Why 3D Scan? Here's 12 real-world examples for engineers!

At 3DChimera, we have seen countless examples where 3D scanning has brought value to our customer's engineering teams. Often, when considering a new scanner purchase, engineers are tasked to develop an ROI for an investment in 3D scanning.  We generated this list to help you build that ROI for your management team! 
Here are some common use cases for 3D scanning, complete with detailed examples:
  • 3D Scan for Reference Data
    • 3D scan an object that you want to design a "mating" feature to connect
    • Example 1: You want to add a piece of your technology as an accessory for a leading competitor's product, and you need 3D data for mating surfaces
    • Example 2: You want to model an object to mimic an unrelated product in the real world (maybe, you like the shape a cookie jar and want to scale up for a pet product in your lineup)
  • 3D scan for Reverse Engineering
    • 3D scan an object to start a digital CAD database for that object
    • Example 1: You want to rebuild tooling for an older product where the CAD data is lost or never existed
    • Example 2: You want to scan a competitor's product to start a CAD database on a complex feature that would be difficult to measure by hand due to organic shaped surfaces
  • 3D Scan for Inspection
    • 3D scan production parts off the manufacturing line to confirm that the object matches your CAD database
    • Example 1: You are building a new part from CAD database & you want to confirm that your vendor properly built your part to spec, so you scan & compare scan results to original CAD data for a color-map of deviations for a first-article inspection
    • Example 2: You quickly 3D scan a batch of parts off of each production line to confirm that your AQL is met
  • 3D Scan for Archival
    • 3D scan an object to make a digital copy for future reference
    • Example 1: You receive a sample of a clever part from a borrowed object, but you want to study further in the future.  You scan the object, and can review months into the future when the need arises.
    • Example 2: Your team is cleaning out old stock and they want to throw away all of the old inventory which has no original CAD database.  You can scan and have that data archived forever.
  • 3D Scan for Assembly Fixture / Tooling Replacement
    • 3D scan scan custom fixtures/tooling off the manufacturing line
    • Example 1: On your manufacturing line, one of the workers fabricates a fixture from found objects to make their job better.  You 3D scan that object to digitize the key features, then redesign and 3D print for the whole manufacturing line efficiency improvement
    • Example 2: Your manufacturing line has some critical tooling / fixtures that were built by hand, if damaged they might halt the production line.  You 3D scan the tooling / fixtures, and create digital model that can be fabricated or 3D printed as a backup (or improved version!)
  • 3D Scan for Quality Control
    • 3D scan objects pre-production or post-production to study quality issues
    • Example 1: You are getting a lot of returns for failing product that comes apart too easily, so you 3D scan returned parts from the customer to study failure areas and compare complex geometries using your ideal CAD as a reference.  This can help ID production tooling that is wearing down, or parts that wear out to quickly and require design changes to be more robust.
    • Example 2: Your manufacturing line scrap rate is starting to rise unexpectedly, so you 3D scan parts off the production line to see if there is a problem where parts off a particular tool are incorrect, showing that this particular tool is wearing down over time
In all these cases ROI can be difficult to measure in hard dollars without a real-world case where one of these items was an issue for your company in the past.  For example, if you shipped a bad batch of product that could have been caught prior to shipment with 3D scanning, the cost of failure could be huge once return costs or scrap are considered.  Do any of these scenarios raise a flag for an issue your team has experienced in the past?
If you are thinking about a 3D scanner, or need help building out your ROI, please reach out to our engineering & 3D scanning experts at sales@3dchimera.com 

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