The Future of 3D Scanning: The Effects on Industrial Quality Control

With customers continuing to demand high-quality products, the 3D scanning industry is adapting manufacturing processes to improve efficiency and accuracy. Due to this, the quality control team within a company needs to be able to ensure every product is produced to the highest standards and meets original designs. With this increased responsibility, quality control teams are looking for the latest technology to ensure all products meet customer demands. Handheld 3D scanners have quickly become an industry standard, allowing precise measurement with consistently accurate readings. Automating the process has improved on previous basic metrology techniques, this removes room for human error and reduces the overall process time. Laser trackers allow speed, accuracy, mobility, and increased fields of view, combining to reduce labour hours, and creating flexibility for quality control teams.

One example of the benefits of using 3D scanners can be seen within the castings industry. Due to the inspection equipment turning measurements into a point cloud digital model, this allows casting layouts to be compared against original drawings and specifications digitally, a much more efficient process than the previous manual method. Using the laser probes has reduced the process to an average time of 6 to 10 hours, a process that used to take between 7 to 10 days when completed manually. In addition to this improvement in efficiency, the castings industry has also seen an increase in accuracy, many report improvements in dimensional control for castings and multiple process inputs. Similar processes can also be implemented in the tooling industry, the forms used to produce tools have to be regularly checked to ensure continual accuracy in shape, despite large volume usage. Once products are completed, 3D scanners allow comparison to original CAD models to ensure accurate production processes.

Using 3D scanning equipment with robotics arms allows fast model capture, this suits quality inspection processes for products produced on a conveyor production line. Automation has revolutionised the process; some robotic arms can be set to scan without having a pre-programmed trajectory set. The scanner will scan the surface of the product; the autonomous process will detect if data has been collected fully, re-scanning problematic areas for accurate data collection. This process is particularly useful for inspecting a large volume of products that vary in size. Other 3D scanners allow the user to ‘guide’ the robotic arm over the product; the system will then learn the pathway and replicate this when scanning a large quantity of items.

The precise measurements achieved through the use of 3D scanners is revolutionising the manufacturing process. Quality control teams now have the ability to test a large volume of products through an efficient and accurate system. With continuous investment into automating the industrial process, the use of 3D scanners will soon be a standard; this will ensure high-quality is achieved with every product.

Manchester Metrology Ltd is a leading supplier of metrology equipment including 3D scanners such as the Faro Arm, Faro Gage, Einscan Pro and ROMER Arm. For those on a budget, Manchester Metrology also offers a range of used metrology equipment with various software and training options available.

Manchester Metrology’s skilled team of engineers offer training courses for all the major metrology software including; Polyworks, Geomagic, CAM2 Measure 10 and Delcam Powerinspect. In addition, Manchester Metrology has a wide range of metrology equipment available for hire. They also stock a wide range of metrology and inspection accessories; their online store can be found here.

If you would like to speak to a member of our team to find out more about our metrology services, call on 0161 6378744 or contact us here.