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The real value in-house 3D scanning capabilities

Recently, a UK-based foundry was looking for a solution that would improve its rapid prototyping workflow and also provide enhanced quality control and inspection reports for customers. Additionally, the new solution was also required to aid reverse engineering and product inspection to ensure conformity with the original CAD designs.

For years Newby Foundries Group had been using an external resource for its 3D scanning inspection and validation needs. The foundry produces and supplies high-quality lost-wax and sand castings in ferrous and non-ferrous materials, predominantly automotive components, for which lead times are very short, alongside products found in the hydraulic, marine, petrochemical, and rail industries.

“When we got in touch with T3DMC we had some knowledge of 3D scanning, as we were using external scanning services for gathering our data and overlaying it onto 3D CAD models”, said Raj Sidhu, rapid prototype design engineer at Newby Foundries. “The issue we had was that the parts we need scanning on a daily basis range in shape and size from a few centimetres to a couple of metres long, so transporting them to and from the 3D scanning contractor was quite difficult at times. In addition, this process took time, which delayed our production schedules.”

Realising that perhaps things could be simplified if they had their own 3D scanner, Sidhu contacted T3DMC, who offered a free onsite demonstration. After looking at different scanning systems available on the market, the AXE handheld scanner was chosen for its versatility and reliability. Portable, lightweight and cost-effective, the AXE boasts a powerful integrated photogrammetry system that delivers improved volumetric accuracy of 0.020mm/m and absolute accuracy of 0.020mm whilst removing the need for additional devices or accessories. The AXE offers fast, accurate and detailed 3D surface data gathering of complex geometries, effortlessly capturing even the most uncooperative surfaces often found on fully machined components, making it perfectly suited to quality and design engineering projects from development to production.

“The key factors that influenced our decision were quality of data, and flexibility – which was enabled by the photogrammetry capabilities built into the handheld 3D scanner which allow us to scan small and large parts alike”, Sidhu explains. “But perhaps the greatest benefit we derived from using the AXE was that it allowed us to considerably shorten lead times through quicker and more reliable validation. If in the past we needed two weeks to turn around a typical component, now it only takes four days from concept to completion, which gives us a clear competitive advantage. In addition to saving time, the system has also minimised our spend on external 3D scanning services – so much so that it has paid for itself in just one year!”

Further added value was provided by the creation of detailed inspection reports explaining variations and giving optimisation recommendations relating to specific components and production processes. Quality control and inspection documentation are also created automatically, saving many hours of tedious manual work. The T3DMC team is keen to talk to others who are looking at bringing 3D scanning capabilities in-house and delivering quicker and more accurate components to customers. They will take the time to understand processes and provide a solution to save time and money and optimise a foundry’s route to market, delivering that competitive advantage!

Contact: The 3D Measurement Company (T3DMC) Ltd, Tel: +44 (0) 1746 762251, web: www.t3dmc.com