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How 3D Scanning Accelerates the Design and Development of Cars and Motorcycles

The MetraSCAN 3D simplifies the design and development process for Japanese automotive and motorcycle manufacturers

PHIARO CORPORATION, founded in 1939, is a Japanese design development company that offers end-to-end styling, engineering, modeling, prototyping and small lot production to Japanese automobile and motorcycle manufacturers. PHIARO CORPORATION is renowned for being an early adopter of new technologies: the company began integrating CAD/CAM technologies in the 1970s—much earlier than others in the industry. Today, with over 250 employees, the company offers its services through offices and factories in Japan, China and California. PHIARO CORPORATION’s Corporate Officer and General Manager of its Design Development Division, Kengo Sakata, explained that his team began using Creaform’s optical CMM MetraSCAN 3D in 2010. In fact, the company was one of the first in Japan to adopt Creaform’s MetraSCAN 3D!

Getting clay model measurements just right—and ensuring accurate data acquisition for CAD files

Mr. Sakata explained that, back in 2010, the decision was made to acquire a new type of scanner. The reason? The existing scanners the company used required a dedicated and highly experienced staff to operate them. If certain staff members were away for the day or week, operations were actually significantly delayed. PHIARO CORPORATION wanted a new 3D scanner that was easy to use—by almost anyone in the company.  Although Creaform was just beginning to make inroads into Japan at the time, PHIARO CORPORATION selected Creaform not only for its advanced technology but also as an advantage versus its competitors in the Japanese market. What particularly attracted PHIARO CORPORATION to the MetraSCAN 3D was that it was arm-free: a handheld 3D scanner makes it very easy and intuitive for users of all levels to measure target objects—almost as though they were “spraying” something. Users can therefore keep their attention on more value-added tasks rather than the measurement and data acquisition itself.

According to Mr. Sakata, the MetraSCAN 3D is used primarily for clay model measuring and surface data acquisition, providing highly accurate results that are transferred into CAD data. Both design and engineering teams use the MetraSCAN 3D to ensure seamless communication with each other throughout the entire process, greatly streamlining productivity and eliminating costly errors. The MetraSCAN 3D is also particularly handy for scanning complicated forms, such as car interiors and motorcycles. An added benefit? The MetraSCAN 3D can be used in bright environments and can withstand vibrations in production environments, providing the ultimate flexibility in 3D scanning.

For products other than vehicles, PHIARO CORPORATION uses the MetraSCAN 3D to analyze metal strength (distortion and rigidity) and scanning the internal parts of robots or equipment to verify interferences with outside covers. Finally, the company has also been able to create and archive data from old products for which the drawings are no longer available—an easy and fast approach to conserving valuable product information.

The bottom line

When asked what the top benefits of the MetraSCAN 3D were, Mr. Sakata answered: productivity and accuracy. First, because it is so easy to use, the MetraSCAN 3D can be used by almost any one, with minimal training. Even non-specialized teams can help out with measurements and data acquisition during work peaks. What’s more: it takes very little time to set up and prepare for scanning. Few markers are required to be applied on the target object and once the part is ready, scanning can be performed very quickly—all while generating highly accurate results and simplifying post data acquisition editing. Mr. Sakata also noted that in many cases, measurement times have been slashed by half thanks to the MetraSCAN 3D.