High-precision 3D scanning for custom auto chassis design with Artec Eva

Product: Artec Eva
Industry: Automotive and Transportation

Jason Heard doesn’t lose a wink of sleep. Of the hundreds of high-performance chassis that he and his partner Jack Fisher have created over the years, not a single one has ever failed.

When it comes to what can go wrong on a car, especially as it’s racing across the landscape or around a track at breakneck speeds, aside from a major crash, most of what can happen isn’t life-threatening to the driver.

Whether a blown engine, an electrical system failure, or a transmission breakage, these events are rarely fatal. A chassis failure, on the other hand, is almost sure to be lethal.

That’s what makes modern high-performance chassis design such a demanding field. If the design is too lightweight, strength and safety are compromised. But if more material, or stronger ones, are used excessively, then performance is bound to suffer.

Achieving the ultimate strength-to-weight ratio in every project they bring to life is what Southern California chassis design specialists at Tekk Consulting Inc have been doing for years now.

Their pristine reputation in the industry as the guys who “just get it done” means booking clients months in advance and a steady flow of projects from private clients as well as the heavy-hitters in the industry, including several major OEMs, and others.

But it wasn’t always that way. Back in 2018, with more than a decade of chassis design under their belt, Tekk Consulting Inc had reached a point where even though the technical aspects of their work were unquestionably faultless, they were constantly in a race against the clock to complete their projects while maintaining the high standards they’re famous for.

At the time, adding more clients wasn’t possible, and that meant not being able to take on the volume of projects necessary to push to the front of the pack in the insanely competitive industry of chassis design.

So Jason and Jack sat down and scrutinized their workflow from A to Z. They began looking for ways to make it tighter and faster, without sacrificing quality even in the least. One of the first things they focused on was how they were measuring auto bodies, parts, and components.

The traditional method of using calipers, tape measures, and rulers was how they guaranteed that the dimensions were accurate beyond a doubt. But it’s a painfully slow process, slapping on hours and even days to every project.

When they ventured online, they started reading about auto customizers and shops using 3D scanning to replace manual measurement methods. It was saving them hours on each project, they read. One search led to another, and they found their way onto the Artec 3D website.

There the Artec Eva caught their eye. A lightweight handheld 3D scanner, Eva captures millions of points every second, in minutes creating high-accuracy 3D models of auto parts and countless other kinds of objects. So, they picked up the phone and reached out to their local Artec dealer, Artec Ambassador Rapid Scan 3D, to arrange an onsite demo.

Rapid Scan 3D’s Chris Strong recalled the visit, saying, “During the demo, we scanned an off-road vehicle to capture data of the roll cages along with the suspension. These are some of the essential areas that need precise measurements for designing and fitting Tekk Consulting’s custom parts. Some of the challenges of their work include undercuts, suspension that’s in the way, and surfaces that can be difficult to reach or measure. But with Artec Eva, it was obvious right away that they can easily capture all the data they need, including those surfaces that would be tedious and time-consuming to acquire via manual measurement.”

As Heard put it, “That was it. In the first 15 minutes of the demo, we knew that we’d found our answer. So we bought it then and there. Didn’t need any training, it’s that easy to use. We didn’t even take a peek at the manual. We just bought it and then spent the rest of the afternoon scanning everything around the shop. By the end of the day, we had our workflow down pat.”

Since that moment, Tekk Consulting Inc has used their Artec Eva every day, on hundreds of projects including Brad Deberti’s @ThePerformanceTruck, work for the top 10 automakers, as well as all kinds of classics, muscle cars, multiple SEMA projects, and more.

Heard explained, “If you ask anybody who’s anybody in this business, they’ll tell you this: your reputation is your lifeblood. For whatever reason, if that goes out the door, you might as well hang up your hat and call it quits. That means no cutting corners, because safety is everything, and never ever bite off more than you can chew.”

He continued, “Our Artec Eva gives us the power to do more and do it better than we ever did before. With no sacrifices in accuracy or safety. In fact, now we can digitally capture whatever autobody structures or part geometries come our way, no matter how complex. Fast and precise.”

Heard outlined his scanning workflow with Eva:

“For parts and components, I built a little lazy Susan (turntable) that I scan the parts on. If they’re shiny at all, I use a bit of baby powder or spray-on diffuser. That adds something like 1/5000th of an inch in surface coating, so it doesn’t affect the scan quality at all.”

He continued, “Then I just scan the part, two passes for one side, two passes for the other, just to make sure I’ve gotten everything. Then for the machine parts of the component, to get the exact spacing between bolt holes, and the holes themselves, for example, I just draw those in Geomagic Design X after measuring with a micrometer. It’s super easy and crazy fast this way.”

“When we’re scanning autobodies and cabs,” Heard said, “we typically scan in one major ‘geometry pass,’ which means grabbing the big structure. After that, we’ll come back and scan chunks here or there. Then we align these with the scan from the first pass. After this we process the scans in Artec Studio.”

He explained his process in Artec Studio software: “I use the Eraser tool, which lets me easily swipe out anything I don’t want. The base of the lazy Susan, any props, etc. Depending on how much time I have, sometimes I do an auto-alignment, or do it manually, and then after everything’s aligned, I’ll do a Global Registration, etc.”

“But on big cabs and structures, I don’t do Global Registration, I just stick to Sharp Fusion, because that works perfect to keep everything together, looking as sharp as a tack.”

After that, they export the scans over to Design X/SOLIDWORKS 2020, where they start drawing the chassis.

Eva made it possible for Tekk Consulting Inc to maximize the space within the truck (@ThePerformanceTruck), “where the chassis tubes are so perfectly laying against the skin of the truck,” and it also means having extra space within the cab, so your head is far enough away from the chassis itself. As a safety factor, in Heard’s words, “That’s huge.”

In the unfortunate event that the car or truck were to roll over, you always want to have enough distance between you and the chassis. With Eva, they have been able to maximize that to the fullest. “And that’s an epic plus for us. It’s a direct result of having a perfect scan of the body of the car or truck, which then lets us design a chassis that fits it like a glove.”

Every auto customizer who’s ever needed CAD files from an OEM knows about the at-least-occasional frustration of waiting and waiting for them to arrive. To make it worse, when project deadlines are looming closer, and clients are calling you every day, that’s when patience wears thin.

As Heard put it, “If we had to wait around for CAD files before getting down to work, there’s no way we’d be able to achieve the tight deadlines we have, no way. So now we don’t have to wait. We just scan it ourselves, whether it’s a Porsche or a Toyota or a batch of parts, whatever.”

He went on, “And when we compare our scans with Eva to the CAD files that eventually show up? Wow! You wouldn’t believe how closely they match up. Every time. At first we were surprised, but after hundreds of projects, we’ve gotten used to it. Now we don’t even wait for CAD files. We just scan and get down to work. That alone has saved us days of waiting.”

As far as working with classic cars go, rarely if ever do such CAD files exist. That’s when 3D scanning can be a pivotal factor in moving forward on a project. Heard explained, “With Eva, I can scan parts or entire bodies of classics. Then that scan is mine. And it’s perfect to a T.”

He went on, speaking of the possibilities, “I can transform it however I want in Geomagic, 3D print or CNC mill it, or sell it online to one of thousands of shops around the world doing this kind of work. Shops with one, two, or three guys who are fabricators or builders that put out maybe 10 to 20 cars a year, that’s 90% of the industry right there.”

In regards to factory tolerances as part of the manufacturing process, these are also apparent when 3D scanning cabs and bodies straight from the assembly line. According to Heard, “It’s a known fact that CAD files from the OEM don’t take into account manufacturing tolerances. They just don’t.”

He elaborated, “If you’re working with an American car, you could have a 1/4” deviation, and that would be acceptable. On a really expensive foreign car, for example, it’ll be maybe 1/8”. Our scans with Eva are so much tighter than that. So when we see differences between the 3D scans and the CAD files, we take those tolerances into account.”

In terms of being able to scan more in one day than he could ever measure by hand, Heard weighed in, “To give you an example, just yesterday morning I scanned the front suspension for a brand-new Raptor, 360 degrees, everything. Then I scanned five different race seats, added in the mount geometry, and now the scans can be brought into any CAD file when we’re drawing a chassis, so these seats will be perfectly mounted.”

Tekk Consulting Inc has embraced 3D scanning with Eva so fervently that they’ve begun selling their scans online via their digital marketplace at DIYoffroad.com. Over the years they’ve been contacted by hundreds of auto customizers and chassis designers in dozens of countries around the world. And the market is only growing bigger with time.

Heard has been recommending Artec Eva to everyone he can in the industry, without pause. In his words, “I’m totally fine with sharing what we do here. Including details about the amazing tech that we’ve been using. A huge thanks to our Eva, we are where we are today, with a backlog of work and the ability to pick and choose our projects.

Jason Heard envisions a future where, “Every auto shop and designer is going to have their own 3D scanner and 3D printer. The market is already moving in this direction. That’ll mean specialists around the world creating digital assets, using them right there in their shops, or selling them online to other guys.”

He explained further, “An example of what that can look like is this: some guy in Italy takes his Eva and scans a brand new Ferrari, or a classic one, along with whatever parts he wants, fenders, bumpers, etc., and then even hours later he bundles everything together into one package, or customizes it and turns it into a wide-body kit.”

Another facet of the high-performance design work that Tekk Consulting Inc does is Finite Element Analysis (FEA) on scanned components, usually through the thin-shell approximation. This entails capturing the precise dimensions of parts and then analyzing their mechanical strength and stiffness, or how much they can bend and what that deflection looks like in CAD. This process allows them to redesign a component to address a failure point, while ensuring the component performs the same as, or better than, before.

In the past that required hand measuring these components, which often took hours, including double-checking and re-measuring.

But now with their Eva in hand, they’re precisely capturing such parts in minutes. From control arms to swivel joints, roll bars to entire suspensions and more. No re-measuring or second-guessing needed.

Heard explained why that’s so crucial, “It doesn’t matter how amazing your FEA is, if the data going in is flawed, even by just a fraction of an inch, that’s a recipe for disaster. There’s no way you’re going to accurately be able to mathematically bend and twist those components to prevent failure and increase performance. No way.”

He continued, “Our Eva has been such a game-changer for us in this. Now I’ll take a bunch of parts and scan them in before lunch. By the end of the day, we’ve done all our analysis and everything is smoothly on schedule to create the final design.”

To summarize the impact that Eva has had on their work, Heard added, “When you’re trying to build a race car and you have a phase that used to take you 14 to 16 hours in the past, and now it takes you just 2 to 3 hours, that makes a massive difference to us, and that’s not even touching on the accuracy and safety angles of what 3D scanning with Artec Eva has given us.”

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.”
 

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.”

Continental Automotive Group. Changing production requirements are handled easily with digital factory software.

Product: Tecnomatix
Industry: Automotive and Transportation

Tecnomatix Plant Simulation models give planners more flexibility; material flow simulation also increases output and reduces waste.

Making driving safe and comfortable

Continental Automotive GmbH is one of the leading automotive suppliers in the world. The company’s three divisions – Chassis & Safety, Powertrain and Interior – develop and manufacture products that make driving safer (air bags and sensors; brake and chassis control systems), more fuel efficient (gasoline and diesel injection systems) and more fun (infotainment systems and multifunctional displays).

The company’s Regensburg, Germany facility is its biggest electronics plant. In an area of 16,500 square meters (approximately 177,000 square feet), nearly 2,000 employees produce about 67 million electronic devices per year. The plant operates 24/7, running 22 lines for surface-mounted devices (SMDs) along with other product-specific assembly and inspection lines.

The company’s different business units demand quite a lot from the manufacturing planners at the Regensburg plant. Frequent product alternations as well as quantity changes require repeated production line adjustments. To support the planners in this complex effort, the plant established an internal consulting agency, called the “Lean Office,” that provides the business units with an expert production infrastructure and manufacturing expertise. “We offer our customers, the individual business units, a kind of carefree package for the manufacturing of their products,” says Dr. Markus Fischer, head of industrial engineering at Continental Regensburg.

Identifying problems through simulation

The Lean Office increasingly relies on advanced technology, such as the Tecnomatix® software from Siemens PLM Software. This digital manufacturing solution was chosen after a rigorous benchmarking process – involving the production process for side airbag satellites (sensors used to detect an impact) – that turned out 120,000 parts per day, covering more than 200 variants. The task was to simulate material flow between processing stations, starting with preliminary assembly, through to SMD mounting and all the way to customized packaging. After the process was modeled in Tecnomatix Plant Simulation (in two weeks), the resulting simulation won over the plant’s management, and Tecnomatix software was quickly integrated into the Lean Office’s technology portfolio.

The office uses the Tecnomatix material flow simulation functionality to examine and optimize new production lines, as well as to optimize existing ones. The lines can be evaluated and optimized for various parameters, such as throughput, cycle times, performance limits, interferences, and so on. To make reliable predictions, simulation models must map the real line as accurately as possible. Also, modifications must be tracked carefully. Given the frequent product alternations, the goal is to quickly identify potential problems in software and fix them before the actual process begins. “With a simulation, many problems are easily fixed,” explains Stefan Lamken, a process consultant to the Lean Office and key user of Tecnomatix.

Normally at Regensburg Plant, the manufacturing planners design lines with precise and successive processing stations. In this context, a simulation model is used to verify the planned performance of the line. “For our planners, Tecnomatix Plant Simulation is a very interesting tool,” says Fischer. “An offline simulation shows solutions that sometimes surprise even the most experienced colleague.” For example, a multi-product line with up to 100 variants did not reach the theoretical targeted output. An unforeseen bottleneck unbalanced the material flow. The Tecnomatix simulation showed that a processing station was operating too quickly, resulting in jams at subsequent stations. The unexpected solution – slowing down the cycle for that particular station – would have been discovered much later had the simulation not been used.

Supporting sound financial decisions

In another situation, the goal was to increase the output of a production line. Manufacturing planners developed four possible scenarios, noting the cost of each possibility. By evaluating the four alternatives using Tecnomatix simulations, the company was able to see that the most economical approach would meet the desired goal. “We were elated with the software,” recalls Lamken. “With it, we could see that the cheapest concept delivered as much additional output as the most expensive one.” Overall, this is one of the key advantages of the Tecnomatix solution: accurate performance data on which to base financial decisions.

Tecnomatix also saves money by eliminating the need for time-consuming tests on actual production lines. For example, an SMD line occasionally bottlenecked and jammed, requiring operator intervention to resolve the problem. This jeopardized product quality and affected the line’s performance. A cooling buffer solved these problems. A Tecnomatix simulation took the solution a step further by showing how the buffer could also enable higher output. This was determined without performing any physical tests. “The possibilities of a simulation are really great for reducing costs,” says Lamken.

In addition to verifying new and revised production processes, the Lean Office uses Tecnomatix to minimize stock and to reduce waste. Questions regarding the ideal number of work-piece carriers in a line are answered in detail by the soft-ware. At the same time, simulation makes it possible to consider the effects of various external conditions, such as potential supply disturbances and personnel changes. “With Tecnomatix we are able to evaluate various scenarios in the planning stages,” says Fischer. “With this capability, we have the necessary flexibility to perfectly meet customers’ demands.”

Currently, the Lean Office uses Tecnomatix Plant Simulation models on approximately eight projects per year, although that number is growing. “Every manufacturing planner who has experienced the benefits of simulation comes back to us and our services,” says Lamken. “Digital material flow simulation with Tecnomatix has enormous potential at our Regensburg plant.”

Interview: Dan Swartz from Ventrac speaks Synchronous and SEU

Product: Solid Edge
Industry: Automotive abd Transportation

“We looked at other products, but the Solid Edge guys were able to show us what we wanted to see, that it was turning a 2d sheet metal part and put it in 3D. They were the only ones to do that, so we went with their product.”

Dan, how did you get involved in Solid Edge First?

I have a bit of a different background from a lot of Solid Edge users. I never went to engineering school or anything like that. I started in the paint line and worked until I entered the engineering office running autoCAD. Eventually I was doing CAD Admin, and it helped make the decision about moving to Solid Edge. We also looked at other products, but the Solid Edge guys were able to show us what we wanted to see, that it was turning a 2d sheet metal part and put it in 3D. They were the only ones to do that, so we went with their product.

We started using Solid Edge with V19 (approx. 2004, two versions before ST1), coming from AutoCAD. Our lead engineer still starts product designs in AutoCAD, but one of the great things about Solid Edge is that bringing autoCAD data is so easy, and we can keep working on design.

I’ve Heard You’ve Been to Solid Edge University A Couple of Times…

Shortly after we started using the software, we also started attending annual conferences. They weren’t called Solid Edge University back then. We attend meetings in Huntsville, Nashville, Cincinnati, Atlanta.

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These conferences are like family reunions. We were Solid Edge SharePoint beta testers, so we can talk to other beta testers and see how they come with the new versions, other Solid Edge users, and we can always see the demos of the new software. Every year there are always new things, never the same, even though we come to these conferences year after year.

There are so many different classes, you really need to take a look at the agenda and choose and choose your interests. There are so many things you can’t do everything. Ventrac usually sends between 2 and 5 people. That way we can separate and each of us sees the sessions we’re interested in. On the way home we compare notes and then back in the office we update the rest of the Solid Edge users on the things that are most important to us.

I know that for a small business like Ventrac, an event like Solid Edge University was very difficult for us to justify the cost. But we went, and what we discovered is access to information and the people we know, it’s a great way to networking, learn some tips and tricks either from other users, or Siemens professionals themselves! If you are struggling in any area on Solid Edge, this is a place to figure out how to do that! You have classes where users like me are sharing what they do and how they use SE. so it’s very easy to relate to someone there. Like Synchronous, if you don’t know how, it’s scary. But go to SEU, attend a synchronous class, and ask questions about those who are using it.

There are some things that confuse me when I’m at one of these conventions. One is when I see companies that don’t keep up with the software. And also when people don’t even try some of the best new features like Synchronous. I’ll talk to someone and they’ll ask me how I do something, and I’ll tell them, and they could say, “I’ve never seen that before” “What version are you in?” “Oh, we’re in like ST2 or something.” Of course you’re going to miss a lot of great new tools when you never upgrade to the latest version.

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Already using ST9?

ST9 has been available for a couple of weeks, and we’re installing it on our Share Point test server. We used to install the new version when we were using only Solid Edge, but since we now use Solid Edge SharePoint, we performed a trial installation to make sure everything works with Share Point.

Shy or Tidy?

We are a sheet metal shop and we work all our straight brakes. Kids in the store like to see drawings coming from Solid Edge. Most of our things are done in Synchronous, although sometimes we come across things that have to be done neatly. It baffles me why more people don’t use Synchronous. It makes a lot more sense. It’s easy to use, and you don’t have to worry about exploiting features or long rebuild times.

Do you have Any Tips for New Solid Edge Users?

The best advice I can give anyone who asks me what to do? Attend the next SEU, stay up-to-date on maintenance versions and packages, and learn synchronously. As I said before, Synchronous has changed CAD Forever. If you’ve never attended a Solid Edge University, start today! It’s worth the money!

High-precision 3D scanning to design custom chassis with Artec Eva

Product: 3DArtec Eva, Artec Studio, Geomagic Design X
Industry: Automotriz y Transporte

Of the hundreds of high-performance chassis that Jason Heard and his partner Jack Fisher have created over the years, not a single one has failed. When running outdoors or around a track at breakneck speeds, apart from a serious accident, most of what can happen does not endanger the driver’s life. Whether it’s a busted engine, an electrical system failure or a transmission break, these facts are rarely fatal. A chassis failure, on the other hand, is almost certain to be lethal. That’s what makes today’s high-performance chassis designs so demanding. If the design is too light, resistance and safety are at stake. But if more materials are used, or harder, in excess, performance will resent it. Chassis design specialists at Tekk Consulting Inc in Southern California try to achieve maximum strength-to-weight ratio on every custom chassis they build.

Their impeccable reputation in the industry allows them to book customers months in advance and a steady flow of private client projects, some very important, including large OEMs. But it wasn’t always like that. In 2018, with more than a decade of chassis design to its credit, Tekk Consulting Inc. had reached a point where, although the technical aspects of its work were perfect, they were constantly in a race against time to complete their projects while maintaining the high standards for which they are known.

At the time it was not possible to increase the number of customers, and that meant not being able to assume the volume of projects needed to take the lead in the crazy chassis design industry. So Jason and Jack completely analyzed their workflow. They started by looking for ways to do it faster and more effectively, without sacrificing quality in the slightest. One of the first things they focused on was how they were measuring the bodies, parts and components of cars. The traditional method of using gauges, tape metrics, and rules was how they ensured that dimensions were accurate. But it was a terribly slow process, which required hours and even days for each project. They began reading about car customizers and stores that use 3D scanning to replace manual measurement methods. I saved them hours on every project, they read. They soon found their site on artec’s 3D website. Artec Eva caught his eye. A lightweight handheld 3D scanner, Eva captures millions of points every second, in minutes creating high-precision 3D models of auto parts and many other types of objects. So they called their local Artec dealer to arrange an on-site demonstration.

As Heard says, “That’s how it was. In the first 15 minutes of the demonstration, we learned that we had found our answer. So we bought it at the time. I didn’t need any training, it’s that easy to use. We didn’t even read the manual. We just bought it and then spent the rest of the afternoon scanning around the store. At the end of the day, we had our workflow underway.”

Since then, Tekk Consulting Inc has used its Artec Eva every day, in hundreds of projects including Brad Deberti’s @ThePerformanceTruck, jobs for the top 10 automakers, as well as all kinds of classics, muscle cars, multiple SEMA projects, and much more. Heard explained: “If you ask someone who works in this business, they’ll tell you this: your reputation is your life. Regardless of the reason, you don’t have to take shortcuts, because safety is everything, and never ever bite more than you might want. That means you don’t have to take shortcuts, because safety is everything, and never ever bite more than you can chew.” He continues, “Our Artec Eva gives us the power to do more and better than ever before. Without sacrificing accuracy or safety. In fact, we can now digitally capture any body structure or partial geometry presented to us, no matter how complex. Fast and accurate.”

I heard you described your scanning workflow with Eva: “For the parts and components, I built a small turntable on which I scanned the parts. If they are bright, I use some baby talcum powder or an aerosol diffuser. That adds something like 1/5000 inch to the surface lining, so it doesn’t affect the scan quality at all.” He continued: “Then I scan the piece, two passes on one side, two passes on the other, just to make sure I have it all. Then for the parts of the component machinery, to get the exact space between the bolt holes, and the holes themselves, for example, only draw them in Geomagic Design X after measuring them with a micrometer. That’s super easy and fast.” “When we’re scanning bodies and cabs,” Heard says, “we usually scan geometry broadly first. Then more slowly we’re going to scan parts of here or there. Then we align them with the scan of the first pass. After this we process the scans in Artec Studio.”

He explained his process in the Artec Studio software: “I use the Eraser tool, which allows me to easily erase everything I don’t want. The base of the turntable, any accessories, etc. Depending on how long I have, sometimes I do a self-alignment, or do it manually, and then after everything is aligned, I make a Global Record, etc.” “But in large cabins and structures, I don’t do Global Registration, I just limit myself to Sharp Fusion, because it works perfect to keep everything together and compact. After that, the scans are exported to Design X/SOLIDWORKS 2020, where they begin designing the chassis.

Eva made it possible for Tekk Consulting Inc. to maximize the space inside the truck (@ThePerformanceTruck), “where the chassis tubes are perfectly positioned against the truck deck,” which also means having extra space inside the cab, so that the head is far enough away from the chassis itself. As a safety factor, in Heard’s words, “It’s a pass.”

In the event that the car or truck is overturned, there should always be sufficient distance between the chassis and the head. With Eva, they’ve been able to maximize this. “And that for us is an incredible plus. It is the direct result of having a perfect scan of the car or truck body, which allows us to design a chassis that fits like a glove.”

Every car customizer that has ever needed CAD files from an OEM knows of the frustration, even from time to time, of waiting and waiting for them to arrive. When project deadlines approach and customers despair, that’s when patience runs out. As Heard says, “If we had to wait for CAD files before we get to work, there would be no way we could meet the tight deadlines we have, by any means. Now we don’t have to wait. We scan it ourselves, whether it’s a Porsche or a Toyota or a batch of parts, whatever.”

“And when we compare our scans with Eva with the CAD files that finally appear… wow! You wouldn’t believe how similar they are. At first we were surprised, but after hundreds of projects, we got used to it. Now we don’t even wait for CAD files. We just scan and get to work. That alone has saved us days of waiting.”

When it comes to working with classic cars, rarely, if ever, are such CAD files. That’s when 3D scanning becomes a decisive factor in the project. Heard explained: “With Eva, I can scan entire parts or chassis of classic cars.” He continued, talking about the possibilities, “I can transform it however I want into Geomagic, print it in 3D or mill it with CNC, or sell it online to companies around the world that do this kind of work. Stores with few workers who are manufacturers or builders and produce between 10 and 20 cars a year, thus operating 90% of the sector.” As for manufacturing tolerances as part of the process, these are also noticeable when scanning 3D cabs and bodies directly from the assembly line. According to Heard, “CAD files from OEMs are known to not take into account manufacturing tolerances.” He explains, “If you work with an American car, you could have a 1/4 deviation,” and that would be acceptable. In a really expensive foreign car, for example, it will be maybe 1/8″. Our scans with Eva are much more accurate than that. So when we look at the differences between 3D scans and CAD files, we consider those tolerances.”

Much more can be scanned in a day than can be measured by hand, Heard said: “For example, yesterday morning I scanned the front suspension of a new Raptor, 360 degrees, everything. Then I scanned five different race seats, added to the frame geometry, and now the scans can be taken to any CAD file when we are designing the chassis, so these seats will be perfectly mounted.”

Tekk Consulting Inc. has enthusiastically adopted 3D scanning with Eva that they have started selling their scans online through their digital market in DIYoffroad.com. Over the years they have been contacted by hundreds of car customizers and chassis designers in many countries around the world. And the market just makes it grow. Heard has been recommending Artec Eva to everyone in the sector. In his words, “I totally agree to share what we do here. Including details about the amazing technology we’ve been using. Thanks to our Eva, we are where we are today, with a lot of backlog and the ability to choose our projects.” Jason Heard imagines a future in which, “Every car workshop and designer will have their own 3D scanner and printer. The market is already moving in this direction. Specialists around the world will create digital content, for use in their stores, or to sell online to other customers.”

He also tells us: “An example: an Italian takes his Eva and scans a new Ferrari, or a classic one, with the parts he wants, fenders, bumpers, etc., and hours later he put it all together in a pack, or customizes it and turns it into a wide body kit.”

Another aspect of Tekk Consulting Inc.’s high-performance design work is Finite Element Analysis (FEA) on scanned components, usually through thin layer approximation. This involves capturing the precise dimensions of the parts and then analyzing their mechanical strength and stiffness, or how much they can bend and what that deviation looks like in the CAD. This process allows them to redesign a component to solve a point of failure, while ensuring that the component works the same or better than before.

In the past that required hand-measuring these components, which often took hours, including double checking and re-measuring. But now with their Eva in hand, they’re accurately capturing those pieces in minutes. From the control axes to the swivel joints, the anti-roll bars to the entire suspensions. There is no need to re-measure or recalculate.

Heard explained why that’s so crucial, “No matter how surprising your FEA is, if the data coming in is faulty, even for a fraction of a millimeter it can be a disaster. There is no way to improve those systems if they already come with measurement errors.” “Our Eve has been a big change for us. Now I’m going to take a lot of pieces and scan them before lunch. By the end of the day, we’ll have done all the tests and everything will be ready to create the final design.” To sum up the effect Eva has had on her work, Heard adds, “When you build race cars and there was a phase that used to take you 14 to 16 hours, and now it only takes you 2 to 3 hours, it’s a huge difference, not to mention the precision and safety that Artec Eva offers us.”