Bridging Physical and Digital Worlds
3D scanners are tri-dimensional measurement devices used to capture real-world objects or environments so that they can be remodeled
or analyzed in the digital world. The latest generation of 3D scanners do not require contact with the physical object being captured.
3D scanners can be used to get complete or partial 3D measurements of any physical object. The majority of these devices generate points
and measurements of extremely high density when compared to traditional “point-by-point” measurement devices.
Common Uses For 3D Scanning
Extracting dimensions to reconstruct a CAD reference file for reverse engineering or rapid prototyping
Measuring the object itself for analysis and commendation. This is done for applications such as computer-aided inspection (CAI),
digital archiving and computer-aided engineering (CAE) analysis.
How does it work?
Scanning results are represented using free-form, unstructured three-dimensional data, usually in the form of a point cloud triangle mesh.
Certain types of scanners also acquire color information for applications where this is important.
Images/scans are brought into a common reference system, where data is merged into a complete model. This process -- called alignment or registration -- can be performed during the scan itself or as a post-processing step
Computer software can be used to clean up the scan data, filling holes, correcting error and improving data quality. The resulting triangle mesh is typically exported as an STL (STereoLithography) file or converted to Non-uniform Rational B-Spline (NURBS) surface for CAD modeling.
How Can 3D Scanning Help Me?
3D scanning has emerged as a critical tool in every step of the product lifecycle management (PLM) process. This is especially true of the new generation of truly portable, self-positioning scanners.
The ability of 3D scanning to bridge the gap between physical objects in the real world and the digital design environment has become extremely valuable in a wide range of industries that use PLM -- aerospace, automotive, consumer products, and manufacturing heavy industries among the principal ones.
These industries benefit from faster time to market, improved quality, reduced warehousing costs, and better understanding of product performance.
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