easyJet Cuts Aircraft Damage Assessment Time by 80% with Geomagic Control X

Product: Geomagic Control X
Industry: Aerospace and Defense

If you’ve flown anywhere in Europe in the past two decades, chances are good that you’ve flown on easyJet. This leading European low-cost airline brings travelers to more than 30 countries on 600+ routes safely and conveniently, all while offering some of the lowest fares across the continent. How do they do it? With a focus on safety, simplicity, and operational efficiency. easyJet’s engineering organization epitomizes this ethos by putting safety at the heart of everything it does and innovating to continually improve performance and reduce costs.

easyJet assesses aircraft damage faster with Geomagic Control X

An easyJet Airbus A320 at the company’s maintenance hangar, where 3D scanning is being leveraged to improve and speed up aircraft damage assessments.

Minimizing Aircraft on Ground Time

One of the most important ways that easyJet can minimize delays and keep ticket prices low is reducing Aircraft on Ground (AOG) time. Unplanned AOG events happen when any of the company’s 298 Airbus aircraft are damaged or experience mechanical failures, and can be very costly — not to mention inconvenient to passengers. It’s clear that the faster a damaged aircraft can be checked, the better it is for the airline and its passengers. 

“One of our biggest challenges is to try and reduce the AOG time of aircraft and maintain accurate records when damage occurs,” said Andrew Knight, Fleet Structures Engineer at easyJet. While rare, hail, bird strikes, and other events can potentially damage the wings and fuselage and require inspection before flying again. Checking damage from these types of events has traditionally been a low tech, manual, and time-consuming process that requires maintenance staff to assess aircraft damage using manual measuring tools such as rulers and vernier calipers. Worse still, interpreting the extent of any damage using this technique is highly subjective and not repeatable between staff members. easyJet’s structural engineering team went looking for a modern solution to speed things up and provide more accurate, traceable results.

3D scanned deviation location using Geomagic Control X

Geomagic Control X displays the results of a dent analysis, including maximum depth and distance between each dent, based on a 3D scan of a wing flap.

Repeatable, Accurate, Mobile 3D Inspection

“We’ve been looking for a system that is easy to use for the maintenance engineer but has the ability to provide more in-depth reports if required by support staff. It must be accurate, repeatable and most of all, mobile, as AOG events can occur anywhere within our network of 136 destinations across Europe,” Knight continued. “The biggest challenge was the software side because it needed to be a simple, easy-to-use interface to obtain a basic damage report, but powerful enough to provide more in-depth details in the support offices. 3D scanning should provide us with accurate, fast damage assessment with repeatable results independent of the experience of the user.”

For these reasons, easyJet turned to 3D Systems reseller OR3D, a UK firm with expertise in 3D scanning and Geomagic software. Robert Wells, a 3D scanning expert at OR3D, reported that “based on easyJet’s requirement to quickly scan large areas — such as the entire wing length of an Airbus A320 — on the tarmac, we recommended a portable handheld 3D scanner. And we knew Geomagic Control X™ was the right software because they needed an automated way to assess dents that was easy for their staff to learn and use.” With this solution, performing a damage assessment on the roughly 70 feet (21 meters) of an A320’s flaps takes just a few hours, compared to several days with wax rubbings on tracing paper, saving easyJet tens of thousands of Pounds/Euros per damage event.

Geomagic Control X inspection shows dent locations to easyJet quickly and accurately

The location and severity of damage is instantly recognizable during assessment of flight surfaces. Repair decisions can be made quickly and with a high level of confidence.

Instant Reporting for Fast Documentation

Once the scans are complete, easyJet engineers can get damage reports from Geomagic Control X software on the spot. They don’t need to load CAD models or align the scan data to anything else in the software, and they don’t need to have deep metrology expertise to get reliable output. Control X uses its CAD engine to automatically create idealized geometry that meets standards for surface continuity that are defined by Airbus, and measures the scanned aircraft against that idealized geometry to provide instant results. Within minutes, easyJet engineers have a consistent, repeatable, and thoroughly documented initial damage report that lets them decide what repairs, if any, are needed before the aircraft can be placed back into service.

Powerful 3D Inspection That’s Easy to Learn

easyJet has embraced Control X for large-scale damage assessments because it’s so accessible for busy engineers with many other responsibilities. Knight remarked on this specifically, saying “engineers will not use the system if it is too complex and requires in-depth software knowledge and/or extensive training.” Control X fulfills these requirements better than any other scan-based inspection software because it’s intuitive, easy to learn, and powerful enough to handle complex measurement scenarios. Anyone familiar with using 3D software can pick up Control X and get results in a matter of minutes, with the flexibility to measure what they need to, without pre-programming or inflexible macros.

What does this new, modern approach to damage inspection mean for easyJet? “We have estimated an approximate 80% savings in time to perform assessments using the 3D systems we currently have with a potential 80% savings in currency terms,” says Knight. There are additional benefits beyond reduced AOG time and better decision-making regarding repairs as well: keeping detailed damage reports, complete with accurate scan data, can help the company years from now when it comes time to sell or return aircraft to their leaseholders.

easyJet’s use of Control X is another example of how simple, intuitive inspection software helps companies ensure quality everywhere by empowering more people to measure more things in more places.

Cummins Uses Geomagic Software and Metal 3D Printing to Get 1952 Race Car Running Again 50% Faster

Product: Geomagic Control X
Industry: Automotive and Transportation

The #28 Cummins Diesel Special shocked the racing world in 1952 when it captured the pole position at the Indianapolis 500 (Indy 500) with the fastest lap time in history. This feat, along with the car’s many other innovations, won it a prominent place in racing history.

Sixty five years later, #28 was invited to the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the United Kingdom to participate in the legendary Goodwood Hillclimb along with hundreds of modern and heritage cars. While preparing #28, the Cummins engineers discovered that the water pump was so corroded it would probably not survive the event. If the #28 car was to make it to Goodwood in working order, it needed a new water pump.

The original water pump was a unique design specific to the #28 car, which meant no spare production parts would fit the bill. To complicate matters further, they had to ship #28 within a matter of weeks, which ruled out traditional sand-casting methods as infeasible for a replacement part given an estimated lead time of 10 weeks. Instead, Cummins engineers turned to reverse engineering and metal additive manufacturing (AM) using a ProX DMP 320 metal 3D printer by 3D Systems with help from 3rd Dimension Industrial 3D Printing, a high-quality production metal manufacturer specializing in 3D direct metal printing (DMP). The new water pump was 3D printed in only three days and the entire process took five weeks instead of 10.

#28 Cummins Diesel Special at the 1952 Indy 500

#28 Cummins Diesel Special at the 1952 Indy 500

A Page Out of Racing History

#28 was the first Indy 500 car equipped with a turbocharger and the first whose aerodynamics were optimized in a wind tunnel. It ran its four qualifying laps at a record-breaking average speed of 138.010 mph.

Original water pump showing severe pitting and corrosion

Original water pump showing severe pitting and corrosion

Since its momentous run in 1952, #28 has been displayed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum and the Cummins corporate office building. In 1969, #28 ran a lap around the Indy track prior to the start of the race to mark the Cummins 50th anniversary celebration. The last time #28 ran was at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the late 1990s.

“As we prepared the car to run again for the first time in almost 20 years, we noticed severe pitting and corrosion on the water pump,” said Greg Haines, design and development leader for the X15 engine and member of the Cummins history and restoration team. “In a few places, the housing was pitted all the way through and was only kept from leaking by mineral deposits that covered the holes. We needed a new housing quickly if we were to meet our commitment to run the car at Goodwood.”

Racing to Produce a New Water Pump

The baseline method for building a new pump housing is the same method that it used to build the original pump: machining a plastic or wood pattern and using it to form a sand mold for casting. Using this method, it would have taken about 10 weeks to build a single housing, ruling out a run at Goodwood. The lead time for the new water pump housing could have been reduced by 3D printing the new casting pattern or even 3D printing the sand casting mold itself, but the greatest productivity gains available came from bypassing the casting process altogether and using reverse engineering and 3D printing to produce the final part directly in only five weeks—50 percent faster.

Inspecting water pump in Geomagic Control X

Inspecting water pump in Geomagic Control X

Scanning

Cummins engineers began by scanning the existing water pump housing with a CT scanner. They selected a CT scanner because the pump contained many undercuts and other internal geometries that would have been impossible to capture with a laser scanner or other line-of-sight imaging tool.

Inspecting

To verify that the scan data was accurate before moving forward, the engineers imported the point cloud data generated by the CT scanner into Geomagic Control X inspection and metrology software where they separated and aligned the internal and external geometry of the pump.

“For a project like this, we typically separate out the internal volute geometry from the body so we can model it as a core and do a comparison back to the point cloud data to be sure all our work is accurate,” said Chris George, master CAD model team leader for advanced system design for Cummins.

Comparing water pump CAD model to scan data in Geomagic Design X

Comparing water pump CAD model to scan data in Geomagic Design X

Reverse Engineering

With good scan geometry to jump-start its design work, Cummins used Geomagic Design X reverse engineering software to convert the point cloud to a nonparametric solid model to perform CAD fit checks. These checks helped the Cummins team determine the right assembly dimensions for the impeller and shaft and how everything would ultimately fit and seal together.

According to George, Cummins uses Geomagic Control X and Geomagic Design X as its primary software for point cloud manipulation. “The 3D Systems Geomagic software provides a complete solution for processing and inspecting scan data and converting it to a solid model,” he says. “We use them for every reverse engineering project we do, which often requires geometric reconciliations, finite element analyses of structure and flow, and model-to-scan comparisons reported to our engineering customers.”

“The 3D Systems Geomagic software provides a complete solution for processing and inspecting scan data and converting it to a solid model. We use them for every reverse engineering project we do.”

—Chris George, Master CAD Model Team Leader for Advanced System Design, Cummins

Designing new water pump in Creo

Designing new water pump in Creo

Designing

Due to the significant corrosion of the original part, Cummins could not use the model created from the scanned data as the basis for 3D printing. Instead, Cummins engineers imported the nonparametric model into PTC Creo® 3D CAD software to act as a template for creating a parametric model. In light of the physical damage to the scanned pump, the Cummins team had to make informed decisions as they 3D modeled the replacement to achieve a functional final model.

3D Printing

They then sent this file to the team at 3rd Dimension, who cleaned it up, analyzed it for optimal print orientation, and assigned supports for stable printing. 3rd Dimension engineers further sliced and hatched the part to define the movement of the laser during the build.

Although the original water pump housing had been made of magnesium to help reduce weight, magnesium’s susceptibility to corrosion following extended water and coolant exposure was a large factor in the problem Cummins was trying to solve. Therefore, 3rd Dimension manufactured the final 3D-printed part using LaserForm 316-L stainless steel material on a ProX DMP 320 metal 3D printer.

New 3D-printed water pump with impeller assembly

New 3D-printed water pump with impeller assembly

“The larger build volume of the ProX DMP 320 enabled us to have some additional options with part orientation, which helped us optimize supports, and the print speed allowed us to get the print done in the time we had,” said Bob Markley, president of 3rd Dimension. “The ProX DMP 320 also does not use a binder to join the material, which means the output is a pure alloy that performs like real metal—because it is real metal. This is a benefit to final part performance given the operational environment.”

Only three days after receiving the 3D file of the water pump geometry, 3rd Dimension sent Cummins the completed pump housing.

Making Racing History Again

The housing mated perfectly with the other pump components and provided like-new performance for over six Goodwood Hillclimb runs. Just as it had at Indy, #28 thrilled the fans at Goodwood and was featured in “The 10 Best Things We Saw at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed” by Car and Driver magazine.

#28 Cummins Diesel Special at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed

In addition, as it did for the Cummins 50th anniversary in 1969, the #28 had a featured role in celebrating the Cummins 100th anniversary by running a parade lap around the track prior to the start of the 2019 Indy 500 race.

Improved Manufacturing Process with Artec 3D Scanner and Geomagic Control X Software

Product: Control X, Artec 3D Space Spider
Industry: Foundry

As new production technologies evolve, new technical challenges arise in manufacturing the best possible part. Often a contract manufacturer has to tune the new process significantly the first time it attempts production to understand elements such as shrinkage, surface finish, and repeatability. Additive manufacturing (AM) is no exception, and yet tools to track these elements for this production methodology have lagged behind. That is now changing.

Most manufactured goods follow a common process through their life cycle to production. Design, manufacture, inspect is a generalized way to consider process, stages, and responsibilities, each one being key to producing high-quality parts. Depending on the complexity and nature of the part being manufactured, the real workflow can have many tuning loops and feedback.

Flujo de trabajo de fabricación

The following workflow example demonstrates how the Artec 3D Space Spider scanner and Geomagic Control X software together provided total shape capture and analysis on 3D-printed wax casting patterns and cast parts at all stages in the design, prove out, and manufacturing process.

Infografía de flujo de trabajo de diseño, creación de patrones, fundición y control de calidad para el software de inspección Geomagic Control X y el escáner Artec 3D Space Spider
Software de escaneo Artec Studio
Artec Studio scanning software

The Artec 3D Space Spider is an ultra-high-resolution handheld 3D scanner that excels at precisely capturing small objects and complex details for dimensional inspection.

With plug-and-play operation, the Space Spider scans objects easily, without complicated preparation and extensive user training, allowing customers to digitize parts anywhere. The Artec 3D proprietary target-free algorithms allow the scanner to track the object by its shape and color alone—no need to apply targets to the object.

Geomagic Control X from 3D Systems is an industrial metrology software that enables root cause analysis (RCA) and correction for manufacturing. As a 3D scan-native software, Geomagic Control X is an ideal solution for metrology with portable measurement devices. With Geomagic Control X, more people in your organization can measure faster, more often, and more completely—from anywhere.

The total solution provides unique insight into successful production in a complex manufacturing process. The result? Greatly-improved overall final part quality, accuracy, and repeatability.

Design

For this workflow example, we replicated a real customer project, but generalized the details. In this case, the customer was developing a specialized, autonomous-driving, light-duty vehicle. To speed time-to-market, they selected and combined a range of components and systems from vehicles on the market today to complete a working prototype. In this process, they found a specific steering knuckle (one each per) was valuable to the project and they needed to digitize and capture the design so that they could further modify and manufacture it in a light-weight material.

To begin work, they 3D scanned and reverse engineered the original casting. They used the Artec 3D Space Spider scanner for rapid digitization and then quickly and accurately modeled the part in Geomagic Design X with a unique hybrid-modeling approach. Typically, customers will follow either an as-built (very accurate) or design-intent (dimension-driven) modeling method. A hybrid modeling approach consists of combining both of those concepts to deliver a CAD solid model result that has both dimensioned features as well as highly-accurate NURBs surfaces. Using this strategy, they completed the model in under 1.5 hours and live-transfered to SOLIDWORKS as feature-based CAD.

Escaneo de piezas originales
Original part scan
Modelo CAD híbrido
Hybrid CAD model
Modelo derrotado para imprimir
Defeatured model for print
Impresión de cera sin terminar de la impresora 3D ProJet® MJP 2500 IC de 3D Systems
Unfinished wax print from the ProJet MJP 2500 IC
Sección transversal de muestra del modo de relleno disperso impreso en la impresora 3D ProJet® MJP 2500 IC de 3D Systems
Sample cross section of sparse infill mode printed on ProJet MJP 2500 IC

Pattern Making

AM has been used in aerospace and automotive applications to produce sacrificial casting patterns for decades. With recent advances in 3D printing, industrial-grade patterns can be printed in wax or polymer at a significantly lower cost, which work seamlessly in the investment-casting process. 3D Systems is seeing more distributed adoption of tool-less additive pattern making and will continue to grow as the technology becomes more accessible, rapid, and precise.

For any additive process that involves heat energy in material deposition or post processing, there is some amount of part warpage and settling that could occur. Parts that have significant mass or a significant cross-sectional area will retain heat for longer than smaller or thinner parts.

Based on this knowledge, 3D Systems tested two printing methods with the goal of having the lowest possible cost of printed goods and the highest level of dimensional stability: a completely solid wax-printing method as well as a thin, shell/sparse wax-infill method. Both were prepared with 3D Sprint build client software and printed on the ProJet MJP 2500 IC 3D printer that produces wax casting patterns. From prior experience, we found that a 2 mm shell with a 50% sparse infill ratio produces high-quality, stable parts when printing relatively large parts.

After post processing and cooling time, we used the same Artec 3D Space Spider scanner to scan the two patterns with relative ease. The unique shape of the parts, the green wax color, and the slight dulling and whitening effect of the post process enabled our scanning technician to capture the models smoothly using Geometry + Texture tracking.

Using Geomagic Control X, we imported the 3D Sprint build file directly and inspected each part in its exact print orientation for the inspection routine. Knowing that we would be scanning the subject part iteratively to improve the process, we were able to set up one detailed inspection project and duplicate it several times while maintaining the entire process development history in a single Geomagic Control X file. After completing the scans, we simply dropped each new STL file into the Geomagic Control X project and the evaluation process automatically took over, resulting in high-quality, repeatable reports.

We found that, generally, all areas with machining offsets were within the casting tolerance, but the more free-form areas presented trends outside a tight tolerance band. We believe this properly correlated our assumptions that large cross-section areas retain heat and potentially change shape when cooling.

Our comprehensive analysis for this stage helped us draw some conclusions that 3D printing with the wax pattern was not only more cost-effective, but also more dimensionally-compliant after post processing.

  • Material usage was reduce by about 35%.
  • Material cost was reduced by about 27%.
  • Overall compliance with tolerances were increased by about 10% (using 3D comparison).
  • The solid part did not pass the tolerance threshold
  • The infill part passed the tolerance threshold.
  • Long-term dimensional stability at room temperature was improved over the solid part.
Análisis de patrones de cera sólida
Solid wax pattern analysis
Patrón de cera con análisis de relleno
Wax pattern with infill analysis

Asano Uses Geomagic 3D Scan Software to Drive Innovation

Product: Geomagic Design X, Control X
Industry: Automotive and Transportation

When it comes to design and quality assurance innovation, companies tend to fall into two categories: those that wait until the last moment to adopt new technologies so they won’t be left behind, and those that are always at the forefront, aiming at continuous improvement.

Asano Co., Ltd., a Japanese metal-processing manufacturer serving the automotive and motorcycle industries, is clearly the second type of company, adopting 3D scanning technologies that have had a profound effect on its design and quality assurance processes.

Design work has been transformed by reverse engineering using Geomagic Design X software, and quality assurance from the speed and accuracy of Geomagic Control X software. Both products come from 3D Systems.

A business mainstay
Un pilar empresarial

Asano designs and manufactures a wide range of prototype sheet metal parts, metal molds, jigs, machinery and other parts. The company is known for its use of leading-edge technologies for projects such as reducing automotive weight through the use of carbon fiber-reinforced thermo-plastics (CFRTP).

Mr. Norimichi Abe, Group Leader of Asano’s General Control Group for CAD Machine Processing, began experimenting with 3D capture devices and Geomagic Design X nearly 10 years ago. Mr. Abe now considers reverse engineering a mainstay of Asano’s business. He estimates that the company has completed more than 200 projects using 3D scanning and Geomagic Design X.

Geomagic Design X is designed from the ground up to convert 3D scan data into high-quality feature-based CAD models. It provides everything needed to capture geometry for objects of all sizes and create manufacturing-ready designs, including automatic and guided solid model extraction, exact surface fitting to organic 3D scans, mesh editing and point cloud processing.

“Geomagic Design X is the best reverse engineering software available, providing a great balance of features and an ability to handle huge point clouds with ease,” says Mr. Abe. “It goes beyond powerful feature-based modeling to offer the flexibility of a variety of modeling methods, including automatic surface creation. This makes it the ideal tool for a wide range of modeling challenges.”

Integrating design for greater stability

A recent project for Spoon Inc., a Japanese company that provides tuning kits and specialized parts for Honda racing and street cars, exemplifies Asano’s expert use of 3D scanning technologies.

The project involved designing a new plate for the front underbody of a Honda S660 sports car. The original part suffered from torsion during hard braking and rolling. The plate was designed originally as part of the complex base assembly of the car, which would have made it very time-consuming to redesign from scratch.

Instead of going back to the drawing board, Asano scanned the front underbody surface of the S660. Geomagic Design X was then used to process the scan data and design a new precision plate that could be mounted in place of the original.

“The redesigned plate could be attached to the car simply, without any processing, and it was so precise that the undercover could be mounted without alterations,” says Mr. Abe.

The redesigned plate provided greater stability, according to Mr. Abe, based on the fact that the suspension and body were integrated into a single box like a sub-frame.

Getting it right the first time

Beyond point capture and processing, Geomagic Control X has evolved into a central tool for the efforts of  Asano’s Quality Assurance Section to reduce the number of trial sheets for its prototypes and to produce an accurate mold on the first attempt.

“We are aggressively pursuing various new testing methods that are faster and more precise than the ones we’ve used in the past,” says Mr. Hiroshi Imai, Section Chief for Quality Assurance at Asano’s Gunma Plant.

Geomagic Control X enables manufacturers to take precise measurements of parts from 3D scanners and accurately compare them to digital reference data for first-article inspection and other metrology applications. The software instantly generates 3D reports of measurements, tolerances and deviations.

Asano uses 3D scanning and Geomagic Control X to speed the parts testing process and gain more accurate data on deviations from the original design.

“During trial production it is important to grasp the entire shape and surfaces of sheet metal parts,” says Mr. Matsumoto, who is in charge of testing the Asano Quality Assurance Section. “Before we began using Geomagic Control X, if the results weren’t good enough when we pressed the prototypes and measured them with a laser, it was difficult to determine whether it was a problem with the shape or with the laser. This wasted a considerable amount of time.”

Modeling the chassis parts in Geomagic Design X

Two to three times faster

Because of the time and effort required for capturing and processing data, Asano could only do product feature testing for mass-produced products.

“Except for the mass-produced products, the only testing methods available to us were to check the surface by 3D measurement to designate and measure arbitrary points on the surface,” says Mr. Tetsuya Matsumoto. “This made it difficult to grasp the entire shape. Immense time and labor were spent on clarifying product features.”

With an accurate 3D scanning device and Geomagic Control X, Mr. Matsumoto says that Asano can now grasp the cause of deviations at a glance.

“Our testing is two to three times faster than in the past, and we can aim for much higher manufacturing efficiency.”

Adopting new technologies such as reverse engineering and 3D metrology is an ongoing process at Asano, something that is baked into the company’s DNA.

“We anticipate needs and take up any and every challenge,” says Mr. Akio Kishi, Director of Asano’s Management Promotion Office. “This stance is one of our company’s core strengths.”

Completed parts manufactured from 3D CAD data used with 3D scanning

3D Systems Builds Better 3D Printers with Geomagic Control X

Product: Geomagic Control X
Industry: Design

3D Systems has spent its 30-year history enabling its customers to optimize their designs, transform their workflows, bring innovative products to market and drive new business models. And the company benefits from the very same 3D technology solutions in its own business. Case in point: when it came time to launch the ProX® SLS 6100 3D printer, 3D Systems turned to its in-house Geomagic software group and trusted partner Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence to ensure that the printers matched the high quality of their design.

Quality Components Make Quality Products

Control X LiveInspect 3D inspection of 3D Systems ProX SLS 6100

The ProX SLS 6100 is a precision industrial 3D printer that must meet exacting specifications to ensure it builds production-quality parts accurately and reliably, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Achieving this quality requires meeting stringent dimensional tolerances, starting from the very beginning with the welded steel frame that serves as the foundation of the 3000+ lb (1360+ kg) industrial 3D printer. The frames of the ProX SLS 6100 are manufactured by a specialty supplier based on designs provided by 3D Systems, and are then delivered to 3D Systems’ manufacturing facility in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where the printers are assembled.

To ensure all products are developed and delivered at the highest standard with continual improvement, the entire organization contributes to quality control. Bryan Rough, Manufacturing Program Manager for 3D Systems, supports the ProX SLS 6100 manufacturing process, including inspecting components like the printers’ frames. “We need to know that everything about this new product meets engineering specifications, and works exceedingly well in the field,” said Rough. “We have several critical flatness and parallelism requirements, and we need to make sure we are delivering on our commitment to quality at every turn.”

Saving Time and Money with 3D Inspection

According to Rough, if a frame is out of tolerance and the issue is not discovered prior to assembly, it could lead to manufacturing errors that cost tens of thousands of dollars to correct — not to mention delay the delivery of printers to customers. Rough’s requirements are clear: to quickly inspect the large, heavy frames of the ProX SLS 6100 directly on the factory floor with minimal time commitment. “This is a very important step, but it is also just one aspect of my job, so I don’t have time to become an expert at using complex inspection tools. I need an inspection system that I can pick up a couple times a week, get the measurements I need, generate a report, and move on to my other projects. Geomagic® Control X™ is perfect for that.”

Together with an AICON MoveInspect XR8 portable optical CMM from Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, Geomagic Control X allows Rough and his teammates to measure flatness, parallelism, perpendicularity, and other Geometric Dimensions & Tolerances (GD&T) right on the factory floor. Best of all, it takes less than an hour to set up, take measurements, and generate a complete inspection report for each ProX SLS 6100 frame.

“The MoveInspect XR8 is ideal for measuring these large welded frames because I can use the wireless probe anywhere in a large measurement volume. I don’t have to worry about line-of-sight issues because of the XR8’s dynamic referencing capability that lets me move the device wherever I need to without realigning it,” said Rough. The software also makes things easy, and was intuitive to learn and incorporate into the manufacturing process. “Control X is very straightforward to use,” says Rough. “I had a half day of training on Control X months before the first printer frame was ready, and when it came time to pick up the software again, I was able to start and finish my first inspection the very same day.” Rough says this is a big distinction from other metrology software he has used in the past. “Other inspection software I’ve used has been far more complicated and there’s no way I could have picked those up as quickly as I learned Control X.”

Flexible and Easy 3D Inspection with LiveInspect

Rough uses the 3D CAD files of the frame to define exactly what he needs to measure in Control X. The software then automatically plans a measurement routine and connects directly to the MoveInspect XR8. All Rough or his teammates need to do is walk up to the frame and follow the on-screen and spoken prompts from Control X to take measurements where needed using the XR8’s MI.Probe, in a process called LiveInspect. When necessary, they can take other measurements too. Unlike a script-based inspection routine, the LiveInspect process is flexible so users can measure whatever they need to and add it to the inspection report with a couple of clicks.

“We’re now able to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to quality because we can see problems before they happen,” said Rough. “Using the MoveInspect XR8 with Control X enables us to meet 3D Systems’ elevated standards of quality for our customers every time, and it’s been extremely helpful to the introduction of the new ProX SLS 6100.”


3D Systems’ use of Control X for its own quality control is another example of how simple, intuitive inspection software helps companies ensure quality everywhere by empowering more people to measure more things in more places. Learn more about Geomagic Control X today.

Cummins Uses Geomagic Software and Metal 3D Printing to Get 1952 Race Car Running Again 50% Faster

Product: Geomagic Design X/Control X
Industry: Automotive

The #28 Cummins Diesel Special shocked the racing world in 1952 when it captured the pole position at the Indianapolis 500 (Indy 500) with the fastest lap time in history. This feat, along with the car’s many other innovations, won it a prominent place in racing history.

Sixty five years later, #28 was invited to the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the United Kingdom to participate in the legendary Goodwood Hillclimb along with hundreds of modern and heritage cars. While preparing #28, the Cummins engineers discovered that the water pump was so corroded it would probably not survive the event. If the #28 car was to make it to Goodwood in working order, it needed a new water pump.

The original water pump was a unique design specific to the #28 car, which meant no spare production parts would fit the bill. To complicate matters further, they had to ship #28 within a matter of weeks, which ruled out traditional sand-casting methods as infeasible for a replacement part given an estimated lead time of 10 weeks. Instead, Cummins engineers turned to reverse engineering and metal additive manufacturing (AM) using a ProX DMP 320 metal 3D printer by 3D Systems with help from 3rd Dimension Industrial 3D Printing, a high-quality production metal manufacturer specializing in 3D direct metal printing (DMP). The new water pump was 3D printed in only three days and the entire process took five weeks instead of 10.

A Page Out of Racing History

#28 was the first Indy 500 car equipped with a turbocharger and the first whose aerodynamics were optimized in a wind tunnel. It ran its four qualifying laps at a record-breaking average speed of 138.010 mph.

Since its momentous run in 1952, #28 has been displayed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum and the Cummins corporate office building. In 1969, #28 ran a lap around the Indy track prior to the start of the race to mark the Cummins 50th anniversary celebration. The last time #28 ran was at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the late 1990s.

“As we prepared the car to run again for the first time in almost 20 years, we noticed severe pitting and corrosion on the water pump,” said Greg Haines, design and development leader for the X15 engine and member of the Cummins history and restoration team. “In a few places, the housing was pitted all the way through and was only kept from leaking by mineral deposits that covered the holes. We needed a new housing quickly if we were to meet our commitment to run the car at Goodwood.”

Racing to Produce a New Water Pump

The baseline method for building a new pump housing is the same method that it used to build the original pump: machining a plastic or wood pattern and using it to form a sand mold for casting. Using this method, it would have taken about 10 weeks to build a single housing, ruling out a run at Goodwood. The lead time for the new water pump housing could have been reduced by 3D printing the new casting pattern or even 3D printing the sand casting mold itself, but the greatest productivity gains available came from bypassing the casting process altogether and using reverse engineering and 3D printing to produce the final part directly in only five weeks—50 percent faster.

Scanning

Cummins engineers began by scanning the existing water pump housing with a CT scanner. They selected a CT scanner because the pump contained many undercuts and other internal geometries that would have been impossible to capture with a laser scanner or other line-of-sight imaging tool.

Inspecting

To verify that the scan data was accurate before moving forward, the engineers imported the point cloud data generated by the CT scanner into Geomagic Control X inspection and metrology software where they separated and aligned the internal and external geometry of the pump.

“For a project like this, we typically separate out the internal volute geometry from the body so we can model it as a core and do a comparison back to the point cloud data to be sure all our work is accurate,” said Chris George, master CAD model team leader for advanced system design for Cummins.

Reverse Engineering

With good scan geometry to jump-start its design work, Cummins used Geomagic Design X reverse engineering software to convert the point cloud to a nonparametric solid model to perform CAD fit checks. These checks helped the Cummins team determine the right assembly dimensions for the impeller and shaft and how everything would ultimately fit and seal together.

According to George, Cummins uses Geomagic Control X and Geomagic Design X as its primary software for point cloud manipulation. “The 3D Systems Geomagic software provides a complete solution for processing and inspecting scan data and converting it to a solid model,” he says. “We use them for every reverse engineering project we do, which often requires geometric reconciliations, finite element analyses of structure and flow, and model-to-scan comparisons reported to our engineering customers.”

“The 3D Systems Geomagic software provides a complete solution for processing and inspecting scan data and converting it to a solid model. We use them for every reverse engineering project we do.”

—Chris George, Master CAD Model Team Leader for Advanced System Design, Cummins

Designing

Due to the significant corrosion of the original part, Cummins could not use the model created from the scanned data as the basis for 3D printing. Instead, Cummins engineers imported the nonparametric model into PTC Creo® 3D CAD software to act as a template for creating a parametric model. In light of the physical damage to the scanned pump, the Cummins team had to make informed decisions as they 3D modeled the replacement to achieve a functional final model.

3D Printing

They then sent this file to the team at 3rd Dimension, who cleaned it up, analyzed it for optimal print orientation, and assigned supports for stable printing. 3rd Dimension engineers further sliced and hatched the part to define the movement of the laser during the build.

Although the original water pump housing had been made of magnesium to help reduce weight, magnesium’s susceptibility to corrosion following extended water and coolant exposure was a large factor in the problem Cummins was trying to solve. Therefore, 3rd Dimension manufactured the final 3D-printed part using LaserForm 316-L stainless steel material on a ProX DMP 320 metal 3D printer.

“The larger build volume of the ProX DMP 320 enabled us to have some additional options with part orientation, which helped us optimize supports, and the print speed allowed us to get the print done in the time we had,” said Bob Markley, president of 3rd Dimension. “The ProX DMP 320 also does not use a binder to join the material, which means the output is a pure alloy that performs like real metal—because it is real metal. This is a benefit to final part performance given the operational environment.”

Only three days after receiving the 3D file of the water pump geometry, 3rd Dimension sent Cummins the completed pump housing.

Making Racing History Again

The housing mated perfectly with the other pump components and provided like-new performance for over six Goodwood Hillclimb runs. Just as it had at Indy, #28 thrilled the fans at Goodwood and was featured in “The 10 Best Things We Saw at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed” by Car and Driver magazine.

In addition, as it did for the Cummins 50th anniversary in 1969, the #28 had a featured role in celebrating the Cummins 100th anniversary by running a parade lap around the track prior to the start of the 2019 Indy 500 race.

Revealing an Ancient Tomb’s Secrets with Geomagic Control X

Product: Geomagic Control X
Industry: Academic

When researchers at the Gaya National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage (GNRICH) wanted to know all they could about an ancient tomb discovered in Changnyeong, South Korea, they turned to 3D scanning and 3D Systems software to get the job done.

Recapturing the Past

In order to analyze all the data they could find in the tomb without having to be physically present or risk damaging the remains inside, the researchers needed to find a way to digitize the entire tomb, including four ancient human skeletons, to a high degree of accuracy and detail in full 3D.

To make matters even more challenging, they would need to have everything together in one master file for analysis, so they needed to work with a huge amount of data simultaneously. Finally, they planned to construct physical models of the human remains found in the tomb, so they needed a solution that was flexible enough for them to split up the data and optimize it for reproduction in resin.

Uncovering the mysteries of a 1500-year-old Korean tomb

Leveraging the Power of 3D

The GNRICH research team first scanned the overall shape of the tomb using a long-range outdoor scanner (the RIEGL LMS-Z390i). Then, to get close up and capture the high detail they needed on some of the human remains, they scanned a number of the bones with a Konica Minolta VIVID 910. These 3D scanners recorded all the spatial information and detailed 3D data that they needed, but this process combined for a total of 3.7 Gigabytes of data, a huge amount by any standard!

From real to virtual using 3D scanning and Geomagic Control X software

The team found that Geomagic Control X was the only software able to handle massive amounts of scan data with relative ease on their existing computers. Control X also provided them with sophisticated but simple tools to align, merge, and significantly reduce the size of the data without sacrificing scan quality or resolution. The researchers were even able to bring it all together into a common 3D coordinate system to create an exact and complete 3D virtual model of the bones in the tomb.

Rapid learning

The GNRICH researchers were able to make many scientific conclusions from the 3D scan data they processed through Geomagic Control X. After processing they used Control X to analyze the resulting data, measuring features like the volume, length, and anatomical structures of the four corpses in the tomb. Through these analyses and other techniques such as carbon dating and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequencing, the researchers were able to estimate all kinds of data such as the height, weight, age, heredity, and dietary habits of each of the buried men and women. They were even able to perform forensic analyses on the ancient bodies, concluding that the tomb’s occupants may have been killed by poison or suffocation. Remarkably, they also found evidence of Soon-jang, an ancient burial custom in which servants were buried alive with their dead masters.

Further study

Finally, the GNRICH research team used Geomagic Control X and Geomagic Design X software to prepare their 3D scan data for production as physical 3D models. These models were made from 108 different resins to closely match the physical properties of bone and to aid in further study. In 2009, the team plans to continue their investigation into causes of death, diseases, athletic abilities, and more. They also plan to make whole body models using an innovative technology to add artificial muscle and skin to their resin bone models. The team is very excited about the power that 3D scanning and technology from 3D Systems have contributed to their efforts.

MEYER WERFT Builds Cruise Ships with Help from Geomagic Control X

Product: Geomagic Control X
Industry: Automotive y Transportation

MEYER WERFT GmbH & Co. KG based in Papenburg, Germany, has achieved an excellent worldwide reputation for building special-purpose ships. They are especially well known for the construction of large, modern, sophisticated cruise ships. Over the years, the shipyard has built 45 luxury liners for customers from all over the world and every ship is unique.

To remain globally competitive, MEYER WERFT uses state-of-the-art production technology. Since 2010, they have used a Leica laser scanner for geometric analyses and image documentation. They use a LizardQ camera system to create 360-degree panoramas—up to 8,000 every year.

For 3D comparisons and precise adjustments of complex point-cloud models, MEYER WERFT metrology engineers use Geomagic Control X inspection and metrology software.

The journey from CAD blueprint to finished ship is a long one in which there are many challenges. “To get an idea of the complexity of the task we face at MEYER WERFT, you have to imagine building a complete, floating town every six months, including water and sanitation, logistics, accommodation for thousands of people, restaurants, food service, theaters, movie theaters, and a host of other leisure attractions ranging from water slides to go-karting tracks,” says Ralph Zimmermann, head of metrology/quality management at MEYER WERFT. “We use up to 30 million components to assemble every cruise ship, whereby even the smallest components, which are called sections, can have dimensions of 30 x 30 x 2.5 meters. When the ship is then assembled, everything must fit together perfectly. For the geometric measurements and point-cloud modeling that we perform every day, we use Geomagic Control X. We have a long-standing partnership with 3D Systems, the software vendor.”

Eric Wind, international senior consultant at 3D Systems, adds, “The wide range of applications for our software helps MEYER WERFT in its quality management, which is a crucial factor in the successful and on-time construction of cruise ships. Geomagic Control X inspection software delivers reliable results quickly and easily. We continually develop the software to ensure that we can continue to meet the challenging requirements of our customers in the future.”

Geometric measurement has been part of the quality management process at MEYER WERFT since 2012 and encompasses the entire production process for building a new ship. The department is responsible for all metrology tasks and works closely with the construction supervisor at the shipyard. One of the key tasks of the department is comparing target and actual states. Work begins with the scanning of components and their virtual assembly on a computer. Checking to ensure an accurate fit before assembly saves a lot of time in the shipyard as it significantly reduces the required number of physical adjustments.

3D Comparison of Target Versus Actual States Helps Ensure Accurate Fit

In shipbuilding, all materials are subject to changes caused by external influences. Welding causes changes in metal parts due to thermal action. Components are also affected by mechanical influences during transport and assembly, which can lead to deformation. Even the temperature conditions for the time of year can have an effect. A component that fit perfectly in the blueprint and during production and virtual adjustment may exhibit problematic deviations when it comes to final assembly. Target versus actual comparisons are therefore essential and are created using 3D analysis in Geomagic Control X. Current requirements include surface analyses, geometry inspections, fit checks, and virtual reality.

Surface and Deck Analyses Help Reduce Follow-Up Costs

André Schreiber, technologist in the MEYER WERFT metrology department, explains, “In our surface analyses, we aim to identify deviations from the target state in a fully-assembled section. Once everything has been captured with the laser scanner, we edit and analyze the point cloud with Geomagic Control X. The software makes the entire process much easier for us as it can handle large volumes of data. It is also suitable for all component sizes.” In addition, Geomagic Control X can be used in combination with all scanner types and technologies, enabling users to measure and validate objects geometrically and create test reports.

Figure 1: The color map of the surface analysis from Geomagic Control X shows significant differences in height and depth on the deck surface. Image © MEYER WERFT

The surface analysis clearly shows where there are real elevations and hollows on the deck surface compared with the target state. Surface unevenness of just a few millimeters on the sun deck of a cruise ship can result in puddles. Deviations of this kind can also occur below deck. For example, some areas of the ship are tiled and an uneven floor could cause floor tiles to crack.

If the commissioning shipping line were to discover such problems upon delivery of the ship, the result would be expensive repair work. Thanks to the work carried out by the metrology engineers using Geomagic Control X, such problems can be rectified at the shipyard. The relevant areas are reworked and the deck surface is leveled by calculating precisely the amount of leveling compound required—meaning no puddles and no passengers arriving at their sunbeds with wet feet.

Figure 2: The deck analysis from Geomagic Control X shows where the data of the CAD model deviates from the actual conditions on site. This knowledge is used to ensure necessary adjustments are made in good time. Image © MEYER WERFT

The deck analysis involves a similar process; the CAD model data is compared with the actual conditions on site and deviations can be identified immediately. The 3D analysis makes it possible to intervene in the construction process if, for example, adjustments are needed due to pipes being positioned at different heights. The 3D analysis also prevents structural complications at a later stage when decorating the interiors.

Geometric Inspections Help Anticipate and Address Deviations

Geometric inspections of the ship’s hull are essential. In the stabilizer used as an example, the edges of the shell surface are incongruent; the scan result is visibly different from the CAD model. In the quality assurance process, the 3D comparison is used to decide whether a deviation due to expected deformation lies within the tolerance range. Zimmermann explains: “The 3D analyses provide us with a clear picture of all deviations. It may be necessary to adjust the component in question if its functionality is restricted, if the deviations generally make it more error-prone, or if it does not comply with safety regulations.”

Fit Check Helps Save Time and Money

It is not uncommon for the client to request changes to areas of a cruise ship or its equipment during construction. Zimmermann says: “In one case, a customer wanted a higher capacity for the lifeboats, which were to be produced by a supplier in Italy. The design of the boats was therefore significantly modified and they no longer had our originally planned dimensions. At the shipyard we had to ensure that the resized boats would still fit in the intended lifeboat davits and could be lowered properly.” A simple comparison of the dimensions (length, width, height) was too risky. Given that the only other viable alternative would have been to transport a lifeboat from Italy to Germany for adjustment, instead it was scanned by MEYER WERFT engineers at the manufacturer’s premises. The metrology department then performed a fit check using Geomagic Control X. The result was positive: the new lifeboats fit perfectly and no further modifications to the ship’s structure were required.

Conclusion

Tools such as laser scanners and powerful software for metrology and quality management have become indispensable in modern shipbuilding. They play a key role in ensuring that components fit together perfectly when assembled, that any changes required can be made in good time, and that the ship is completed and delivered on schedule. Zimmermann explains, “We have to be able to rely on our measurement results at all times. With 3D Systems, we have a reliable partner by our side who understands our needs and is constantly improving the inspection software. This enables us at MEYER WERFT to build amazing cruise ships, ferries, and research vessels.”

easyJet Cuts Aircraft Damage Assessment Time by 80% with Geomagic Control X

Product: Control X
Industry: Aerospace

If you’ve flown anywhere in Europe in the past two decades, chances are good that you’ve flown on easyJet. This leading European low-cost airline brings travelers to more than 30 countries on 600+ routes safely and conveniently, all while offering some of the lowest fares across the continent. How do they do it? With a focus on safety, simplicity, and operational efficiency. easyJet’s engineering organization epitomizes this ethos by putting safety at the heart of everything it does and innovating to continually improve performance and reduce costs.

easyJet assesses aircraft damage faster with Geomagic Control X

Minimizing Aircraft on Ground Time

One of the most important ways that easyJet can minimize delays and keep ticket prices low is reducing Aircraft on Ground (AOG) time. Unplanned AOG events happen when any of the company’s 298 Airbus aircraft are damaged or experience mechanical failures, and can be very costly — not to mention inconvenient to passengers. It’s clear that the faster a damaged aircraft can be checked, the better it is for the airline and its passengers. 

“One of our biggest challenges is to try and reduce the AOG time of aircraft and maintain accurate records when damage occurs,” said Andrew Knight, Fleet Structures Engineer at easyJet. While rare, hail, bird strikes, and other events can potentially damage the wings and fuselage and require inspection before flying again. Checking damage from these types of events has traditionally been a low tech, manual, and time-consuming process that requires maintenance staff to assess aircraft damage using manual measuring tools such as rulers and vernier calipers. Worse still, interpreting the extent of any damage using this technique is highly subjective and not repeatable between staff members. easyJet’s structural engineering team went looking for a modern solution to speed things up and provide more accurate, traceable results.

3D scanned deviation location using Geomagic Control X

Repeatable, Accurate, Mobile 3D Inspection

“We’ve been looking for a system that is easy to use for the maintenance engineer but has the ability to provide more in-depth reports if required by support staff. It must be accurate, repeatable and most of all, mobile, as AOG events can occur anywhere within our network of 136 destinations across Europe,” Knight continued. “The biggest challenge was the software side because it needed to be a simple, easy-to-use interface to obtain a basic damage report, but powerful enough to provide more in-depth details in the support offices. 3D scanning should provide us with accurate, fast damage assessment with repeatable results independent of the experience of the user.”

For these reasons, easyJet turned to 3D Systems reseller OR3D, a UK firm with expertise in 3D scanning and Geomagic software. Robert Wells, a 3D scanning expert at OR3D, reported that “based on easyJet’s requirement to quickly scan large areas — such as the entire wing length of an Airbus A320 — on the tarmac, we recommended a portable handheld 3D scanner. And we knew Geomagic Control X™ was the right software because they needed an automated way to assess dents that was easy for their staff to learn and use.” With this solution, performing a damage assessment on the roughly 70 feet (21 meters) of an A320’s flaps takes just a few hours, compared to several days with wax rubbings on tracing paper, saving easyJet tens of thousands of Pounds/Euros per damage event.

Geomagic Control X inspection shows dent locations to easyJet quickly and accurately

Instant Reporting for Fast Documentation

Once the scans are complete, easyJet engineers can get damage reports from Geomagic Control X software on the spot. They don’t need to load CAD models or align the scan data to anything else in the software, and they don’t need to have deep metrology expertise to get reliable output. Control X uses its CAD engine to automatically create idealized geometry that meets standards for surface continuity that are defined by Airbus, and measures the scanned aircraft against that idealized geometry to provide instant results. Within minutes, easyJet engineers have a consistent, repeatable, and thoroughly documented initial damage report that lets them decide what repairs, if any, are needed before the aircraft can be placed back into service.

Powerful 3D Inspection That’s Easy to Learn

easyJet has embraced Control X for large-scale damage assessments because it’s so accessible for busy engineers with many other responsibilities. Knight remarked on this specifically, saying “engineers will not use the system if it is too complex and requires in-depth software knowledge and/or extensive training.” Control X fulfills these requirements better than any other scan-based inspection software because it’s intuitive, easy to learn, and powerful enough to handle complex measurement scenarios. Anyone familiar with using 3D software can pick up Control X and get results in a matter of minutes, with the flexibility to measure what they need to, without pre-programming or inflexible macros.

What does this new, modern approach to damage inspection mean for easyJet? “We have estimated an approximate 80% savings in time to perform assessments using the 3D systems we currently have with a potential 80% savings in currency terms,” says Knight. There are additional benefits beyond reduced AOG time and better decision-making regarding repairs as well: keeping detailed damage reports, complete with accurate scan data, can help the company years from now when it comes time to sell or return aircraft to their leaseholders.

easyJet’s use of Control X is another example of how simple, intuitive inspection software helps companies ensure quality everywhere by empowering more people to measure more things in more places. Learn more about Geomagic Control X today.

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