The Future of 3D Scanning Technology in Reverse Engineering

by James Rawstron on January 5, 2017 From News And Comment, Technology
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The 3D scanning technology market has made huge gains and is expected to continue this growth with a projected value at USD 6.05 billion by 2020. The market is booming due to the adoption of these technologies in a variety of sectors, according to new reports by Global Market Insights, Inc.

What is The Future of 3D Scanning Technology?

In 2014, the 3D laser scanning market was valued at roughly USD 1.5 billion, where industrial manufacturing was the dominant segment, accounting for over 30 percent in this market. The 3D technology used in industrial manufacturing is often a critical component for quality inspection and quality control systems in the construction sphere.

Scanning technology has seen drastic growth in the entertainment and media industries as well, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 13% from 2015 to 2022. Likely to be worth USD 600 million by 2022, the increasing value of these 3D scanners can be attributed to the arrival of portable devices. For example, these machines have helped in preserving and archiving architectural pieces from museums, which is why architecture and engineering uses are expected to take 12% of the overall industry share by 2022.

Additionally, the 3D scanning services market share in North America is expected to be over 25% of global revenues, partly attributed to the increasing need for structured light scanners in the region. The demand for efficient, precise, and reliable results is the key driver of this technology, which is used across a variety of industries.

How Does 3D Scanning Technology Play a Part in the Field of Reverse Engineering?

3D scanning technology has had a large impact on reverse engineering. Using 2D drawings or hand measurements to create 3D models is time-consuming and costly. 3D scanning takes a process that would usually take weeks or months and cuts it down to mere hours. Instead of drawing a design and converting it into a computer-aided design (CAD), reverse technology can measure an existing object and reconstruct it as a 3D model.

Reverse engineering is incredibly helpful when there is missing documentation or CAD files or when there are product design shortcomings. Using 3D scanning technology, reverse engineering can generate missing files and provide recent documentation to understand the software. This process can keep all items documented and digitized, recreating a CAD model that can then allow an item to be reproduced.

This benefits quality control in that quality departments can measure parts and compare them to digital files, which is especially useful for geometrically complex parts that are hard to measure manually. Quality control can see if products have errors or abnormalities, allowing this department to find faults in the manufacturing process or in the product itself - digitally instead of having to manually do this process.

This process can also help improve current parts, repair or replace parts, as well as understand the cost structure of creating parts. At times, a manufacturer might need a part that is outdated or even obsolete; these parts then come at a high price and include a long waiting time. Reverse engineering is an alternative to paying high prices, because using 3D measuring equipment, the part can be accurately remodeled. The part can also be upgraded with new improvements using digital technology.

The amount of time and resources saved using this technology is incredibly valuable and improves overall production output.

James Rawstron

James Rawstron is a Senior Marketing Specialist at Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence North America, located in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Rawstron has 20 years of marketing communications experience in the software, high tech, industrial, advanced manufacturing machinery and medical device markets. He has written numerous articles for B2B publications, including blogs for a variety of industries. Prior to joining Hexagon, Rawstron served as a web marketing professional at IBM and a Marketing Manager at Vector Software. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and European History from Union College of Schenectady, New York.