Getting to know PADT: Zeiss and Geomagic Scanning Products

 This post is the fourteenth 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.

As engineers, we spend most of our time trying to get geometry we create in a computer out into the real world as a physical part.  But sometimes, we need to go the other way. We need to get real geometry into a computer.  Once there we can measure it accurately, modify it, simulate it, or use it as a reference to design something that connects to it.

There is a lot of power in being able to quickly and accurately digitize objects. Here at PADT we make that power available to our customers through our Scanning & Reverse Engineering Services and through the sale of the same tools we use to our customers so they can bring scanning in-house.  In particular, we represent high-fidelity scanners and software from ZEISS and Geomagic.

Creating Accurate Digital Models

Our own experience with scanning taught us the hard way that the key to creating accurate digital models was outstanding hardware and powerful software. There are a lot of solutions that take shortcuts to “make it easier” or to keep cost down.  We tried those, they didn’t work.  That is why we settled on ZEISS and Geomagic tools because they do work, and they work well.  The process of digitizing geometry is simple: put the part in front of a scanner, scan it, and get a point cloud.  The reality is that the right hardware and software determines if you will spend days to get gigabytes of useless data or if you spend a few hours to get a useful and accurate computer model that you can work with.

Structured Light Scanning

The scanners from ZEISS and Geomagic both use a technology called Structured Light Scanning. Some also refer to it as Fringe Projection.  The way it works is that you couple a precise light projector with a high-resolution digital camera. The projector projects a series of lines onto the part and the camera records how that pattern distorts. The pattern is varied to get more resolution.  The part is also rotated or projector-camera assembly is moved around the part. Either way, light is projected onto the surface in a pattern, and the distorted pattern is recorded.

Then some sophisticated math is used to turn how the pattern is distorted into a highly accurate collection of points across the surface of your part.  That is the end result of Structured Light Scanning – millions of points that sit on the surface of your part.

World Class Scanning Hardware

The quality of the hardware used is key to success in this area.  To be accurate you need a very precise projector, an accurate digital camera (called a sensor in this application) and world-class optics.  Which is how we ended up working with ZEISS.  Their optics are second to none, and they have developed or acquired the best projector and sensor technology in the industry. Combine that with their famous German engineering and quality processes, and you end up with a robust and accurate solution that is second to none.

COMET Structured Light Scanners Deliver

The following COMET Systems from ZEISS are available through PADT:

SystemKey FeaturesResolutionLensesMin VolumeMax Volume
COMET 6 8MIntelligent Light Control
High Speed Sensor
6 Lenses and Fields of View
3296 x 2472 (8 Mp)686 x 64 x 40 mm1216 x 912 x 600 mm
COMET 6 16M4896 x 3264 (16 Mp)681 x 54 x 40 mm1,235 x 823 x 600 mm
COMET L3D 2Compact Design
5 Lenses and Fields of View
Desktop Compatible
2448 x 2050 (5 Mp)545 x 38 x 30 mm481 x 404 x 250 mm
COMET L3D 1MCompact Design
Multiple Resolutions
Multiple Lense Options
Conventional Mount
1170 x 880 (1 Mp)392 x 69 x 60 mm370 x 277 x 250 mm
COMET L3D 2M1600 x 1200 (2 Mp)3100 x 75 x 60400 x 300 x 250 mm
COMET L3D 5M2448 x 2050 (5 Mp)545 x 38 x 30 mm480 x 400 x 250 mm
COMET L3D 8M3296 x 2472 (8 Mp)480 x 60 x 40565 x 425 x 350 mm

Our ZEISS COMET web page is here.

Portable Laser Scanning with Touch Probe May Be a Perfect Fit

Some parts are too big for structured light scanning. Or sometimes you may want to measure a few locations on a larger part.  For those situations, the ZEISS T-SCAN CS Handheld scanner is the perfect fit.  It combines an optical tracking unit, a handheld laser scanner, and a touch probe to give you the flexibility you need to take measurements on large objects. The touch probe is especially useful for measuring key features and locations.

View more about the T-SCAN CS here.

Geomagic Capture Scanners Deliver Portability and Cost Savings

Many of our customers needed a portable solution that cost less and was really only needed to get geometry into their CAD systems.  We searched and found that the Geomagic Capture scanners from 3D Systems are a perfect balance between functionality and cost, delivering high value.

SystemWeightResolutionMin Field of ViewStandoff DistanceMax Field of View
Capture1.35 kg0.11 mm180 x 124 x 120 mm300 mm180 x 190 x 175 mm
Capture Mini1.04 kg0.08 mm70 x 87 x 68 mm157 mm70 x 88 x 87 mm

Learn more about the Geomagic Capture Scanners here.

Proven Scanning Software

Once the points have been captured, no matter how accurately that was done, they are useless if you don’t have the right software tools. Geomagic 3D software and hardware tools are industry leaders for one simple reason: they work. For reverse engineering, inspection, scanning, cleaning up point clouds, or working with mesh-based geometry, no other set of solutions comes close to the capability and robustness of the Geomagic tool package.  We use three packages:

Geomagic Design X: Reverse Engineering

Geomagic Wrap: Point Data to Polygon Models

Geomagic Control: Inspection Automation

Let’s Talk about, And Look At, Your Scanning Needs

Scanning is a technology, by its natures, that begs to be seen.  If you have ever considered adding 3D Scanning to your workflow, or want to know how 3D Scanning can help your productivity, accuracy, and quality, contact us for a discussion and a demo.

 

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.

 

Part Scanning – An Update

3d-optical-scanner-1Did you know that PADT does scanning of parts?  No? You are not alone. We recently ran into several customers who were sending their scanning out of state and didn’t know that they could have it done by PADT, someone who is already a trusted partner. So we thought it would be a good time to do an update on our Scanning services and provide some additional background on what it is.

Part Scanning 101

The idea behind part scanning is that you want to take a part in the real world, and get an accurate model in a computer. To do this you somehow measure the part with a computer, getting a three dimensional representation of the parts surface.  Today, there are six basic ways to do this:


Physical Measurement (CMM)
Measure points on the part relative to some reference. This is great for measure simple geometry where you can reconstruct it by knowing key dimensions.
scanning-laser-scanningLaser Scanning
This process shines a laser on an object and measures the distance to the object. It does this thousands of times to build up a point array of the surface


scanning-structured-lightStructured Light Scanning
This process puts down a series of parallel lines, or a grid of lines, and measures how far they distort from a flat pattern. With this information it can create a massive amount of points on the objects surface.

scanning-cssCross Sectional Scanning
If you need to see inside, light based scanning does not work. In cross sectional scanning you machine away thin slices of an object and take an accurate picture of each layer as you go. This can then be turned in to an accurate representation of both the inside and outside of the object.
scanning-ct-scannerVolumetric Scanning
Another way around the fact that light can not penetrate an object is to use various types of radiation, like X-Rays, that go inside an object. Although new for industrial applications this method is growing for complex parts with internal geometry.
scanning-photometric-scanningPhotometric Scanning
If accuracy is not critical, then software can take pictures taken from dozens of views and reconstruct a 3D shape.  This is used most often for art and entertainment, but is not precise enough for engineering yet.

PADT offers Structured Light and Cross Sectional Scanning

scanning-point-cloud-surfaceAll of these methods create points in space.  The more sophisticated the software, the more automatic the process of assembling the points to define the surfaces of the full object. These points are sometimes called a “point cloud.”

The Point cloud can them be turned in to a faceted representation of the object.  For many people, this is all they need. This faceted representation can be rendered on a computer screen or 3D Printed.  It can also be used with inspection software to determine the accuracy of the part relative to its original specification as well as variations across multiple copies of the same geometry.

scanning-CAD-modelIf users need more, like a full CAD model, that can be created from the point cloud using specialized software.  PADT uses Geomagic DesignX.  This tool not only creates usable geometry, but it can export in the customer’s native CAD format.

To do accurate part scanning you need:

  1. A precision scanning device
  2. Software to take the measured data and create an accurate point cloud. This includes repair and cleanup tools.
  3. Software to convert the point cloud into a usable 3D CAD model
  4. or, Software to conduct accurate inspection on the measured geometry.

All of these tools require some training and practice to use efficiently.  It is fairly easy to get ball park computer models using consumer level tools. But to get accurate, engineering quality results the right tools and processes must be applied.

Why does Part Scanning Take so Long and Cost So Much?

When people ask for their first part scanning quote, they can often be surprised by the cost. The scanning process doesn’t look that hard. And to be honest, the amount of time you actually spend scanning most parts is pretty short.  The time is spent on the preparation, scanning hard-to-reach areas, the clean up, and then converting the data in to usable formats.

scanning-doing-the-workIf we are working with a light based scanner, we have to prepare the parts so that they reflect the light properly. Sometimes we have to cover the part with a find powder, sometimes we may even have to paint it.  What we need is for the reflection and color of the part to not interfere with the scanning.

If we are using cross sectional scanning, the part needs to be cast inside a rigid material, so the part we are scanning does not distort as we remove layers.  In addition, if the part is not a solid light or dark color, it may need to be died to provide contrast for the camera.

Both processes also require some study to determine the orientation of the part relative to the scanner and how the scanning process will take place. Once all this is worked out, the scanning often goes very fast. If there are nasty little parts that are hard to get to or that confuse the device, the engineer may have to modify things, do some special localized scanning, or even make castings that are then scanned.  As is usual with technical processes, a very small portion of the surface being scanned may take up the vast majority of the scanning time.

Once the scanning is done, the real hard work begins. Although software is much better than it was in the past, the resulting point cloud needs to be massaged and cleaned. Stray data is removed, and points from different scans need to be positioned and combined.  Then everything must be checked. If a CAD solid model is needed, then the engineer must spend considerable time dealing with complex features and transition areas. As with the scanning, the bulk of the time spent creating a CAD model is spent on a relatively small percentage of the geometry.

All of this adds up.  Plus, to be honest, things rarely go as planned and unexpected issues arise that need to be dealt with.

Part Scanning Services at PADT

scanning-geomagic-1Now we get to the important part of this post: hiring PADT to do your scanning.  We added this capability to support our 3D Printing customers that wanted copies of physical parts.  But as we looked at it, we found that we also had customers who needed inspection and reverse engineering of legacy parts. We studied the problem for some time and found the right tools and people to make it happen.

Our primary scanner is a Zeiss Comet L3D 5M STructured light scanner.  It used to be called a Steinbichler, till Zeiss bought them in 2015.  Although it is portable and easy to manipulate, the Comet L3D 5M is highly accurate.  It allows us to scan everything from small medical devices to the front end of acar, and to know that the resulting geometry will be accurate and usable. This is the best option for inspection and reverse engineering of high-precision parts.

scanning-padt-partsWe also have a Geomagic Capture scanner. Although less accurate it is more portable and simpler to operate. It is ideal or taking to a customer and getting geometry for reverse engineering or part copying.

If parts have internal features, and are made of plastic, we use our Cross Sectional Scanners. These high precision devices do a fantastic job and are really the best way to capture inside surfaces. Our customers love it to see how injection molded parts are coming out on well used molds.

If anything else is needed, our experts can outsource to a niche supplier.

Want to do it Yourself?

If you need to do your own scanning, no worries. PADT also sells all the tools we use inhouse to customers that need the capability internally.

Next Steps

scanning-inspection-softwareHopefully this posting has answered most of your questions and you are eager to try 3D Part Scanning.  The best place to start is to get a quote from PADT.  However, if you still have questions then feel free to contact us and fire away. We are passionate bout this capability and love talking about it.

Download our brochure here.

Either way, you can email rp@padtinc.com or call 480.813.4884 and ask to talk about Part Scanning. We also have some information on our website at www.padtinc.com/scanning.