How does the automotive industry utilize 3D scanning?

2022.5.23

Due to the tremendous growth of the automobile business in recent years, numerous brand manufacturers now strive for superiority, and a vast industrial chain has been developed. And buyers are paying more attention to the structure, quality, and design of automobiles. To increase the competitiveness of their own products, vehicle manufacturers are inventing and designing avant-garde, innovative, pleasant, and convenient automobile models that may satisfy mass demand.

In recent years, 3D scanning technology has become pervasive in the automotive sector, and its use spans the whole factory life cycle.

 

1. In the early stages of manufacturing, reverse engineering can be utilized to assess competitive products, research competing products and their components for R&D design, create virtual models, and model conversions.

 

2. During the design phase, reverse design, shape analysis, etc., can be performed, and virtual design can be performed in software to reduce the consumption of raw materials.

 

3. During the production stage, the size of the product in production may be identified, and the product can be scanned by a 3D scanner and compared with the original data, so that errors can be viewed more intuitively and product quality can be ensured to the fullest extent possible.

 

4. Parts wear analysis and sophisticated assembly and disassembly video data can be given during the maintenance phase.


Automotive 3D Scanning: Applications, Hardware, and Software

3D scanning is the technique of acquiring three-dimensional data (including shape, appearance, color, and texture) from an object using lasers or structured light.


How does the automotive industry utilize 3D scanning?

Companies in the automotive industry utilize 3D scanning for reverse engineering, quality control, inspection, and new product development.

Reverse Engineering


Reverse engineering is the creation of a CAD model from a physical component. This is typically used in the automobile industry for legacy components and tools for vehicles that are no longer in production. Historically, this process required manual measurement, typically with huge CMM equipment and frequently with hand tools as well. 3D scanning provides a digital replica of the thing, allowing software tools to perform the measurement.

When a manufacturer needs to remanufacture a historic part, they simply 3D scan the part, with the resulting 3D mesh retaining the topology’s physical data. Reverse engineering software tools transform this information into native CAD surfaces or solid bodies based on properly dimensioned sketches and features. The designer may then make aesthetic or performance-based modifications to the original design.


Quality Assurance and Auditing


The dimensions of manufactured parts are measured by quality control processes to determine whether or not they meet the required quality criteria. Inspecting for quality assurance aids in preventing manufacturing errors and ensuring that customers obtain error-free products. Utilizing scanning inspection software, a business can develop a First Article Inspection (FAI) report using 3D scanned data to inspect the quality of a component.

Moreover, scanned data can be utilized for in-process inspection. A cut surface, for instance, can be scanned in-situ (without removing the product from the CNC machine), verified for accuracy in inspection software, and modified as necessary before the operator moves on to the next operation.

Deformation analyses can also be conducted on tools and wear-items.

The scanned data can be compared to the original CAD to determine where deformations exist and utilized to confirm the tool’s lifespan, inform design improvement for future tools, or schedule necessary repairs. Additionally, scan-to-inspection software produces color maps and reports to aid with data analysis.


Innovation in Product Development


There are a number of phases in the product development procedure. Regardless of size, 3D scanning may be utilized to manufacture objects with complex, organic shapes and geometries. For companies that manufacture aftermarket automotive components, 3D scanned data is used to find holes, verify clearances, and accurately match the design of a part to a specific location of a vehicle. The scanned data can also be utilized to make painting and welding jigs and fittings.