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Reality Capture

Handheld 3D Scanning Helps with Every Phase of Product Lifecycle, Creaform Says

30 Jul, 2019 By: Cadalyst Staff

Maker of the new Go!SCAN SPARK and HandySCAN BLACK portable scanners advocates applying the technology throughout product conception, design, manufacturing, and servicing.


When it comes to product development applications, some CAD users associate 3D scanning with reverse engineering — and they think the potential benefits stop there. Not so, says measurement technology company Creaform. The technology has a role to play in the concept, design, manufacturing, and servicing stages of a product development lifecycle, the company asserts. “A 3D scanner gives you critical information quickly, to make clear decisions during all different steps,” said Simon Côté, a product manager at Creaform, in a webinar titled “Accelerate Your Time-to-Market with 3D Scanning.”

Use of 3D scanning technology to shorten development time and downtime, reduce the number of design iterations, and facilitate speedy tooling creation is increasingly important as time-to-market pressures grow, explained Mathieu Desmarais, technical product manager at Creaform. “Over the last few years, manufacturing and engineering professionals have seen their quality standards rise and their needs change,” he observed, pointing out that they have to design more complex parts in order to stay competitive, but have less time to perform measurements and quality control.

Stages and Tools

Concept. The first stage of a product lifecycle, “where we develop new and crazy concepts, [is] a very important step because you define the requirement and specification of the future product … 3D scanning enables designers to start with reliable measurements that they can trust,” said Côté. “During the concept [stage], 3D scanning is very useful to perform the environment and competitive product analysis,” such as mounting point or clearance information, he noted. Desmarais presented the environmental example of a side boom for heavy machinery: “Without the CAD file available, the surrounding environment [of the boom] is unknown, [but scanning accelerates] a process that would be otherwise lengthy using a traditional measurement tool.”

Desmarais also discussed designing aftermarket car parts and accessories without access to the CAD files for the car. “With 3D scanning,” said Côté, “you can take any physical object and bring it into any CAD environment, to help with modeling or optimizing the concept.”

Design. “When designing a prototype,” said Desmarais, “it is wise to make a first model in order to hold it and try it, as the physical reality is often different from the CAD design.” Then, when designers make changes on the prototype itself, scanning enables them to import those changes back into the CAD model. “During design, 3D scanning is essential to keep the CAD file up to date after making modification on the physical prototype,” Côté said. It’s also useful for quick verification or inspection of the prototype itself, he explained.

Creaform launched the Go!SCAN SPARK portable 3D scanner, the third-generation version of its Go!SCAN 3D, earlier this year. The new model is “designed to meet the requirements of engineer or technician working mostly in the concept and design phases,” said Côté. “Most designers or engineers are not expert in 3D scanning, since most of the PLM process is driven in a CAD environment. This means that 3D scanning needs to be as simple and as fast as possible, without compromising the scan quality.”


At 1.5 million measurements per second, the Go!SCAN SPARK collects three times more measurements per second than the previous generation, Creaform says. Image source: Creaform.

Manufacturing. When the product moves to manufacturing, 3D scanning can help users design and check jigs and tooling, as well as ensure consistent production quality by comparing scan data of a finished product with the CAD model. “Since it can be used directly on the production floor, it can detect manufacturing problems quickly,” Côté said. “If defects are detected, they can correct the tooling according to the measurements extracted with the scanner.”

Creaform launched the HandySCAN BLACK, the third-generation version of its metrology-grade handheld scanner, this year as well. With accuracy of .025 mm and the ability to scan any material or type of surface, HandySCAN BLACK is well suited to quality control applications but also represents “one device for projects from a small gear to a full vehicle cabin, in and out," said Côté. "It's designed for our most demanding manufacturing customer,” he said.

Servicing. After the product is put into use, 3D scanning can document part wear to identify or predict the need for repairs. Users can also reverse-engineer parts that are no longer available, creating CAD models for a new production run.

Ultimately, 3D scanning technology delivers “a faster process and a better product at the end, that will stand out from the competition,” said Côté.


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