October 6, 2021Harnessing the speed, versatility and accuracy of 3D scanning for the additive manufacturing of metal parts See the article
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.
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.
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.