Taking performance to the next level with portable metrology: advanced FLOW engineering (aFe POWER)by Kyle Pheland on August 18, 2019 From Customer Voice, Technology
With a product line of over 3 000 applications, advanced FLOW engineering (aFe POWER) designers and engineers turn to state-of-the-art technology to design, manufacture and test the highest quality performance products in the industry. We sat down with Christian Landel, Design Engineer, to find out how they use the Absolute Arm to deliver the ‘engineered adrenaline’ that their customers depend on.
Kyle Pheland (KP): Christian, can you tell me a little about advance FLOW engineering?
Christian Landel: aFe POWER is a premier designer and manufacturer of gas and diesel automotive performance upgrade systems and components. Current product lines include cold air intake systems, high performance direct fit and racing air filters, exhaust systems, intercoolers, turbochargers, electronic programmers, diesel fuel systems, throttle body spacers, suspension and more. We are a passionate team and we pride ourselves on providing the most compelling, innovative and highest performing products that are designed, built and tested in the USA.
KP: What differentiates aFe POWER from other aftermarket part providers – what sets you apart?
CL: What differentiates aFe POWER from competitors is the time and effort we invest into R&D. We constantly challenge ourselves to innovate and create the best products possible. Our CEO is an engineer at heart, and he is also very passionate about the products we design, always putting the product first. He is very much involved with the R&D process and always wants to push the limits: design something better, faster, that improves performance and looks more appealing. We also spend the time to fully test all our products.
Another factor is our in-house capabilities, giving us full control of the quality, speed and results. From first design to production, we do as much as we can in-house. All our performance products are put to the test on our dyno machine and we publish those results afterwards.
We also strive to be first to market with our products. Every time a new enthusiast vehicle is released, we try to get access to it as soon as we can to start figuring out what we can improve to make the vehicle even better.
KP: Which systems from Hexagon are you using in the shop? What applications and features are being measured?
CL: aFe POWER uses two Absolute Arm 7-Axis systems, utilising both the laser scanner and tube probe capabilities. We primarily use the laser scanner to scan full engine compartments, underbodies and other various parts. It’s the best tool to scan the environment that we’re working with. We prefer scanning the engine compartment rather than scanning a factory piece we’re going to replace because we want to start from scratch and not limit our creativity by starting with an existing part. The arm with the tube probes is used to get the length, rotation and angle (LRA) and scan prototype tubes to send to our bender. Thanks to the durability of the Absolute Arm, we were able to place it right in the production area where we need it most.
KP: What was life like before the Absolute Arm?
CL: Before we purchased the Absolute Arm, we had an old Stinger arm with tactile probe. We were creating point clouds, but it was taking a lot of time and the result was not very easy to visualise or work with, and we were looking for more accuracy.
For the intake tube applications, we were measuring angles and distance and trying our best to get the right dimensions. Then bend a tube and check it until we were satisfied with the result. We were also creating a skeleton of a prototype tube and probing the different plans with the Stinger arm and trying to design the tube like that. It was taking a lot of design time to get something right.
KP: If you compare the situation before with the current situation, what are the advantages from using our systems?
CL: I sold my boss on getting an Absolute Arm by explaining that if we get better scan data, we won’t need to 3D print prototypes as much. Any new design we create is 3D printed for fit check and testing. When we were using previous methods, I remember printing some parts three or four times before achieving the fit we wanted. With the Absolute Arm, we now print only one or two times before going to tooling. It was very important for me to get a good scanner that provides accurate data.
We also gain time on scanning. Before we had to probe every single point; now the laser scanner creates a point cloud in seconds. Of course, we take our time with our scans because when I get an accurate and complete scan, I can make sure my design will fit more accurately after the first 3D print.
The same can be said for our tube applications. Before we were trying to measure and bend until the part fit correctly, taking several attempts. Now we know that the bends are correct the first time, every time.
KP: What factors led you to choose Hexagon as a measurement service provider?
CL: We chose Hexagon and the Absolute Arm because of price, quality and the support provided. Like any system and new technology, issues can happen, so we wanted to make sure we had the appropriate support and that it was close by. We’re very satisfied with the support we’re getting from Hexagon and any issue is fixed in a couple of days.
KP: What does quality mean to you?
CL: Quality for me means meeting or exceeding customer expectations aFe POWER takes pride in making sure that the product doesn’t come back because of issues or the customer not being satisfied. We want to earn their trust for life.
Visit the About Portable Measuring Arms page to learn more about the solutions that help aFe POWER deliver premier automotive performance upgrade systems and components.
Kyle Pheland is the Marketing Promotions Specialist for Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, North America. Pheland is responsible for the development and execution of marketing and advertising materials including product promotions, public relations activities, media advertising, customer communications, social media, web content, email marketing, sales tools and events for North America. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Salve Regina University.