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How 3D Engineering Design Services Are Used for the Olympics

The ENVSN and Creaform sail toward Rio 2016!

Creaform has been offering 3D engineering services globally for over 10 years. We’ve acquired a strong expertise in inspection, 3D scanning, reverse engineering, mechanical engineering, and design as well as in finite element analysis. The turnkey projects are carried out either on location, or in Creaform labs.

The École Nationale de Voile et des Sports Nautiques (ENVSN) is a sailing and nautical school located in the small village of Saint-Pierre-Quiberon, Brittany, France. It recently asked Creaform to provide 3D engineering services to perform several measurements. The ENVSN took part in a project aiming to develop a mast for the Finn Olympic series, to be used for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The project first included assessing existing masts, so several of them had to be selected, tested and measured. Mechanical tests were performed in order to uncover the deformation of a mast when exposed to tension, and shape measurements were additionally made.

These surface measurements were performed with the Creaform MetraSCAN 3D optical CMM and the optical coordinate measuring system MaxSHOT 3D. Mast sections from different heights were extracted from the data, and then compared with one another. These geometrical and mechanical data as a whole were inputted in mechanics of fluids and structure calculation software, which, in turn, was used to optimize the shape of a mast for a precise range of wind force.

The ENVSN and Creaform sail toward Rio 2016!“The masts we needed to measure were very long (almost 7 meters long for a width between 3 and 10 cm), and Creaform really helped us in performing all of these measurements,” explained Mr. Paul Iachkine, a research engineer at the ENVSN. “In order to achieve the precision we wanted, we referenced the positioning targets through photogrammetry, with the help of the MaxSHOT 3D”.

“We’ve been using the Creaform portable armless CMM HandyPROBE since mid-2012, to assist us in measuring geometrical entities. We are currently modernizing our measurement tools, by integrating the HandyPROBE to measure part deformation. This system is used with the PolyWorks Inspector software, made by Innovmetric. For surface measurements, we also purchased the optical CMM MetraSCAN 3D, which we also couple with PolyWorks. The two tools are complementary, and can be used simultaneously. Before we had the HandyPROBE, we used very rudimentary techniques, such as templates, depth gauges, and shims, which meant very few measurement points. In fact, it was more like conformity control than it was actual measurements.”

The Creaform measurement systems have many applications within the ENVSN:

  • Measuring hull or float shapes (sailing, kite surfing, surf, kayak, rowboat…), but also appendages (centerboards, skegs, rudders) or rigging (masts, spinnaker poles, booms). Creating and updating a database on these different parts.
  • Controlling the symmetry on hulls and floats (sailing, kite surfing, surf, kayak, rowboat) …
  • Assessing the distance between certain reference points. Controlling sections or profiles.
  • Using this measurement process to automate current mechanical tests (masts, sails).

In high-level sport, and especially in nautical sports, knowing your material well is key to achieving good performance. The ENVSN had been using mechanical tests to evaluate its material, but lacked a precise and accurate measurement system to assess the geometry of all the elements comprised in a competitive boat. The School was looking for a process that was all at once simple to carry out and calibrate, portable, suitable for a hangar work environment, and which allowed moving the part to be measured without the need to recalibrate (dynamic referencing).

“Acquiring a MetraSCAN 3D was an important investment for our school, but it also represents a whole new technological level, which opens up so many 3D scanning opportunities for us. Today, our main client is the French Olympic Sailing Team, but our goal is to attract other nautical federations through this technology, and to make the ENVSN a global, mandatory step for Olympic preparation in years to come,” Mr. Iachkine added.

“One of the greatest benefits of working with Creaform is how the company has dual activities: providing the technology solutions, and performing the 3D engineering projects. This enabled us to target the material investment to the applications we would need most often, and then either ask for their services or rent additional material for more specific applications, while still being able to use our own tools. The diversity of projects carried out by Creaform engineers is so wide, that they can suggest technical solutions that are truly relevant for our own measurement needs and issues.”

About the École Nationale de Voile et des Sports Nautiques

This public institution managed by the French Health and Sports Ministry has gone through very important changes since its opening in 1970.

The school was founded in 1965 by Maurice Herzog, then the High Commissioner for Youth and Sports, and opened its doors five years later. Back then, its mission was to train Youth and Sports executives and sailing instructors, as well as to host French Sailing teams. Once State diplomas were created for sailing instructors and as the profession evolved over time, the École Nationale de Voile became increasingly involved in educational experimentations as well as in the thought process regarding teaching, while still training sports teachers.

Gradually, its mission shifted toward expertise, research, training and innovation. In July 2007, its competence was further broadened and the ENVSN was born, in order to assist professionals. The ambition of the school is to become a permanent partner of the nautical world.