3D scanning is revolutionizing how businesses design, develop, test and manufacture products. In actual fact, 3D scanning technology can be used during any stage of the manufacturing process to save time, materials and most important, money. 3D scanning directly results in better quality and fitting parts that cost less to manufacture. Industry experts note that typical manufacturing costs can be reduced by 50 to 70 percent through using 3D scanning technology.
The Design Process
Normally, the design process begins when a prototype is created to conceptualize the product idea. This normally involves an industrial technician who creates a foam or clay lead prototype. Similar to 3D printing, 3D scanning allows the project’s team to digitize and experiment with different objects. This is a great way to start the project out right, because all key members of the design team will be able to translate and adjust their product vision with only a few mouse clicks. This is a very efficient and effective way to explore different product conceptualizations.
The Manufacturing Process
After 3D scanning creates a basic approved CAD model, the design team will be able to add details and incorporate other objects into the existing design. For example, a simple piece of equipment will need multiple CAD models to be accurately incorporated into the master design. Being able to digitally perform reverse engineer will ensure that the actual parts fit better on a consistent basis. Thus, these CAD designs will optimize the engineering process.
The Prototype Process
3D scanning can be utilized during the prototype stage in many ways. For example, the best benefit of 3D designing is actually reducing the total amounts most common is actually to reduce the number of prototype design cycles necessary. Therefore, instead of an expensive and time consuming process, a the prototype is actually a single 3D scan data that results in precise measurements that will be used to create a perfect prototype.
The Production Process
When parts are actually being made, 3D scanning can be used to digitally capture changes. This may involve an experienced professional hand crafting, or tooling, the part to make minor adjustments. Through 3D scanning, modifications and optimizations performed by hand can be easily transferred from tool to tool to ensure that all parts are identically manufactured. Furthermore, 3D scanning can also be used to analyze tool wear during the production process.
3D scanning integrates well into quality control programs. For example, regular quality control involves a manufacturing expert who inspects the shape and size of all parts to detect any issues, such as parts that are warped. However, 3D scanning can easily be used in conjunction with a visual inspection, which will result in a highly accurate report created through statistical analysis software. Overall, quality control during the initial design stage will drastically increase the cost effectiveness of the project.
In the end, 3D scanning can be used during every phase of the manufacturing process to improve quality and efficiency, as well as reduce wasted time and money.