The maker of 3D portable measurement technologies, Creaform, recently launched Creaform Academia, a new suite of 3D measurement tools designed especially for the academic market.
The new product is a suite of tools designed for teachers and researchers who want to to integrate 3D scanning into their classroom. It allows them to educate future engineers on the concept of 3D scanning and to understand its applications in engineering.
Teachers who are not ready to purchase but are interested in introducing 3D scanning to their students can get free access to a Creaform Academia software package to get a feel for how to get started with 3D scanners.
The free package includes 50 free software seats for Creaform’s reverse engineering and dimensional inspection software. It also includes teaching kits with unlimited access to presentations, video tutorials, pre-built lab exercises and sample data sets.
To give students an example of how 3D scanning is used in industry, look to Alphacasting, which makes precision investment casting, pouring more than 120 different types of alloys, including aluminum, stainless steel, carbon steel, bronze, titanium and other exotic alloys.
The company had been using traditional tools, such as conventional, fixed coordinate measuring machines, X-ray inspection systems, calipers and fixtures, to perform quality control inspections on the parts it manufactured.
However, according to Steven Kennerknecht, vice president of engineering for Alphacasting, getting good information—quickly—each time a part needed to be inspected was difficult at best.
To take one example, the development of a recent aluminum casting for the lube and scavenge pump on the passport engine for the Bombardier Global Express ultra-long-range business jet series, was to last several months. The process entailed multiple iterations to correct elements of the manufacturing process and produce the part precisely according to spec. With so many iterations, a new approach had to be found in order to shorten the development time and ensure impeccable part quality, Kennerknecht said.
“It is important to take measurements of each iteration during the development of a new casting—particularly one as highly complex as this one—to better understand the impact of previous changes and determine what modifications need to be made for the next iteration,” he adds.
The time-consuming setup, slowness and lack of high-quality information with traditional methods was not going to cut it.
Alphacasting turned to Creaform’s 3D scanners and metrology services for the Bombardier project. The company now uses the Creaform HandySCAN 700 handheld scanners developed specifically for discerning manufacturers looking to perform highly accurate and reliable inspections in industries like aerospace where quality control can’t be compromised.
“The team used the HandySCAN 3D to scan the entire casting very quickly,” Kennerknecht says. “Having 100 percent of the surface and the inspection report was so vital for us to understanding the changes to be made and also to make sure there is enough material before machining. The quality of the scanned data enabled us to make better decisions and reduce development time.”