UK’s first portable, 3D scanner

Assembly Automation

ISSN: 0144-5154

Article publication date: 1 August 2008



(2008), "UK’s first portable, 3D scanner", Assembly Automation, Vol. 28 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

UK’s first portable, 3D scanner

Article Type: Mini features From: Assembly Automation, Volume 28, Issue 3

The EXAscan laser scanner is being introduced by Minima Design (Figure 2) in response to market demand to provide a portable, fast and cost effective scanning service for use in multi-faceted applications including reverse engineering.

 Figure 2 The time-to-market for new products is greatly reduced when the
EXAscan laser scanner is used as shown

Figure 2 The time-to-market for new products is greatly reduced when the EXAscan laser scanner is used as shown

What sets the EXAscan apart from previous scanning devices is its third, high-definition camera which increases the scanning resolution as well as the data acquisition accuracy.

The scanner, which does not require a secondary positioning device, automatically sets the highest mesh resolution possible based on the user settings and the physical size of the scan area.

This saves time during post-processing, since it is no longer necessary to take several scans or increase the mesh resolution during a scan.

Alastair Kingsland, Design Director at Minima explains:

“The EXAscan will be particularly useful for scanning products and devices found throughout many market sectors including aerospace, automotive, biomechanics, consumer products and multimedia. Its applications run from reverse engineering to design and manufacture, inspection, digital mock-ups and simulation”.

Following the acquisition of the scan data, Minima uses a set of STL triangle files to build the 3D geometry of the subject using 3D CAD software - a further saving in time, with the added guarantee of increased accuracy to a standard accuracy ±0.1 mm - high accuracy ±0.05 m.

Because the scanner is portable, Minima’s team is able to visit clients on site and fit into tight corners which would previously been restricted. Using real-time, on-screen surface display, the process is fast and data acquisition is effective. Using the STL file output directly means there are no further point clouds to manipulate in the scanning process.

Nigel Blair, Minima’s Technical Director who introduced the EXAscan, has spent weeks perfecting his scanning technique in order to boost accuracy and ultimately save time and money for clients. In a commercial context, the time saved by using the scanner adds to the project’s return on investment as Nigel explains:

“This scanner is already proving a hit in situations where products that need reviewing were originally designed before 3D CAD technology was available and where they have been moulded in a hand made tool for years. In these situations, rather than allocating man-hours to manually measuring the component and generating CAD data, thanks to the use of the third camera, the scanner allows us to build CAD surfaces around an STL framework of scanned information”.

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