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Challenge: Unknown surrounding environment
Replacing headers on a main steam piping system at a power generating facility is challenging. Often, CAD models are no longer available. Therefore, engineers have to design the replacement parts by dealing only with the physical parts. Additionally, headers are often located in very confined, hardly accessible spaces. Then comes the alignment challenge: operators must align the manufactured spherical header with the requisite interface points within tight tolerances on site at the client’s facility. How can these steam piping systems be maintained, how can replacement parts be built, and, finally, how can all of this be done within the allocated time and budget?
Solution: From 3D scans to automatic mesh files to 3D models
Again, a conventional measuring tool is not the solution to make accurate measurements in this context. A higher level of details is required to accurately design the parts that will be attached to the existing product. In order to do so, a complete scan of the outside surface along with detailed scans of every component, whatever their sizes, geometries, and finishes, is needed. Because the use of specific 3D scanning tools can generate mesh files automatically, reverse engineering can start right away in order to convert the scanned data into a detailed 3D model quickly.
Benefit: Reduced product development costs
3D scanning technologies reduce the amount of engineering time spent on completing a project, which enables the manufacturing company to focus more on the part design. Saving this time helps to reduce the costs related to engineering and product development. By adding 3D scanning to the reverse engineering process, the manufacturing company can acquire all the information about the surrounding environment in which the product will operate—not just the fixture area—in order to avoid any interference and to develop a superior product.
“Without the Creaform solutions, it would have been impossible to reach the level of accuracy and the level of details we needed in order to manufacture a new, fully integrated side boom attachment that would allow optimum functionality, visibility, accessibility, serviceability and safety. In addition, the fact that the files were so accurate minimized considerably the amount of modifications we had to apply to the platform," says Doug Garner, Vice President of Engineering at Midwestern.
“The detailed 3D scans and 3D models allow us to accurately design and integrate our side boom attachment onto the existing platform. It also allows us to completely visualize the design before final approval and production. It saves us a lot of time upfront since we don’t have to physically measure and recreate the dozer in CAD. But more importantly, we gain a much higher level of detail and accuracy from the scan – all of which ultimate helps us optimize our design process,” adds Mr. Garner.
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