Dec.30, 2013

General Motors has recently issued an official document explaining how the company is using 3D scanning technologies for competitive benchmarking and for streamlining the design development process.

General Motors' Competitive Benchmarking uses light scanning to capture precise 3D images of competitor vehicles' structures and components. Complete sets of scans become reverse-engineered computer models for comparing to GM designs. The team also dismantles and scans GM vehicles to validate parts, quality check manufacturing processes and troubleshoot part irregularities.

"3-D scanning is a time-efficient and cost-effective way of keeping up with rapid advancements being made all over the industry," said Larry Pecar, senior supervisor, GM Competitive Benchmarking. "The technology also allows us to gain a better understanding of the reasons for other automakers' recalls so that we are better able to avoid making the same mistakes."

The technology projects a red, white or blue light pattern onto the vehicle surface while an advanced camera or sensor captures its contours and records where the object is in space and its orientation.

While any one of these systems can scan small parts to complete vehicles, blue and white light works best at capturing complete vehicle scans, including full exterior surfaces. Blue light scanners also can map vehicle interiors and locations of under hood and under body components.

Mike Marvin from GM uses a blue light scanner to capture precise 3-D images of a competitive vehicle interior. (Photo: GM)

White light scanning is a similar photographic process, but it is older technology and used less frequently these days due to the advanced capability of blue light scanning.

Red light scanning is best for capturing details of components and parts already removed from vehicles. By combining data from red and blue light scans, engineers can capture stand-alone parts and their original position and orientation within the vehicle.

Staff from GM uses a red light scanner to capture 3D images of a competitive vehicle component. (Photo: GM)

GM has used 3D scanning for well over a decade for vehicle design and development. For example, for creating the stunning new Cadillac Elmiraj coupe concept, car designers start with making a clay model from concept sketches. 3D scanners project a light pattern onto the scale model surface while a camera looks for distortions that represent curves or contours, and records where the object is in space and its orientation. Each scan is digitally stitched together until the complete vehicle is captured. The manipulation of data collected from scans of clay models into digital modeling programs can be uploaded into a computer-controlled milling machine to create a full-scale model.

"By comparing the scan of a finished product to the original math model we can identify the source of fit and finish problems. In some cases even squeaks and rattles can be avoided or quickly addressed," Pecar said. "There is no place for a quality issue to hide."

Posted in 3D Scanning



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Everton wrote at 4/16/2014 8:05:18 PM:

GOM Atos Triple Scan and Atos Compact Scan

Brian wrote at 3/24/2014 3:56:23 PM:

Does anyone know the name of that scanner?

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