How 3D scanning improves quality control for heavy equipment

Product: HandySCAN Industry: Automotive and Transportation

  Initial Sampling of Components and Checking Serial Parts with the Handyscan 3D As well as being innovative in developing and building its wheel loaders, the long-established company Atlas Weyhausen GmbH is also innovative in its quality assurance: Since the start of 2011, the company has used the Handyscan 3D three-dimensional scanner from Creaform with Geomagic software to measure components and equipment, but also for data feedback from prototype parts. Atlas Weyhausen has produced wheel loaders for the construction industry, garden and landscaping works, agriculture, materials handling and recycling for more than 40 years, with an emphasis on quality and innovation. This means that the Quality Assurance department plays a crucial role in the medium-sized company.

The Old and the New Measuring System

Although traditional measuring systems such as coordinate measuring arms were used for quality assurance in the past, the decision was taken in 2011 to move with the times and the search began for a more innovative and flexible measuring system. The measuring arm could only record individual measuring points, not complete surfaces. The arm was not suitable for use in changing working environments either, as it constantly had to be recalibrated and installed in stable working environments; vibrations or instabilities in the working environment produced inaccurate measuring results. Even a potential additional scanning attachment for the measuring arm failed to convince. During the search for a new, more flexible system, Creaform was one of the companies invited to present their portable 3D measuring system. The Handyscan 3D Scanner impressed people almost from the start. The portable self-positioning Handyscan 3D Scanner generates precise and reproducible high-resolution 3D data. The integrated TRUaccuracy technology allows dynamic referencing, so that the part to be measured can be moved during the 3D scanning process. There is no rigid setup, as was the case with measuring arms. Mr. Ralf Vosteen, Quality Assurance employee, explains: “The major benefit of the scanner is clear to see: Freeform surfaces are easy to align, along with 3D data. A further benefit is also the data feedback into our CAD system.” Atlas Weyhausen is now using the Handyscan 3D with Geomagic Quality and Studio software for initial sampling of new components and to check serial parts in particular. The enterprise is increasingly encountering situations, however, where several installed components have to be inspected in their installed location, or where some equipment has to be recorded abroad at the supplier’s location itself. The scanner is also used to feed back data for prototype parts that are manufactured in-house for prototype production.

Scanning and Reverse Engineering a Display Shell

One project where the Handyscan 3D with Geomagic software was used was the series production of the display shell for wheel loaders. The benefits of the handy 3D scanner were clear here: The first prototype parts were scanned in for measuring, aligned on the 3D model in the Geomagic Qualify software, and a color comparison was carried out to identify deviations. A section was placed in the scan to check individual dimensions. This allows all the relevant dimensions to be checked so that the tool can then be released for production. A number of features are also checked directly in the scan. The project could also have been carried out without the 3D scanner from Creaform, but that would have entailed great effort as it would only have been possible to record individual measuring points with the old measuring arm and the complete display shell could not have been digitized.
Using the Handyscan saves Atlas Weyhausen time and money, because the handy Handyscan 3D is easy to use in any location and can digitize even complex items in a very short time. It also means that production equipment and the parts manufactured with this equipment can be checked on site at supplier’s premises, and results can be evaluated immediately. Even air travel is no obstacle here, as the device can be carried in hand luggage. Having digital files for a component is a further benefit for the company. When a complete scan is created during initial sampling, for example, measurements can be taken later at any time, as the initial sample exists digitally. This has already been useful to Atlas Weyhausen a number of times. The steel construction of a new driver’s cab and various paneling sections have been digitized, for example, and the CAD files that are created are now available at any time for comparisons. Mr. Vosteen, Quality Assurance employee at Atlas Weyhausen, is enthusiastic: “Handling the scanner is child’s play: You don’t have to secure the component to be tested and you only have to set a few positioning points on the part to be measured so that the laser scanner aligns itself with the surface to be scanned. Then you can start scanning. I think it is important that Creaform don’t just make promises; they also keep them, and I only have good reports from that perspective. If problems arise, you can always contact an employee by phone who can give advice or put you in touch with someone else. It is also commendable that Creaform frequently offer workshops where you can make contact with other users as well.”

Digitizing metal tools and carbon fiber composite parts with the HandySCAN 3D

Product: HandySCAN 3D
Industry: Machinery and Industrial Equipment

The EADS (European Aeronautics, Defense and Space Company) is an international leader in the aerospace, defense and related services sectors. The company has been using Creaform’s portable 3D measurement products for several years.

More specifically, EADS uses HandySCAN as the MetraSCAN optical CMM scanner to digitize tools and composite parts (carbon/epoxy resin) and to develop comparisons between parts and CAD files. To perform probes, EADS uses the HandyPROBE optical CMM scanner. In addition to VXelements, creaform system data acquisition software, EADS also uses the VXtrack module to perform dynamic measurements, as well as VXlocate, a software module developed through a partnership between Creaform and EADS.

HandySCAN 3D Application Example

As part of a study on the possible geometric distortion of carbon fiber composite parts, and with the help of a HandySCAN 3D device, EADS scanned 1,000 mm x 800 mm tools, as well as 650 x 300 mm parts, in order to evaluate possible deformations after manufacture.

Tool Parts

First, EADS scanned the tools to verify that they met the CAD plan.

Escaneado de herramientas con el HandySCAN 3D

Two of the parts made with this tool were then scanned and the results compared.

Scanning Parts and Results

The second step was to use very powerful simulation tools to calculate the distortion of the parts before they were manufactured, with the aim of comparing the files of the scanned parts.



The results obtained by EADS allowed to validate the simulation software, developed to optimize the manufacturing range by identifying appropriate parameters and processes.

This project could have been carried out with a peripheral projection scanning system, but the system of these characteristics that EADS possesses cannot be used on such wide surfaces, and the process is much more complex when the two sides of the composite parts are to be measured. In addition, a CCM scanner could have been used, but this option had several drawbacks, as unique measurements had to be made which, in turn, lead to a much longer acquisition time.

“The Creaform system allowed us to quickly scan metal tools and carbon fiber composite parts. Many of the systems available on the market do not work very well with these composite parts, since they are dark in color and sometimes quite bright. The fact that the equipment was portable allowed us to perform measurements at the same manufacturing plant,” explained Catherine Bosquet of EADS’ Healthcare Engineering Department (NDT &shm).

“Before using Creaform systems we used peripheral projection equipment, as we acquired a HOLO3 system more than 15 years ago. We also tested some of the available systems (Konica Minolta, Metris, Steinbichler, Aicon, Kreon Technologies, Ettemeyer, GOM), but Creaform’s 3D measurement solutions convinced us thanks to their rapid acquisition and configuration, ease of use, performance in measuring many types of surface states and portability. He is in charge of the management, strategic direction and development of the entire Creaform Group, as well as its offices around the world.”