We’ve come a long way with 3D printing in a very short time. As new machines and materials arrive onto the market in a constant flow, it’s quite apparent that the 3D scanner has undergone an accelerated evolution. From desktop capabilities allowing makers a whole new world of latitude to industrial uses that allow for companies to both create new components and maintain older machines, the scanner may often just be considered one part of the fabrication process, but it can actually be responsible for a wide range of applications too.
As most of us are already keenly aware, 3D printing has made a huge impact in aerospace, and we follow innovations on a daily basis from 3D printed engine parts being used by NASA for important future projects (just for stuff like going to Mars!) to military aircraft design and maintenance—all the way to jet pack technology. 3D scanning plays an integral part in these processes though as projects steamroll to fruition from the concept stage to the physical product.
SMARTTECH, headquartered in Poland, is now making an entry into the aerospace market, which should offer a major advantage for leaders within the industry. Founded in 2000, we’ve been following SMARTTECH as they’ve advanced, expanded, and been lauded for their efforts and products—along with a recent foray into the Asian markets, and even a version of their website in Chinese. This latest announcement is not surprising, considering the demand for scanning and AM technology by the aeronautics and aerospace industries today.
As the SMARTTECH team points out, jet engines are indeed extremely complex structures which require the utmost in excellence for precision measurements, design, and production.
“Received results can influence the whole working process,” stated SMARTTECH in a recent press release. “Therefore, the measurement process must be provided on metrological certified machines.”
“Results have to be referential just like they are when using CMM machines, so the range of [the] measurement field can reach difficult to access spaces. Using a 3D scanner to measure such huge and complicated objects allows not only savings of time and money but [has also] significantly influenced SMARTTECH products development.”
Recently, SMARTTECH worked with MTU Aero Engines. As Germany’s leading engine manufacturer with a worldwide presence, they design, develop, manufacture and offer both marketing and support of commercial and military aircraft for not only thrust and power categories, but also stationary gas turbines. In this project, MTU was experimenting with Structured Light 3D scanning, a method that uses fringe projection technology. They are doing so in an effort to see their aerospace engine hardware progress further.
Working together, SMARTTECH was responsible for providing scanning services to MTU offering a resolution of 10Mpix to gather all the details of a ‘very complex engine geometry.’ These scans, using their Dual Volume 3D scanner were then used to offer CAD modeling in GEOMAGIC DESIGN X.
The Dual Volume 3D scanner is a precise measurement device offering an LED light source and GigaBit Ethernet communication for ease in performing quick and complex measurements. As a professional tool for metrology, scan3D DUAL VOLUME is also certified according to the German standard VDI / VDE 2634, and the measurement accuracy can be further certified by an independent accredited metrology laboratory.
“3D scanning of a jet engine allowed us to develop our 3D scanners under specific requirement of adjusting the triangulation process; in other words, we faced the demands of the very complicated process of adjusting positions of the detector and projection systems together with adapting software algorithms of point cloud computing,” says Mr. Darek Jasinski, Director of the SMARTTECH R&D Department. “Having such advantages we are able to get to very thin and deep hole and receive very nice results. Such solution is crucial not only for aerospace industry but also for all other customers that require complex deep measurement with very high resolution.”
- Plug and scan – no need for end user recalibration
- LED light technology, providing long lifescanning at any light conditions
- Detector resolution: 2, 5, 10 Mpix
- Fast measurement time: from 1 second
- Metrologically tested and certified accuracy
- Robust and sealed scanning head cover
- Internal Shock Absorber (ISA) system
In taking on the project, the SMARTTECH team was well aware that not only would MTU benefit from research into SCAN-based CAD modeling in its entirety, but they also were able to learn a lot from the project regarding how they could push their 3D scanning technology for use—and success—in other applications and areas. Discuss what impacts SMARTTECH will have on the aerospace industry in the SMARTTECH Scans for MTU Aero Engines forum over at 3DPB.com.