Press Release: ZEISS Industrial Metrology Signs PADT as an Authorized Distributor of its COMET® Series of Blue Light 3D Optical Scanners

Scanning is one of the fastest growing parts of PADT’s business, and with the announcement of a new agreement to distribute for ZEISS Industrial Metrology, we are growing even faster.  Blue Light 3D Optical Scanners are amazing devices that allow users to create accurate surface maps of almost any geometry.  We have been using this technology in-house for our scanner services for some time, now we wanted to also make them available to our customers.

You may remember when PADT announced that we had partnered with Steinbichler to provide 3D optical scanners.  Well, we are not dumping Steinbichler.  Their technology was acquired by ZEISS Industrial Metrology.  We have been waiting for the acquisition to finish up and for the Steinbichler team to be fully integrated before we signed up to represent these fantastic devices again.  That happened and we are back selling them in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah.

What we like about these optical devices are the incredibly accurate lenses, from ZEISS, and the large and accurate CCD chips.  This combination gives fantastic quality.  In addition, we can swap out different lenses for specific applications and the software that comes with the system is outstanding.  After beating our device to death last year on services work, we feel very comfortable recommending it to all of our customers.

Here is a video on the primary product we are selling, the ZEISS L3D 2:

And that is also the advantage of buying your optical scanning solution from PADT. We use this stuff every day on a variety of applications. So we understand our needs, and we know how to get the most out of the hardware and software. So when you are making your decision on what to buy, and when you need support once you have made your investment, you know PADT is the best option to help you out.

Please find the official press release on this new partnership below and here in PDF and HTML.

Visit our web pages for ZEISS equipment and software here.

Here are links to the latest brochures as well:

As always, just give us a call at 480.813.4884 or send an email to sales@padtinc.com to learn more

 

Press Release:

ZEISS Industrial Metrology Signs PADT as an Authorized Distributor of its COMET® Series of Blue Light 3D Optical Scanners

PADT Customers Seeking to Bring Precise Inspection Services or Reverse Engineering In-house Now Have World-class Equipment at Their Fingertips

TEMPE, Ariz., February 27, 2018 Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies (PADT), the Southwest’s largest provider of simulation, product development, and 3D Printing services and products, today announced it has signed an agreement with ZEISS Industrial Metrology to become an authorized distributor of the COMET Series ®  product line of Blue Light Optical Scanners. ZEISS Industrial Metrology is a business group of ZEISS and is a worldwide leading supplier of optical and contact measuring technology.

“When we made the strategic decision to add scanning devices to our distribution portfolio, we evaluated all of the leading structured light 3D optical scanning systems,” said Rey Chu, co-owner and principal, PADT. “The ZEISS COMET clearly emerged as our preferred choice. Not only did it serve as a workhorse, results were more efficient and accurate and we could scan a wider variety of objects. The ZEISS COMET is the obvious choice for our customers who want to bring inspection or reverse engineering services in-house.”

Scanners in the COMET Series utilize the latest blue light technology to capture 3D data accurately and fast. The system operates by projecting patterned light, also called structured light, onto an object and the camera captures the image. The Colin3D software processes the image and creates a 3D “point cloud” with millions of points. The software further processes point cloud data for downstream applications – reverse engineering, inspection and rapid prototyping to name a few. The portable COMET series has two models – COMET 6 and COMET LƎD 2.

“PADT was selected as an authorized distributor of our COMET Series because of its depth and breadth of knowledge of engineering services and 3D scanning technology,” said John Grzybowski, business sales manager at ZEISS Industrial Metrology. “They serve as an excellent partner and a valued ambassador of the ZEISS brand.”

PADT has been completing its own scanning projects with this technology for more than two years and is now able to offer the innovation of ZEISS equipment to its customers in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

“ZEISS is a household name in the optics and 3D scanning world with an outstanding reputation for innovation and quality,” said Mario Vargas, manager of hardware sales, PADT. “We are delighted with the opportunity to expand our portfolio and offer our customers these industry leading scanners.”

To learn more about PADT and the COMET Series product line, visit www.padtinc.com or call 1-800-293-7238.

About PADT

Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT) is an engineering product and services company that focuses on helping customers who develop physical products by providing Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and 3D Printing solutions. PADT’s worldwide reputation for technical excellence and experienced staff is based on its proven record of building long-term win-win partnerships with vendors and customers. Since its establishment in 1994, companies have relied on PADT because “We Make Innovation Work.” With over 80 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, and from offices in Torrance, California; Littleton, Colorado; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Murray, Utah, and Austin, Texas, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.

About ZEISS Industrial Metrology

The Industrial Metrology business group is a leading manufacturer of multidimensional metrology solutions. These include coordinate measuring machines, optical and multisensor systems, and metrology software for the automotive, aircraft, mechanical engineering, plastics and medical technology industries. Innovative technologies such as 3D X-ray metrology for quality inspection round off the product portfolio. The business group additionally offers a broad global spectrum of customer services with measuring houses and competence centers close to its customers.

The Industrial Metrology business group is headquartered in Oberkochen. Production and development sites outside Germany are located in Minneapolis in the USA, Shanghai, China and Bangalore, India. The business group is allocated to the Research & Quality Technology segment. Around 6,300 employees work for the segment, generating revenue totaling €1.5 billion in fiscal year 2016/17. More information on ZEISS can be found at www.zeiss.com/metrology

# # #

Media Contact
Alec Robertson
TechTHiNQ on behalf of PADT
585-281-6399
alec.robertson@techthinq.com
PADT Contact
Eric Miller
PADT, Inc.
Principal & Co-Owner
480.813.4884
eric.miller@padtinc.com

Getting to Know PADT: Part Scanning and Reverse Engineering

This is the first installment in our review of all the different products and services PADT offers our customers. As we add more, they will be available here.  As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to info@padtinc.com or give us a call at 1-800-293-PADT.

Product innovation doesn’t always start with a blank sheet. Many times our customers need to begin with an accurate representation of their existing products, or a piece that theirs interfaces with, or even a competitive solutions.  That is why we offer scanning and reverse engineering services that take real world parts and convert them into an accurate and useful CAD model.

What is Part Scanning

Part scanning is a process where we use machines to measure geometry.  Before scanning someone would use rulers, calipers, and other measuring devices dating from the industrial revolution to get critical dimensions off of a part and painstakingly document what they find. That got better with Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMM) where you could accurately measure key locations on the geometry. The problem with this approach was that it only gave you data where you measured.  Fine for simple parts like a flange with bolt holes.  But not good when you have crazy free-form surfaces or many features. Another approach was to section the parts and project a shadow onto a piece of paper and trace it.  If you needed more measurements, cost went way up.

To solve this problem, people found a way to measure lots of points easily: scan the part with some sort of optical sensor and measure points on the part as you go.  Early scanning systems used lasers, measuring the beam that bounced back.  This worked well, especially for very large objects.  But was tricky on some surfaces and produced a lot of noise in the data. So researches figured out that they could project patterns of light and dark onto an object and measure how the edges of that pattern bent and warped.   This is called Structured Light Scanning, and Wikipedia has a good article giving more details on how it works. We use the “blue light” version of this process here at PADT for our optical scanning services.

The other process we use is Cross Sectional Scanning. As the name implies it scans the cross section of parts, and it does it by actually shaving off material one layer at a time and then taking a picture of the 2D cross section that is revealed.  Although you consume the part in the process, it is a very accurate and fairly affordable way to measure complex internal geometry.

What you get from both scanning approaches is what we call a point cloud.  What is a point cloud? A file with millions of points defined as an X, Y, and Z position in space that represent locations that sit on the surfaces of the object.  You can measure critical dimensions, compare different geometries, and use it as a basis to create a computer model.  The key thing to note is that PADT uses precise scanners and leading software, combined with the experience of our operators to produce an accurate and usable point cloud.

Creating Accurate Models from Scan Data – Reverse Engineering

For most projects, getting the point cloud is just the first step. In order for our customers to redesign, update, simulate, or interface with the part we scanned, they need an accurate computer model.  Instead of millions of points, the computer model contains a more concise mathematical representation of the surface defined by the points. The simplest thing we can do is simply fit triangles through those points.  This is refered to as a faceted model because it is made up of triangular facets.  This data is used for 3D Printing, rendering, and for design in some cases.  Most often we deliver an STL file for this type of model. If a more accurate representation is needed, our engineers can convert those facets into an actual Computer Aided Design (CAD) model.  It can be just a dumb solid, or we can even make key features parametric.  The geometry can be handed over in many different formats, including IGES, Paraolids, STEP, SolidWorks, SolidEdge, NX, or CREO.

How Part Scanning with PADT Different

To be blunt, the reason why we added scanning to our capabilities was that we had always outsourced this service for our customers.  We found plenty of people with scanners, but they just scanned a part, ran the software, and provided OK data for our customers.  The problem was they were not experts in the technology behind scanning, they lacked a theoretical understanding of math behind 3D computer geometry modeling, and they were not experts in product development.  It turned out that scanning the geometry was the easy part, what our customers needed was someone who knew how to scan it right and produce useful information.  Information they didn’t have to spend time cleaning and massaging. Our engineers combine all of these skills along with a firm understanding of quality requirements, GD&T, and most of the major CAD systems.  In addition, PADT is ITAR compliant and can deal with your confidential geometry and data requirements.  The fact that PADT is a recognized expert in Additive Manufacturing is often useful as well.  We could not find a service provider that had all of the things our customers required, so we decided to do it ourselves.

Leveraging PADT’s Part Scanning and Reverse Engineering Services

Getting parts scanned by PADT is actually fairly easy.  Step one is to contact PADT and talk to our engineers so they can produce a quote.  Ideally it is best for you to bring the part or parts in to our Tempe office. If that is not feasible we will need some basic pictures of your part and key dimensions like maximum length, width, and height. They will then talk with you to understand what you actually want to accomplish by scanning.  Armed with this information they will provide a quote for scanning and any geometry creation or other activities you need completed including cost, schedule, and a list of deliverables.

In  most cases, you will ship us or drop off the part or parts, and our team will go to work.  If needed, we can also come to where the parts are located and scan them there.  The deliverables vary from job to job, and are negotiated as part of the quoting process.  In general we will provide you with an STL or CAD file with the level of accuracy and detail that you ask for. If needed, we can also provide you with the point cloud  itself.  We can also complete inspection reports and provide comparisons between datasets.

Reach out to Give it a Try or Learn More

Our team is ready and waiting to answer your questions or provide you with a quote.  You can email us at info@padtinc.com or give us a call at 480.813.4884 or 1-800-293-PADT.

Still want to learn more? Here are some links to more information:

  • Download or scanning brochure
  • A more detailed blog post on scanning from early 2017, including a “Scanning 101” section with some great background on the technology
  • The 3D Scanning Wikipedia article.  This has lots of basic information as well as more links to greater details.
  • Information on the Geomagic Capture Scanner, an easy to use, compact, and very portable blue light scanner that we use for a lot of projects.
  • Details about the ZIESS Comet optical scanner, a professional and highly accurate blue light scanner that we use for our more demanding projects.
  • An overview of Cross Sectional scanning.
  • A brief summary of the Geomagic Software we use to create useful models from point clouds. It also has links to more in-depth information.
  • An article in Additive Manufacturing magazine about how PADT used our scanners to create a replacement part for a P-51 Mustang airplane.  It includes a great video as well.

 

geoCUBE: Computers for Scanning

PADT just released a line of computer workstations  specifically designed for use with a variety of optical scanners: geoCUBE Scanning Workstations.

Scanning technology has come a long way.  It is relatively easy to scan a real physical part with a variety of different scanning technologies and capture the geometry for use in inspection, design, reverse engineering, or to directly replicate a part with 3D Printing.  The problem is that a good scanner produces a huge  number of data points and a standard office computer, laptop, or even most CAD workstations bog down and perhaps even crash when you try to view or manipulate that much data.  

geocube-hardware-picsWhen we ran into that exact problem here at PADT when we were doing scanning services for customers.  On a nice CAD workstation it was taking almost a whole day to clean up and process a full scan or a large part.  Our manufacturing team asked if they could power one of the CUBE Simulation Computers we use for CFD.  If you know CFD people you know they said “No, but can I also run on your box if you are not using it?”  So they went to our IT staff, the people who design CUBE systems and asked for a custom built machine for scanning.

The result was a breakthrough.  That 20 hour job was finishing in about two hours and we were able to spin the points and the resulting triangle file around on the screen in real time. We liked it so much we decided to come up with four systems spanning the needs of scanning users, and offer them along with the scanner we sell, or to anyone that might need one.

Below is a screen shot of the table showing the four systems, from a basic small box that you can use to drive your scanner, to the power system that we use.  You can download the brochure here, or visit the web page here

geoCUBE-Spec-Table-Screen-Shot

As always, feel free to contact us to get more information and see how we can help you find the right scanner and the perfect computer to go with it.

Scanning Helps Pediatric Heart Surgeon Make Implant Choices

heart-assist-deviceThe week we had the opportunity to help a surgeon make better decisions for their pediatric heart patient.  Dr Stephen Paphal from the Phoenix Children’s Heart Center had a young patient that needed a ventricular assist device. He could implant a device that they knew would fit in the patient, but they also had an alternative, larger device that performs better. The question they needed to answer was: will the larger device fit in the patient?

This surgeon’s team has previously done work using mechanical engineering technology to help them make better decisions, you may have read about their use of 3D Printing to evaluate different treatment options.  They often work with computer models of patients and devices n collaboration with spinal surgeon Dr. Sandro LaRocca in New Jersey, so they had almost all the tools they needed to help this patient.

For this case, they had a computer model of the smaller assist device, and a computer model of the patient’s heart area that they extracted from a CAT scan. Using those two models and visualization software they were able to insert the device model into the body model to verify that the smaller device would fit.

The issue they faced was that they had no computer model for the larger device.  Creating a model the traditional way would take to long. So they called PADT and asked if we could scan the actual object and give them a computer model that they could use.

Just in Time Scanning

One of PADT’s engineer, Johnathon Wright, took the device to our Geomagic Capture blue light scanner to extract a surface model from the real part.  In this image you can see the device being scanned:

heart-assist-scan-on-tableBecause the device is reflective, we covered it with a white powder to get a better scan. That is all the preparation needed.  The part was placed on a very sophisticated rotational displacement device (a $10 Lazy Susan from WalMart) and the scanner is turned on.  The  little reflective dots you can see on the Lazy Susan are used by the scanning software to determine the position of the objects relative to the scanner.

In this image you can see what the part looks like to the scanner:heart-assist-blue-light-scan-1A rectangular pattern of blue light is projected on to the part being scanned, and the included software measures the distortion in the grid to calculate the shape of the object. As you rotate the object (or the scanner) more data is gathered and an accurate point cloud of the external surface is created.

Here is what the point cloud looks like when the scan is completed:

heart-assist-scan-data

In about an hour, Johnathon was able to go from “can you do this” to a water-tight solid that the Doctor could use with his computer model of the patient to see if this larger, better part fit in the patient’s chest.

Here is what the whole setup looks like:

heart-assist-scan-2

Johnathon used Geomagic’s scanning tools running on a PADT CUBE computer that is specifically optimized for scanning to make the process faster and more accurate. In the past, a task like this would have required an expensive and temperamental laser scanner, a dedicated lab, and probably four to eight hours of engineering time to clean up the resulting scan data. As you can see, the device sits on a desktop and requires very little infrastructure or special equipment.

Disruptive Technology

Any day we can help a physician strive for a better surgical outcome is a good day. Beyond that this is also a great example of how three important aspects of the technology enabled us to deliver useful information quickly, making desktop scanning a disruptive technology.

The first key technology is the blue-light scanning itself.  A form of structure-light 3D scanning, this approach uses a blue light because it contrasts the object better. The breakthrough with this technology is that it does not require expensive lasers or complex optics.  Faster computing allows for the complex algorithms used to be quickly and accurately applied.  The approach does not require any special equipment beyond the scanner itself. This results in an affordable device that is easily deployed and operated.  How easy, the 3D motion capture device on the Microsoft Xbox Kinect is a structure-light 3D scanner – using infrared light instead of blue.

Modern software used to convert the scan data into useful information is the second technology deployed for this solution.  In the past the process of calculating the points on a scanned surface, cleaning up spurious data, and converting it to a form that could be easily used was tedious and difficult.  The Geomagic software suite has a modern, intuitive user interface that sits on top of very sophisticated tools that automate many of the steps that used to take us hours to carry out.

The final key technology that makes desktop scanning so disruptive is one that we take for grated today: standards. We were able to produce an STL file from the scan data and the Doctor’s team was able to read that directly in to their visualization software. It is a simple thing, but without standard file formats, transferring so much data would also involve translators which introduce errors and time.

Engineering Better Outcomes

Here at PADT we truly enjoy applying technology developed in the Aerospace or electronics space to other industries, especially medical applications.  This is another great example of how useful engineering tools can be, improving someones life directly.