Quality Inspection Case Studies

Artec Eva Crushes Inaccuracies at Finnish Manufacturing Company

Challenge: Using Artec Eva for quality control of parts during time of production, as well as scanning worn parts for restoration and repair

Solution: Artec Eva, Artec Studio, Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS

Results: The manufacturing company relies on Artec Eva for quality control and to ensure reliable accuracy in their products

By Loretta Marie Perera

When the manufacturer of spare parts for mining and construction Element was founded in 2017, it was clear to them that efficiency and accuracy needed to be the cornerstone of their business. An international manufacturing company for spare parts and replacement pieces as well as a service provider, Element was started by mining experts from Russia and Finland. Today, the team has grown to include 120 employees, and their sales and partnerships extend from Russia to China, Finland to Kazakhstan, Eastern Europe to Scandinavia.

Artec Eva is used to ensure the precise measurements of the mantle of cone crushers, a key type of machine used in mining and ore processing. Photo by Element.

But through changes, developments, and expansion over the years, one thing has stayed the same: Element has always used scanning technology in their work. Namely, Artec Eva.

A structured-light 3D scanner that provides quick, accurate, and textured models, Artec Eva works best with medium-sized objects and for capturing precise measurements in high resolution. A great solution for all sorts of objects – including shiny and black objects, which are notoriously difficult to scan – Eva suits a wide range of industries, from automotive to medicine, with its vast capabilities, from reverse engineering to quality control.

And since the start of the company, Element has never looked back. “As a tech start-up, we decided to invest in modern technology from the very beginning,” Production Director Sergey Kolesnikov says. “We’ve never worked without 3D scanning technology.”

At the frontline of these operations is scanning engineer Alexander Slatvickiy, who has been using Eva since he began working for Element in 2018. For him, starting to scan was a straightforward journey. “The training was quick and easy, thanks to how convenient using Artec Studio was,” Slatvickiy says. “Because of that, I was able to scan on my own after just two days of practice under the supervision of my mentor.”

The main purpose of their scanning is quality control, says Kolesnikov. For example, scanning is used to ensure the precise measurements of the mantles of cone crushers, a key type of machine used in mining and ore processing.

Produced by a sand casting method, the mantle featured here is made of Manganese Steel, an alloy discovered in 1882.

The parts come in a variety of sizes, with larger ones requiring high levels of participation. Photo by Element.

The manufacturing process usually takes a couple of weeks. Once the parts are ready, samples are taken out for accuracy testing.

“First, we scan all surfaces of the sample with Artec Eva,” Slatvickiy says. “And with Artec Studio, no surfaces are missed, as scanned surfaces are displayed in real time.” Next, a polygonal model is created in Artec Studio. Excessive surfaces from surrounding objects are erased before global registration and merging, and tools are implemented to create an STL surface model. This model can then be used for quality control in Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS, where new models are compared to models of original parts, or to highly accurate drawings.

“We plot the sketches per section locations and use SOLIDWORKS tools for measurements,” Slatvickiy explains. For this task, the advantageous features of Geomagic are the Deviation Analysis tool applied for visualization of deviations of polygonal models from the nominal profile, and the Orient Mesh tool to ensure the basic planes of the polygonal model match the basic planes of the solid model.

The entire process from scanning, processing, and modeling, to comparing takes no longer than four hours, and in some cases is as fast as 30 minutes.

Alexander Shestakov from Gold Certified Artec partner Globatek says that Artec Eva is the ideal solution for this process, where highly accurate scans are captured in mere minutes. “Whether it is a warehouse complex or the territory of a mining enterprise, some of Artec Eva’s defining characteristics – its light weight and ease of use – allow you to work up to six hours in a mobile mode, in compliance with all requirements for digitization accuracy.”

To meet the high standards (ISO 9001) of quality the company provides, two types of issues need to be looked into: Critical issues such as high inaccuracy, and non-critical issues that can be resolved post-production. “We reject parts if our scanning report indicates an occurrence of critical issues,” Kolesnikov says. “If not, we’re usually able to make some changes to eliminate non-critical issues through collaboration with our suppliers.”

Processed data from the scan.

“To meet our standards, we need measuring inaccuracy of not more than 0.0001%,” Kolesnikov says. “That means in a 1000mm, or 1 meter diameter, there’s less than 0.1mm room for error.”

Beyond that, Element also utilizes Eva to scan worn parts for their customers – they are then able to scan worn parts and ensure their precise restoration.

Beyond a job well done, it’s the ease of use and accuracy that scanning brings to the process that Element’s engineers most enjoy. “Most of all, I like the scanning process,” says Slatvickiy. “I also like the ability of Artec Eva to work on battery power, the convenience of scanning and processing software Artec Studio, and the accuracy of scanning.”

“Using Eva for quality control allows you to guarantee the customer high quality of delivered products,” Shestakov adds, “As well as to minimize logistic costs that would’ve been incurred when returning large equipment.”

Thames Water Uses Artec Eva to Help Prevent Water Leaks

Summary: The UK’s largest water and wastewater service provider decided upon 3D scanning at their R&D facility to help validate their NDT (non-destructive testing) process.

The Goal: To 3D scan selected segments of blast-cleaned large diameter ferrous water mains to create precise 3D models and use these to determine wall thickness variations across the pipe surface.

Tools Used: Artec Eva, Artec Studio

Thames Water is the UK’s largest water and wastewater services providers with over 15 million customers and as part of their business they deliver an average of 2,600 litres of drinking water every day. Thames Water’s cast iron water mains in many areas of London and the Thames Valley are among the oldest in the UK, and many of them are wearing out. Their staff have been working hard to replace the smaller distribution mains over the past 15 years, but now the larger trunk mains are of growing concern. A burst in just one of the trunk mains can leave thousands of customers without water, cause major flooding and disrupt transport routes.

Dr Tim Evans, water network innovation manager, explains how new technology is paving the way for a more sustainable replacement approach. “It’s costly to replace pipes, so we need to prioritize the riskiest ones,” he said. “A big challenge with cast iron is that it corrodes unevenly and the corrosion is very hard to detect. Traditionally we’ve assessed the condition of a water main by cutting out a short length of pipe, sand-blasting it to remove the corrosion, then measuring the resulting craters by hand. But taking pipe cut-outs is disruptive for customers and road users, and expensive for Thames Water.”

To remove the need for pipe cut-outs Thames Water started to use non-destructive testing (NDT) technology, such as ultrasound. “It’s similar to pregnancy scans, except we’re looking for corrosion instead of babies!” says Dr Evans. Looking to the future, “the aim is to be able to send a device into a water main that will gather NDT condition data all along it, not just in short excavations.”

Surface scanners help Thames Water understand what different NDT tools can measure and a Konica-Minolta Vivid system had been used to map corrosion in small diameter (4-8”) pipes. However, such a system is inappropriate for pipes over 18” diameter. For large pipes a handheld scanner is needed, and Thames Water appraised market offerings inviting various suppliers to demonstrate their equipment. Following up on the first demonstration Patrick Thorn & Co., Thames Water’s local Artec specialist, worked with the company to scan a large pipe section so they could confirm that the Artec Eva™ delivered the essential performance they required. Thames Water concluded the Eva would offer the most cost effective option to meet their requirements. Following the purchase of an Eva™ Patrick Thorn also assisted the staff working with the scanner with comprehensive training in the use of the system and acquiring additional software through which they can perform more detailed analysis of data from the Eva™.

Since delivery of the Eva™, Alex Rainer, working on a research project between Thames Water and the University of Surrey, has been developing an appropriate methodology, combining the Eva™ and its software, visual texture added to the pipe and a motorized pipe rotator, so reliable 3D models of the pipes can be built. Artec Studio 10.1, the recently updated system software, has increased the robustness of making the mesh by improved texture tracking whilst recording data. It also utilizes more of the multi-core capability of the PC workstation used in the project so the raw data processing is completed in a significantly shorter time. Comparing the models from before and after corrosion is removed from the pipe enables corrosion levels to be mapped to a good level of accuracy. The corrosion mapping provided by the Eva™ will be used as a baseline against which the effectiveness of different non-destructive approaches can be gauged.