3D Scanning for Reverse Engineering of Products and Factory Layouts

Oct 28, 2016 -- The use of 3D scanning is significant, specifically by product design engineers who are in need of speeding up the product development process. However, 3D scanning is also being utilized widely to scan factory layouts and operations, in order to take informed decisions during renovating the plant or building a new layout altogether. Thus, 3D scanning is mainly used to reverse engineer part, process or plant, and it involves capturing the geometrical information and recreating a digital model out of it, while maintaining dimensional accuracy.

3D Scanning for Product Design

There are many techniques available to scan the object including laser scanning, CMM, industrial CT scanning and more. The raw scanned data obtained through any of these techniques is then converted to a more usable format using CAD tools. And to do this, engineers require making use of reverse engineering software along with the scanning equipment. In most cases, reverse engineering is employed where no design information, drawings or CAD data is available. It is thus extremely useful to recreate spare parts, worn or damaged parts and study competitor products to identify possible opportunities in develop a better product for the customers.

The CAD data obtained through reverse engineering is also utilized by quality departments to check and compare the virtual model with the physical product for dimensional accuracy. It is particularly useful to validate complex geometries, damaged tooling or studying the build quality of assemblies such as checking fit, gaps and alignment. Once the CAD model is developed, it can be utilized across the development and manufacturing processes, which can help businesses in gaining better returns on investment.

Case study: Reverse engineering for automotive parts

For one of our automotive OEM client, we delivered accurate manufacturing ready 3D CAD model and manufacturing drawing for an obsolete crankshaft design. Through laser scanning, we re-created a detailed solid model of the crankshaft geometry.

Reverse Engineered Crankshaft Model for Vintage Cars

It allowed the client to re-manufacture the part whose inventory was exhausted and no design information was available. The 3D model further allowed the design engineers to evaluate the design and perform modifications to improve the useful life of the crankshaft meant to be utilized for vintage cars.

3D Scanning for Factory Layouts

The use of 3D scanning is also significant in capturing and recreating factory layouts virtually. One of the main benefits of this is it enables stakeholders to properly plan the production processes, including placement of machines, space requirement for maintenance and evaluate ergonomics for human comfort while working in the factory. Moreover, it becomes easier to plan out robotics and automation through digital tools before actually installing them in the plant. The availability of a 3D virtual model of the plant or factory layout allows owners to recreate similar facilities at different locations, by simply extracting drawings and installation information from the 3D CAD models.

Case Study: Reverse engineering for a recycling plant

At Hi-Tech, we provided reverse engineering services to recover design information of a recycling plant in Europe. With 3D scanning and manual measurements, the entire plant layout was converted in 3D models and drawings.

Reverse Engineering of a Recycling Plant Utilizing SOLIDWORKS

The digital, well-documented information of the plant provided crucial design information of obsolete machineries that were required to be re-manufactured. It further enabled the client to perform required changes in the plant layout virtually, before revamping the actual layout.

About Author:

Kashyap Vyas is an Engineer at Hi-Tech CADD Services - CAD Design and holds a Master’s degree in Thermal Engineering with several research papers to his credit. He covers CAD and CAE topics for the engineering industry. His contributions are primarily focused on encouraging manufacturers and suppliers to adopt virtual product development tools to build efficient products with reduced time-to-market.

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