a great overview of reverse engineering in this month’s issue of Quality Magazine. If you are looking to learn more about the history, methods, workflows and applications of reverse engineering, this article is for you!

Quality magazine extract: Reverse Engineering

Nova Bus recently needed to inspect the actual state of a vehicle rear chassis and compare it to the mounting points of the radiator. The ultimate goal? Assessing the extent of deformations the chassis underwent during installation. Find out how the HandyPROBE and MetraSCAN 70 helped Nova Bus get the measurements they needed-right on the production floor!

Extract Quality Magazine

Quality Digest Live’s recent Tech Corner profiled our metrology-grade, ultra-fast HandySCAN 700. With its 0.03 mm accuracy and ability to collect 480 000 per second, the HandySCAN 700 scans direct to mesh, without the need of any point clouds—you can just scan something and it’s done. Check out Dirk Duscharme’s compelling product feature and demo here. A great thanks to Dirk and the entire Quality Digest Live team!

Check out this YouTube video filmed during a recent press conference in Detroit:

Organized by SME, a manufacturers’ association, the press conference aimed at introducing two important upcoming events : Rapid, and The Big M. Both taking place at the Cobo center in Motown between June 9 and 12, these events sound very promising for anyone interested in cutting-edge technology.

For the occasion, an interesting stunt was performed by our Michigan-based reseller, CamLogic: the Spirit of Detroit, the iconic statue representing the city, was scanned live during the conference! The goal was to obtain a model of the statue, then use it to 3D print miniature versions.

Showcasing the possibilities of both 3D scanning and 3D printing for the manufacturing industry, some of these statuettes made out of different materials (nylon, ABS plastic, metal) will be presented at Rapid and The Big M.

The statue was scanned using our HandySCAN 700. We can’t wait to receive our very own version of the 3D printed Spirit of Detroit!

When it comes to cars, what comes to mind when you think about Sweden is mostly the good old, reliable, sensible Volvo. But are the exciting, luxury, sporty vehicles only reserved to the fiery Italians or car-obsessed Germans? Not quite. Meet Christian von Koenigsegg, the Swede who founded Koenigsegg Automotive.

Koenigsegg One

Since he was a little boy, Christian had a vision: to produce the ultimate, most perfect super car, which he calls “hypercars”. Creating his company at the tender age of 22, he finally carried out this mission in 2002, when he began producing the CC8 model. Even today, Koenigsegg cars often find themselves breaking speed records and are highly acclaimed among experts and connoisseurs alike.

The company still makes their cars to order, each one a sleek, handcrafted machine of speed and performance. The average price of these beauties? About $1 million each.

Through the process of designing and perfecting these engineering marvels, it comes as no surprise that Koenigsegg is always seeking to leverage the best technologies available. In this video, you can see Christian discuss how 3D scanning and 3D printing is used within the state-of-the-art car manufacturer’s workflow.

(Featuring Creaform HandySCAN 3D, which makes a guest appearance at 1min. 45sec.!)

As application engineers at Creaform, we were invited to take part in an interesting mandate in the United Kingdom, more precisely at the Birchwood head office of ESR Technology near Warrington.

HOIS is an international joint industry project between oil & gas companies and their inspection vendors. HOIS aims to be the prime industry forum for discussing inspection issues and developing and exploiting new or improved inspection technology. Thus, we were there to evaluate the Creaform technology as part of a specific project.

The project

The project consisted in finding more effective methods and equipment to improve the inspection of corrosion found inside a specific vessel. The cylindrical pressure vessel was 2 m (about 6.5ft) in diameter and almost 6 m (about 19.4ft) long. Substantial corrosion had accumulated inside during its years of service. The corrosion was covering almost the entire inferior half. We suggested using the Pipecheck solution along with Creaform 3D scanning technology, to benefit from the Pipecheck expertise in oil & gas Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) applications.

A project about measuing corrosion in a cylindrical vessel

The challenges

There were several challenges: first, the confined space, and the higher risks associated with it. Second, a large area to inspect, with corrosion spread throughout the entire surface instead of being localized. To carry on the task, we planned 2 days, in case we encounter unexpected situations.

Since security is always the first priority, prior to the travel we had gone through training about confined spaces, to be aware of the dangers related to this type of work, and to learn about taking appropriate measures to minimize the risks. While working, we also wore all the required personal protection equipment, from steel toe boots to a hard hat!

The work was conducted with the Creaform Pipecheck solution and the Handyscan 3D scanner. Thanks to the unique Creaform TRUaccuracy technology, we were able to accurately scan the entire inferior surface even with the vibrations generated by moving inside the tank.

Using the MaxSHOT 3D additionally enabled us to increase the volumetric accuracy of the Handyscan 3D over large parts. This optional procedure is only required to measure geometrical deformations with very high accuracy on a large object.

Corrosion measurement project conducted with the Creaform Pipecheck solution and the Handyscan 3D scanner

The execution

We started the work by placing the positioning targets to cover the corroded area, then placed the coded targets required by the MaxSHOT 3D. Using the feedback of the VXelements VXshot module, we captured various shots with the MaxSHOT 3D from different point of views and obtained a highly accurate 3D model of the positioning targets. With that 3D model acquired, we were ready to scan.

At this stage the rugged field pack was very handy! Instead of bringing all the equipment (computer, power supply, mouse, etc.) inside the pressure vessel, we only went in with the Handyscan 3D and the wireless tablet, each with their own magnetic stands. We performed the scan with a 1mm resolution, in 16 different sessions. After the scan was completed, we used Pipecheck to merge all sessions into one larger scan, making it possible to analyse the various sections altogether. Pipecheck automatically measured material loss depth over the entire surface, checked the proximity between corrosion for interaction and evaluated burst pressure (code complying with ASME B31G), all in one click. The generation of a complete Excel report was just another click away.

In the end, since no unexpected situations occurred and there were still some time left, we were able to cover more than twice the surface required. The required area would have been done within a single day… Whereas with the traditional pit gauge method, just the 1-inch gridding would have taken at least a day, after which the deepest point in all of the 43 000 squares would have had to be found and manually measured! And after that, another lengthy step: the complex analysis of applying the interaction rule, finding the worst case profile of the depth for each corroded area and calculating burst pressure.

In conclusion, the Pipecheck solution proved to be a huge improvement over other traditional Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) techniques such as the pit gauge for corrosion inspection on pressurized components. It can drastically reduce the inspection time with highly repeatable and accurate results (50 microns).

We were glad to have the right tools for the job, and to be able to do it well and as quickly as possible, because as much as we appreciate the experience of working in confined spaces, the less time spend in the pressure vessel, the better!

To learn more about Pipecheck , the software platform addressing both corrosion and mechanical damage assessment, you can visit Pipecheck’s product page.

Corrosion 3D Model - Creaform's Pipecheck Software

About this blog

This blog is definitely about innovation - about new technologies, new methodologies, new projects and new outcomes.

Through this blog, we will reach to the whole Creaform community and share info about the 3D world – our world.

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