Ford – 3D scanning for improved quality and component testing
Industry Sector: Automotive.
Number of global employees: approx. 200,000
The Challenge: To provide fast and accurate 3D scanning equipment for use in engine prototyping and diagnosis.
• Improved speed of scanning.
• Handheld scanners improved access to hard to reach areas, ensuring more parts can be accurately measured.
• Speeding up and streamlining the testing process.
When Ford decided to embrace 3D scanning to improve quality control and speed up its component testing process, it turned to the experts at Central Scanning. For over six years, Ford’s Rapid Production team has partnered with Central Scanning to help streamline its scanning procedures. Investing in the ZEISS and Artec 3D scanners has helped the manufacturer revolutionise its parts and component testing procedures, improving efficiency and saving valuable time and money.
In 2013 Central Scanning provided Ford with a ZEISS COMET L3D scanner. The system helped the company reap the benefits of fast and accurate 3D scanning in its engine prototyping and diagnosis activities. The scanner proved vitally important in ensuring reliable and traceable component measurements. This invaluable information is then used to inform adjustments, modifications and improvements.
We can use them wherever and whenever we need and that has made a big difference to the tasks we can take on, particularly off site. They are easy to use and much quicker to operate. Their weight and size means they can access much more difficult areas, which is very useful when you are dealing with some hard to reach components on cars.
Our previous blue light scanner didn’t recognise black which was a major issue and the large camera meant we couldn’t get into confined spaces. We simply couldn’t get an effective scan for some components. Central Scanning introduced us to a range of innovative ZEISS and Artec 3D scanning technology and it has opened up new possibilities
David Stokes, RP Engineer
As a leading automotive manufacturer, Ford is committed to continuous improvement processes. The new equipment allows the manufacturer to produce accurate scans of car components and compare the result with the original CAD file. This process allowed them to effectively test for product conformity, identifying issues at an early stage. The quicker potential problems are spotted, the quicker they can be rectified so that mass production can begin.
Central Scanning is the authorized UK reseller of ZEISS 3D scanners. Ford’s new system helped transform the way it measured and inspected components. Its 3D sensor technology and project-orientated software assured quick and reliable data capture on different object surfaces.
The compact and lightweight equipment is easily transportable on and off site, allowing customers such as Ford to apply it to a range of uses, including quality inspection, rapid manufacturing and reverse engineering.
In the ensuing years, Ford maintained a close relationship with Central Scanning and in August 2017 acquired the Artec Eva & Artec Space Spider 3D scanners. These handheld devices greatly assisted in their car clay modelling and prototyping activities.
Central Scanning is a UK GOLD Certified Partner for Artec 3D Scanners and offers customers a range of unique scanning technology. Renowned for their swift and precise data capture, Artec’s scanners offered Ford the opportunity to scan complex objects in difficult to reach locations.
The Eva and Spider devices are unrivalled in their scanning quality, achieving fast and accurate results. The handheld equipment guarantees a quick, textured and accurate scan. Ford can use Eva for medium to large surface areas, whilst Spider focuses on smaller areas, capturing intricate detail with minute precision.
Dave Stokes is RP Engineer in Ford’s Rapid Product Development team. His team have been using Central Scanning Equipment since 2013 when the manufacturer decided to invest in new 3D scanning solutions. He says: “Using highly accurate handheld scanners has made a huge difference to our day to day work.”
Like all automotive manufacturers, Ford is continually hunting for ways to boost productivity and ensure a leaner more efficient production process. In a drive for faster manufacturing cycles, it is seeking ways to minimise waste, lower costs and cut time to market. Advanced 3D measurement and analysis is a critical tool in quality control and the faster it is carried out, the speedier the overall production process.
Stokes says: “Once a component is scanned and checked with the CAD design, we are reassured it is ready for testing and we can go straight to production without the need to use dummy parts. There are so many testing stages to go through as a car manufacturer and if you can streamline them, it can save the company a lot of money.”
As well as scanning cast components quickly and easily, the 3D scanners also help Ford investigate touch components on their cars. Stokes says: “All we need is a scanner and a laptop and we can quickly identify problems.”
Since first adopting Central Scanning’s products in 2013, the applications have evolved significantly, meaning they offer an ever-greater return on investment. “We now scan components during testing to monitor wear and tear”, says Stokes. “Scanning is now far more mainstream as we recognise the benefits of making quick and accurate measurements.”
That trend looks set to continue. As Ford embarks on future engineering challenges it will rely on key partners such as Central scanning to respond in an innovative way, introducing new technological solutions. Central Scanning has developed a close relationship with Stokes and his team. As well as maintaining Ford’s scanners and ensuring calibration is up-to-date, they ensure the manufacturer is aware of all new technological advances which might assist in the testing and production process.
Central Scanning have a good understanding of our business and are always very responsive whenever issues arise. It’s a very valuable partnership.
David Stokes, RP Engineer