3D scanner at GMN

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Chris Passanante, GMN
By Chris Passanante | Feb 6, 2018
3D laser scanner at GMN

Imagine that you need to precisely measure a custom machined wheel of a customized car. Which measuring tool would you use? You could use a standard industry equipment like the caliper, but that may result in several inaccuracies given the complex shape and inherent contours of the wheel. Alternatively, you could use a Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM), but that would be extremely time-consuming and the machine might fail to get into all of the crevices. At GM Nameplate (GMN), we would use our Faro arm 3D scanner to capture the wheel’s shape and create a file that can be used as a model for measurements, or even duplication to create a new wheel. Wondering why?

The Faro arm is essentially an advanced 3D scanning tool that uses a laser beam to precisely capture data points and digitize objects. To scan anything, you hold the laser gun and gradually move it over the desired object as if you were painting on it with the laser beam. The process is far more efficient than point-to-point measurements from a CMM or any other traditional measuring tools. The key advantages of this scanner are:

1) Advanced part evaluation - Capturing 560,000 points/second, the scanner is not only accurate, but also time-efficient. No matter how complex the shape of the object is, the laser technology accurately digitizes the exact size and three-dimensional form. It can easily measure data points from crevices, thru-holes or contoured profiles where a CMM would fail. It works seamlessly across all surfaces, be it wood, metal, plastic, or glass. Even dark and reflective surfaces do not affect the accuracy of the results.

2) Flexibility - The scanner works in conjunction with other measuring tools like the CMM or Optical Gaging Products (OGP). This implies that you can measure a few parts of a component on a CMM, complete the remaining measurements using the 3D scanner, and combine the data points from both machines in a single report. The scanner’s portability makes it easier to wheel it from one area of the factory to the other, thus expanding its floor coverage.  

3) Ease of implementation - While the scanner does require some initial programming and set-up to get started, the actual process of operating the scanner is fairly simple and straightforward.

The applications of this scanning technology go far beyond just measuring the dimensions of a component. With this scanner, GMN can now efficiently convert a physical object into a digitized form. This reduced time-to-measure has greatly enhanced GMN’s rapid prototyping process. It has also proved to be a great asset in achieving Computer Aided Design (CAD) to part analysis, quality control and inspection. GMN also employs the scanner to reverse engineer components to create replacement parts with extremely tight tolerances.

By capitalizing on advanced tools and technologies, GMN is always exploring innovative and effective ways to meet its customer’s manufacturing needs. The addition of the state-of-the-art 3D scanner at the Beaverton, OR Division has truly facilitated GMN in serving its vast customer base with the highest standards of quality and efficiency.