The MetraSCAN 3D for automotive applications: 3D scanning right on the shop floor!

A major automotive manufacturer asked Creaform to 3D scan robot hands on their production line. This kind of tooling is used to manipulate embossed sheet metal that will be used for the vehicles under construction. These robot hands are all hand-tuned, because it is very difficult to predict the final shape of embossed sheet metal and know in advance if the robot will have a good grip on it. So, the client actually had 2 goals in mind with this project:

1)     Update design drawings;

2)     Use acquired data to get a better understanding and improve tooling design.

Project Challenges

Some challenges awaited us: first, the client wanted to measure with very high accuracy the contact points between the tool and the part, and these are pretty small points. Plus, we had to deal with the very tight space of manufacturing cells, which are pretty crowded on the production line of a car manufacturer! For the sake of the project, we scanned during a temporary shutdown of the production line. We had access to the parts on a periodic basis, and we had to be fast.

Rotating Weld Jig

3D scanning in highly-vibrating environments

Given the level of vibrations in the work environment, the number of parts to scan and the short period of time we had to do it, the accuracy required and the difficulty to reach the areas to be scanned, we had to use a system that would be accurate, fast, easy to set up and portable! A great challenge for the MetraSCAN 210 and the TRUaccuracy, TRUsimplicity and TRUportability concepts!

Working in no time!

Our access to the assembly line was extremely limited: we could only access the site for 16 hours total. The time window was so narrow that 4 applications engineers were needed to complete the work in time. But once the word was out that the manufacturing plant was in Barcelona, in Spain, finding volunteers became a piece of cake!

Having the chance to travel to various countries for work brings its share of surprises and challenges. In this case, we faced a major language barrier. Some of us could get by in Spanish, but Barcelonians most widely use Catalan as their primary language!


Despite some communications issues, the scanning part went very well. The fact that we were able to set up the C-Track far from the bulk of the equipment made it easier to scan the parts with the MetraSCAN 210 scanner. This scanner also facilitates and speeds up the scanning process because of its greater stand-off (compared to the Handyscan 3D scanners), while keeping steady data accuracy at all times.

Article written by Creaform

Comments about this article

Jose Maria

Good job. Of course if you need help with the lenguaje call to your spanish distributor AsorCAD. We will help you in wathever you need.


How different it was from "welding fixture" scan, for a sheet metal component too. Seems exactly the same from the pic in the article. What i infer as Robotic Arm is "Pneumatic Clamps" that grip the sheet metal part resting on the "Mylors" (resting pads metal/Nylon)

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