New 3D scanners help Ålö Agricultural Machinery analyze a loader’s part dimensions and deviations

Ålö Agricultural Machinery (Ningbo) Co., Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ålö, is a leading manufacturer of loaders and implements for agricultural tractors. With production facilities in four countries and customers in over 50, Ålö holds approximately 30% of the world market for tractor loaders exceeding 50 hp. Since 2020, the company has been part of the JOST Group, a renowned manufacturer of safety-critical systems for commercial vehicles.

JOST agricultural machinery

Ålö has been part of the JOST Group since 2020

Traditional 3D measurements no longer offered the right level of performance

Ålö Agricultural Machinery (Ningbo) needed a reliable and efficient solution for conducting detailed 3D scanning of its machinery, particularly focusing on the primary machine and mechanical parts. The goal was to analyze the loader’s manufactured parts’ dimensions and deviations.

The existing measurement methods, manual or using a coordinate measuring machine (CMM), were inadequate and inefficient due to the size of the parts, which could not be moved easily, and the tight tolerances on dimensional accuracy.

Attempts to use an articulated arm scanner presented other challenges, including on-site vibrations that compromised accuracy too much and the range limitations of the articulated arm. Therefore, operators had to constantly reposition the articulated arm, which negatively impacted the acquisition time. Another factor that bogged down the process was the slow scanning speed, as the arm was limited to only two scan laser lines.

3D scanning agricultural machinery

Creaform’s MetraSCAN 3D is used to assess deformations in Ålö’s agricultural machinery

MetraSCAN 3D scanner: Improved efficiency across the board

Creaform stepped in with its MetraSCAN  3D scanner, coupled with Polyworks software. This solution was demonstrated on-site, scanning a front loader with dimensions of 3 m X 2 m X 1.2 m. The primary application was 3D deviation comparison.

The scanned data was aligned with the digital theoretical CAD model, and a 3D analysis was performed to generate a deformation colormap. The colour scale was customized to pinpoint major deformations, and some annotations were added at specific critical areas.

3D scanning colormap

Generating a colormap of an agricultural loader

The 3D scanner offered a distinct advantage over previous methods. With its 30 blue laser lines and capability to achieve up to 1,800,000 measurements per second, the MetraSCAN 3D scanner was fast and portable, making it a great fit for the inspection of large mechanical parts. The scanning process took just 30 minutes, significantly improving inspection times over previous methods.

With Creaform’s metrology solution, Ålö’ Agricultural Machinery (Ningbo) can now carry out statistical process control (SPC) analyses for the same batch of products all at once, resulting in substantial time and effort savings. These analyses will help the company better control its production methods. Moreover, the MetraSCAN 3D portability and ease of use allow it to be operated anywhere on the site by anyone, offering an efficient and effective solution for the inspection requirements of large mechanical parts.

Article written by Creaform

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