FARO measurement technologies have been selected by leading automotive companies to support their production processes in different areas such as research and development, pre-production, production and digital factory & facility management.
In this brief blog post we will give you an overview of the research and development applications, the core of innovation processes and the backbone on which the success of a company in today’s hyper-competitive market depends on.
Clay Studios – CNC Cutter Paths
If the creative act of determining and defining a car‘s form takes place prior to the physical production, clay studios must be used to generate data for CAD and CAM software, and CNC cutter paths for model machining.
Clay studios were one of the first in the automotive industry to implement scanning technology into their day-to-day processes to convert the physical model into CAD, which can then be used as a reference for all further developments.
The configurable FARO optical scanning solutions can easily be moved around the workshop and used to scan the entire surface of the model, quickly collecting all the necessary data for successive processing. Scanned data are also used to generate CNC cutter paths to allow subsequent machining or for reverse engineering.
Using virtual models, designers and bodywork specialists can analyse and compare different design options. Single parts as well as entire sub-assemblies can be assessed in terms of geometry, dimensions and form all in the digital domain.
FARO’s 3D portable measuring systems allow development engineers to move physical samples into the CAD realm to build virtual models for dimensional analysis, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and finite element analysis (FEA). Virtual design testing can also be completed for failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) analysis.
Crash testing is performed to determine the dimensional impact on a vehicle or on some specific components when crashing an object at a given speed. Quality can be a matter of life or death and minimizing the impact of accidents e.g. with the aid of improved safety systems can be decisive for passenger survival.
FARO systems allow users to measure the entire vehicle before and after the crash. A comparison of the two sets of scanned data can then be performed by engineers to analyse and evaluate the dimensional impact of the crash.
Tests may be part of a R&D development cycle as the manufacturers look for ways to improve the quality of passive safety systems such as crumple zones, roll pillars and seat belts. But tests can also be carried out by test centres with the aim of providing objective assessments of component and car safety for OEMs or verifying and certifying that vehicles and parts meet regulatory requirements.
The FARO hardware and software are part of an efficient workflow in order to produce deformation reports or safety certificates with minimal effort.
Benchmarking – Analysis of Competitive Vehicles
The term “benchmarking” has been used to describe the process where one OEM evaluates the products of competitors such as entire vehicles, parts and assemblies. Automakers continue to look for any advantage they can find to stay ahead of their competition.
Rather than taking a select number of measurements on a given part, FARO solutions ensure complete part coverage with the possibility to digitize the entire object surface and generate a 3D CAD model.
FARO’s optical measurement systems allow users to seamlessly scan across diverse surface materials regardless of contrast, reflectivity or part complexity, and to capture intricate components in fine detail. The scan data enables an optimal understanding of the dimensional characteristics of the competitor’s products to be obtained. No time intensive pre-programming for single part capturing is needed.
Despite the availability of design data, companies are still using solid models in original size to analyse the characteristics of vehicles and individual components. The aim of Cubing is to bring parts and components together and evaluate how they fit each other. Once parts are mounted on a structure that replicate and simulate a real configuration, they can be measured and their reciprocal alignment checked and documented.
The solid model is based on a flexible frame with adjustable fixings, allowing a quick configuration of the car parts and components. Cubing inspection with the FARO solutions enables users to detect production issues early on in the development process of a vehicle so that problematic parts can be easily identified. This procedure is also particularly helpful for supplier support.
The process of manufacturing special aftermarket accessories or customized components can benefit by using the FARO measurement systems as an ideal solution for reverse engineering the source vehicles. Design elements to be modified can be scanned using the FARO optical solutions in order to generate the CAD models that will then form the basis of the design activity.
Prototypes can be created, via traditional methods or 3D Printing and then attached to the source item and further checked by using the FARO solution to ensure that they match the CAD design drawings. Further modifications can be made to the physical prototype directly to improve the fit or enhance the design and then measured again to incorporate any changes into the CAD drawing.
Using the FARO augmented reality technology, digitally designed components can be easily compared, in the virtual domain, to real parts or physical mockups for the first design review and to check the fit.
The next generation of automated probes offer advanced in-process inspection for integration and infrastructure at minimal costs.
The FARO Factory Array Imager is a scanner with extremely high accuracy for contactless measurements which, with its blue-light technology measurement, within seconds computes several million 3D coordinates on component surfaces – regardless of colour, texture, reflectance or ambient light.
Structured light and stereo recordings open up new possibilities in 3D measurement & inspection and reverse engineering. The new optical 3D measurement system by FARO, the FARO Factory Array Imager, combines the two processes and complements them with high-performance 3D processing.
The combination of flexibility, portability, speed and accuracy makes the compact and light FARO Factory Array Imager an ideal but cost-effective solution for 3D data capture or reverse engineering of components or modules in many different industries, such as automotive, aviation and space flight, and mechanical and plant engineering.
The FARO Factory Array 3D Imager is a metrology-grade, non-contact scanner, which utilizes blue light technology to capture millions of high-resolution 3D coordinate measurements in seconds.
Ideal for the production environment and easily deployed within manual or automated manufacturing workflows, Array Imager delivers fast and consistent measurements, independent of the operator, for quality inspection and reverse engineering applications on parts, assemblies, and tools.
Cobalt’s versatility supports a variety of deployment options including rotary stage, industrial robot inspection cells and multiple imager arrays.
Technical key features that support challenging applications include, among other, the following:
> Multiple Imager Arrays: Expand field of view with flexible configurations of multiple Array units operating simultaneously
> On-Board Processing: Delivers fast, reliable performance and ease of integration
> Stereo Cameras: Enable high accuracy, stability and self-monitoring
> Enhanced Stereo Mode: Maximizes coverage area in each scan and shortens inspection time
> Interchangeable Lenses: Provide flexibility for multiple fields of view
The most significant benefits of the new FARO Factory Array 3D Imager:
> Increase productivity by automating measurement workflows
> Multiply productivity with multiple imager arrays
> Real-time 3D data for statistical process control (SPC)
> Measurement accuracy ensured by self-monitoring
> Easy to configure and integrate
> Easy set-up and transport
Do you want to learn more about the FARO Factory Array 3D Imager?
Please click here for more information or contact us by phone 00800-3276-7253
During the next few weeks, we will post more details about the key features of the new FARO Factory Array 3D Imager!
When it comes to safety, care is the top priority. At Indi- Kar in Wilkau-Haßlau near Zwickau, safety is accurately and almost invisibly incorporated. Armoured steel is very easily concealed within the bodies of production cars and provides optimum protection inconspicuously but effectively. At IndiKar Individual Karosseriebau GmbH, a member of the WELP Group, the name says it all. The individual modification of car bodies is particularly in demand; special protection vehicles are just one aspect of this. Other important business areas include small batch production and prototypes, which are used at trade shows for example. When the company was founded in 2003, there were initially 20 members of staff; it now employs 156 people.
With the success and increasing number of employees, the car body manufacturers have also upgraded their technology. The requirements are becoming increasingly varied, and standards of precision and quality are increasing with experience. So for many years, as well as a double-stand measuring machine, a portable FARO coordinate measuring device and the software PolyWorks have been used to check whether everything fits together.
After initially using a FaroArm with a Laser Line Probe V3, a FARO Edge with Laser Line Probe HD (a 3D laser scanner attached to the FARO Edge ScanArm HD) has now been added to Indi- Kar’s portfolio of efficient FARO measuring systems. “When upgrading our measuring equipment, flexibility was key,” recalls Sascha Dorst, Head of Prototype Construction and Measuring Technology.
The daily challenges consist of ever changing measuring tasks on a wide repertoire of parts. A perfect habitat for a FARO Edge ScanArm HD, which enables both precise tactile and remote measurement in just one operation. In addition, the measuring probe for tactile measurement and the Laser Line Probe for remote scanning can be used alternately for digitisation, without needing to remove any other components.
In two previous posts, we have highlighted four key factors that work in harmony to optimize the performance of the Laser Line Probe HD, namely the attached 3D laser scanner of the FARO Edge ScanArm HD: the laser type, the optics, the frame rate and the laser line width.
Considering that the speed at which a camera of a Laser Line Probe captures a scanned area is measured in frames per second, we would like to emphasize that the Laser Line Probe HD’s camera uses the most advanced chipset available to deliver the fastest possible frame rate of 280 frames per second (fps). Frame rate refers to the number of times per second that the camera gathers new data on the part being scanned.
For the user the benefits are immediately evident: Higher frame rate produces faster scanning with superior resolution, delivering greater productivity. A frame rate of 280 fps delivers 2.8 times the scanning speed of a frame rate set at 100 fps. A higher frame rate also delivers superior scan resolution, because sampling a part with more points provides better reconstruction of the original part from the scanned image. Scanners with low (100 fps) frame rates are prone to producing gaps or blurs in measurement data if they were to move at the same travel speed as the Laser Line Probe HD across a part.
Intricate components can be captured in fine detail as a result of the 2,000 actual points per scanline and the new blue laser featuring noise reduction technology. Combined with the fast frame rate, the Laser Line Probe HD provides 560.000 points/second.
Do you want to learn more about the FARO Edge ScanArm HD and its Laser Line Probe HD?
Please download our tech sheet or contact us by phone 00800 3276 7253!
During the next weeks, we will post more details about the Key Design Parameters and Features that are seamlessly integrated in the FARO Laser Line Probe HD to deliver simultaneous high-definition resolution and fast scanning!
The company GTR has built a business that is now firmly established as a leading composite part supplier to the demanding motorsport market.
With regards to ease of use and impressive accuracy, GTR preferred the quality of the point clouds created by the Edge ScanArm HD when scanning.
So the FARO Edge ScanArm has helped GTR to perform a range of non-contact 3D inspection routines and to accurately capture complex and free-form surface data as a detailed 3D point cloud.
When asked about ways to improve racing cars’ performance, Colin Chapman, the founder of the iconic Lotus brand replied. “Simplify, then add lightness”. If he was alive today the innovative designer would be fascinated to see the practical application of his tongue in cheek advice, with the widespread adoption of composites throughout the world of motorsport.
The extraordinary strength to weight ratio of composite materials has enabled F1 and other series to design cars that use semi-monocoque chassis, wings, spoilers, and other parts, made from composites materials that are significantly lighter and stronger. This results in cars that are both faster and safer.
Motorsport’s transition to the use of composites as a preferred material has been aided by a small number of highly specialised companies that have the required levels of composite design and production expertise.
One such concern is GTR, the company’s founders, John Biddlecombe and Simon Kingdon-Butcher, have built a business that is now firmly established as a leading composite part supplier to the demanding motorsport market. In addition GTR now supplies the aerospace, defence, marine and automotive markets.
As many composite parts are manufactured to demanding dimensional tolerances to ensure engineering reliability and best possible aerodynamic characteristics, they present a range of problems to the metrology industry. Not only must measuring equipment exhibit the required levels of accuracy and repeatability, the dynamic nature and the continuous evolution of designs within the F1 and the aerospace market demands speed of inspection and instant data capture
Troy Hull, GTR Quality Manager explained. “Our knowledge of the use of composite within motorsport is second to none. We manufacture everything from chassis, suspension, wing assemblies and bodywork to the smallest of fairings. Now, the vast experience we have gained in this most demanding of areas has enabled GTR to gain contracts for the manufacture of composite components, mouldings and assemblies for other challenging sectors such as the defence, aerospace, automotive and gas and oil industries.
“In addition to the quality of our work, a major factor in GTR’s success is our ability to react quickly to our customers’ needs. Having invested in the best available design systems including Catia V5 and Siemens NX CAD, we are able to rapidly take all projects from concept to fully designed products tooling and on to manufacture. Our first-class production facilities, such as our 3.0M diameter autoclave, one of the five we have on site, and state-of-the-art clean rooms also add to the speed of our service.
“In accordance with our policy of providing our customers with premium quality components as quickly as possible, we recently searched for a measuring technology that would both enhance our accuracy capability and further increase our inspection throughput speed.
“Having looked at several other alternatives, we purchased an Edge ScanArm HD from FARO. In addition to its ease of use and impressive accuracy, we preferred the quality of the point clouds created by the Edge ScanArm HD when scanning. Compared to other systems, the FARO product also performed much better when scanning across a range of materials with different colours and reflective properties.
“Following a short training course, four of our operators were able to quickly understand the Edge ScanArm’s basic operation. Then, as it is so easy to use, they gained further knowledge in everyday use. All are now extremely proficient in the Edge ScanArm’s use.
“We use the FARO Edge ScanArm HD to perform a range of non-contact 3D inspection routines and to accurately capture complex and free-form surface data as a detailed 3D point cloud. We scan a wide variety of components, including items such as 5 meter aerospace wings and F1 gearbox components, down to the smallest of parts. Through the use of our ScanArm we are able to undertake first article inspection and to precisely digitise previously difficult to inspect features such as flush and gap. In addition to being quick and accurate, as FARO laser scanning is so easy to perform, we are able to verifying the most awkward of features and to include their dimensions in 3D documentation and comprehensive, easy to understand inspection reports.
“We also use the FARO Edge ScanArm HD to check components’ complex geometries against design or CAD comparison to ensure that their surface forms remain within tolerance. Additionally, on the rare occasion that no CAD files or drawings exist, we sometimes need to reverse engineer parts. The ScanArm allows us to perform a rapid scanning routine and to digitise a part and create a fully surfaced accurate CAD model for future use.
“Our Edge ScanArm HD has lived-up to each of the promises made by FARO. It has further enhanced our inspection precision levels, speeded-up our measuring routines and vastly improved our component data capture capability.”
The FARO Edge ScanArm HD combines the flexibility and the functionalities of a FARO Edge measuring Arm with the high-definition Laser Line Probe HD creating a powerful contact/non-contact portable measurement system that is ideal for challenging application requirements. It delivers rapid point cloud collection with extreme resolution and high accuracy without the need for any special coatings or target placement – all in a compact and easy-to-use system.
The systems extra wide scan stripe and fast frame rate boosts productivity by increasing coverage and reducing scanning time. Intricate components can be captured in fine detail as a result of the 2,000 actual points per scanline and the new blue laser featuring noise reduction technology. Users are able to dramatically reduce required training time with the new crosshair feature and existing LED Rangefinder functionality, which provides real-time scanning feedback.
The Edge ScanArm HD is a most affordable, high performance contact/non-contact measurement system and is ideal for a wide range of situations, including product development, inspection, and quality control and offers capabilities such as point cloud comparison with CAD, rapid prototyping, reverse engineering, and 3D modelling of free-from surfaces.
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Based in New Hudson, Michigan, Pratt & Miller is a world-class engineering company that takes automotive programs from concept to reality. They are a respected industry leader providing cutting-edge engineering and manufacturing solutions to their clients. Their total design team uses the most advanced research and development technologies available. Pratt & Miller performs first-article inspection for most parts; reverse engineers models, fabricated parts, and any purchase parts that lack accurate CAD; and verifies complicated bodywork, surface features, machine parts, and full interiors. Basically, they measure everything from small components to complete race cars.
Measuring with hand tools is time consuming and creates inaccuracies due to individual error. These tools also did not provide Pratt & Miller with the means to measure its more complicated parts and freeform surfaces without undesirable contact. This work had to be farmed out and they lost direct control of data.
FARO provided the accuracy Pratt & Miller was looking for at the speed they need. They have the utmost confidence in the results they getfrom FARO. Co-founder Gary Pratt says, “We use FARO to design, construct, and analyze ‘virtual’ components, CFD, systems, and complete cars – every facet of a project from initial conception to the finished product.”
The FARO ScanArm was selected for its portability, flexibility, accuracy, compact design, and reputation. Mike Kurylo, a design engineer at Pratt & Miller, says, “The quality of the FARO equipment, the ease of training, and the knowledge of their support are all first rate. Their customer service goes well above and beyond what one would expect from such a globally recognized technology firm. It feels like having your own pit crew!”
Gary Latham, a lead engineer at Pratt & Miller, says, “FARO is incredibly useful with our tight timeframes. About 30-40 percent of our parts are manufactured in the workshop and they need to be entered into CAD and now we can do that easily with faster data capture.” They also use the ScanArm in their Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to fill in any missing pieces of the puzzle. FARO returns control of the data process to Pratt & Miller and eliminates the need to farm out projects.
In today’s ever increasingly competitive conditions, Pratt & Miller is always searching for every last bit of performance enhancement – be it in the form of speed, time, accuracy, or efficiency. FARO answers the call on each of these.
The most intelligent design solutions are centered on the integration of the best tools. Pratt & Miller engineers use the most up-to-date and powerful computer software and hardware in existence. The next logical step for them was a FARO solution.
“We’re constantly updating, expanding technology and FARO opened new parameters in manufacturing and engineering for us,” Gary Pratt says. “FARO has really opened our eyes and they’ve been fantastic for us. Once you get something like this, you can’t see how you did without it.”
Regardless of what the logo says and in no matter which country an automobile was assembled, the result is produced by multi-tonne presses marked with a single name: Schuler.
Schuler’s origins stretch back 175 years and with revenue exceeding one billion, Schuler is a global giant among press manufacturers.
The FaroArm Platinum and FARO Vantage Laser Tracker both offer Schuler mobility for measuring as you can set them up quickly and easily, and also portability as they can be brought to the site where your equipment is assembled with minimal effort. For this reason Schuler values these systems highly, and sees great potential for the TrackArm in the future.
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Quality controls are an essential part of the production process. The producer of exclusive sport cars, Spyker, knows all about it. Each model is made by hand in order to ensure the highest quality vehicle time and time again. And that requires upmost precision and comprehensive quality control.
Thus, Skyper eventually ended up with FARO as a partner. The high accuracy of the FAROArm Prime in combination with it’s ease of use and wide-range meant it was ideal for the in-house inspection Spyker needed to carry out.
The FAROArm Prime delivers the highest FaroArm accuracy at an amazing value. The Prime is the ideal solution for measurements in inspection, reverse engineering, CAD-to-part analysis and for anywhere else a high-accuracy, hard-probing measurement solution is needed.
When it comes to quality assurance at the automotive supplier Mürdter, nothing is left to chance. Each product is checked with a FARO measuring arm in order to guarantee that only flawless components are distributed to their customers.
Mürdter specialise in metal and plastic processing and every day the development engineers at Mürdter ask themselves the same basic question: How can we make this component even lighter without sacrificing quality?