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 peculiar 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

Validating CAD Files for Aerospace Parts

By: Hubert Krempa, Metrologist

In: 3D Scanning Projects| Aerospace

5 Mar 2014

An important player in the Aerospace industry had a pressing need to validate CAD files for a wide range of parts, and decided to borrow our expertise for the job. We accepted without hesitation; we’re always ready to take on new challenges!

The project

This project consisted of parts that were originally only defined as 2D files, and wanted to migrate them to CAD files. There were 2 types of CAD files to validate for each part. The first file type, or set, consisted of older IGES files, and raised a certain number of questions. The second file set, in CATPart, was more recent, but the customer was unable to validate these files. The decision we made was to use the physical parts as a reference, since these had been in production for a while and were considered compliant in every way. In short, the parts were the reference, and the CAD files had to be validated against them.

We chose to use the MetraSCAN in order to obtain a 3D image of each part, and to compare this image with the 2 associated CAD files. Since our laser camera was so fast, we were able to scan a considerable number of parts in a fraction of the time the customer would have needed to do the same work on their CMM. And to make the task even easier, our VXElements software entirely took care of the post-processing and provided .stl files, ready to be aligned and compared to the CAD files. Two reports for each part were then generated and delivered to the customer. The first report contained the results stemming from the comparison between the scan and the IGES file, while the second compared the scan and the CATPart file. From there, the customer could start their own results analysis. The following images respectively show a scan and the comparison results for the same part.

Aerospace part CAD validation by Creaform

This mandate presented several interesting challenges, which we were able to meet successfully

1)      The customer wanted us at their premises, in order to define the project and ensure that the information would be transferred in-person. We learned on the Friday afternoon that we needed to be in Halifax on Monday, with all our equipment and expertise. This required a considerable planning effort in a very short time!

2)      Once we arrived there, we realized how much work actually had to get done. We discussed with the customer to find an appropriate, fast method for validating all these parts. After a few days in Halifax, the customer trusted us enough to ship the parts to our Montreal office, so we could dedicate a whole team of application specialists to the project, in order to speed things up.

3)      Where there’s teamwork, there has to be proper organization. We needed to complete this mandate in a short period of time, which enabled us to practice our teamwork skills and come up with a procedure that could help us meet the planned deadlines. We split the overall task in several sub-tasks, each with a specific owner, and created a project spreadsheet to efficiently monitor the project completion rate.

The different mandates Creaform completes at a national and international level definitely are learning experiences, enabling our employees to develop increasingly stronger expertise. As from the customer perspective, they know that they can count on us to successfully handle any of their projects, big or small, wherever they are in the world!

To learn more about Creaform’s services, you can visit the 3D Engineering Services page.

A world of challenges – The Creaform customers speak a common language

By: Mathieu Desmarais, Applications Specialist, Creaform Metrology Services

In: 3D Hardware| 3D Scanning Projects| 3D Technologies| Oil & Gas| Power Generation| Travel

20 Feb 2014

Recently I was given the opportunity to work for a few of our customers in Europe for a few months, based from our Grenoble office in France. I jumped on the opportunity, feeling that this new assignment would be filled with amazing experiences. From then on, everything went so fast: the first thing I knew, I was on the plane, ready for the new challenges that would arise.

Yet at that point I had not yet envisioned how special this trip would be.  As an Application Specialist working at the Creaform HQ, I mostly travel to the USA and Canada, thus I am used to hopping on planes and I work primarily in English. But in Europe, I was about to visit 5 different countries in 8 weeks, each with their own language, which certainly would be a challenge. However, the major surprise in this multicultural environment was definitely finding out that English was merely a way of expressing the words of a much deeper common “language”: that of the Creaform technologies and metrology principles.

MetraSCAN and MMT, a known solution

As part of every project I would cover in Europe, I would find out how much our customers knew about our technologies and their benefits. TRUaccuracy was a must in the projects I completed in Slovakia, South Africa and Italy, since they were done on shop floors near working machines. TRUportability was also a definitive advantage, since the parts to measure were huge. That was a good thing for me as well, since it was way easier to bring myself as well as the equipment to South Africa than to bring the turbine casing to Europe! Customers knew about that, and because they were so knowledgeable, we were easily able to communicate in that common language, even if some people were struggling in English.

Siemens Turbine Casing 3D Scan by Creaform

Project in South Africa

Different countries, same challenges

My first project as an expat was in eastern Slovakia, for a major power generation company. I had to gather all the data required to recreate two sets of gas turbine blades, including the driving shaft. The challenges there were quite the same ones we face in North America: accuracy, speed, space constraints… When I arrived there, I found out that I had to do my job in a single day, instead of the expected two. Well, thanks to fast and accurate scanning of the MetraSCAN 210, I got it covered in about 16 hours.

Gas Turbine Blades 3D Scan by Creaform

Project in Slovakia

Different people, same reactions

While in Europe, I found that the customers’ reactions to our technologies were very similar to the ones we get in North America. Other than being amazed by the live, fast rendering of 3D scans, I specifically remember the reaction of a customer in Italy. When he asked me where the parts needed to be placed for scanning, I simply told him that he could leave them there on the shop floor. He was surprised and impressed that the Handyscan 3D was so versatile. A definite time saver!

Europe was also an amazing place to learn about different ways of living, since there are so many countries and distinct cultures. It even made me reconsider some of my own ways, as I shared my working habits with others. That is the essence of travelling: understanding that some very trivial parts of your daily routine are peculiar and wonderful to others, and vice-versa! Still, one thing doesn’t change: anywhere we go in the world, we find that people are curious and captivated by our technologies. At Creaform, travelling and meeting with customers constantly remind us that the products we use every day are indeed really impressive and powerful.

To learn more about the scanners used in these projects, you can visit the Handyscan 3D and MetraSCAN 3D product pages.

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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