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Four Considerations for Selecting 3D Scanning Equipment

Posted by Mike Knicker on Aug 23, 2013 7:32:00 AM

3d scanning equipment considerations

3D scanning can be used for multiple reasons, including first article inspection, reverse engineering, and other types of measurement applications. The purpose of 3D scanning is to collect data points to create a digital representation of the object. These data points can be gathered using lasers, white light, contact sensors, and other methods depending on the characteristics of the object being measured.

Although the objective behind the technologies are similar (obtaining measurement data), not all 3D scanning equipment is the same. For example, some equipment gathers data by coming into contact with the object, while others use non-contact optical technology to collect measurements.

Four Factors for Selecting 3D Scanning Equipment

If you plan to purchase 3D scanning equipment, you want to be sure of your choice. Consider the following factors as you reach a decision about what to buy:
  1. Object characteristics - 3D scanning equipment can be used to collect measurement data for objects of almost all shapes and sizes. However, the type of equipment you select depends on the surface characteristics of the object, whether it has internal geometry, its size, and other factors.

  2. Speed - How fast do you need results? Some devices provide faster results than others; however, speed can also impact quality and accuracy, so look at the big picture when you consider what equipment to buy.

  3. Accuracy - This factor is extremely important in many industries. Do you need NIST traceability or an accuracy statement? Make sure that the equipment you buy can meet the accuracy requirements for your applications.

  4. Cost - The cost of 3D scanning equipment varies, even within the same type and class of technology. Although equipment price is an important consideration, it should not be the only one. If the equipment you buy can't produce the results you need, your money will have been wasted.
If you're not sure what to buy, work with a reseller and service provider that has extensive expertise in 3D scanning. The people who use this equipment every day will be able to tell you which systems make the most sense for your needs.

Purchasing 3D scanning equipment is not your only option; you can also work with a qualified lab to outsource measurement services. This can be a more cost-effective solution if you don't often need 3D scanning or will be measuring multiple types of objects.

Whether you decide to buy equipment or outsource services, Q-PLUS Labs is here to help. We are a certified reseller for multiple manufacturers, and we provide 3D scanning, reverse engineering, and dimensional inspection services to all types of industries. Request a quote today to get started.

Do you want to embrace this modern method of measuring but don't know where to start?

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Topics: 3D Scanning, equipment purchasing, purchasing, reverse engineering equipment, equipment purchases, 3D scanning equipment

Reverse Engineering: Should You Purchase Equipment or Outsource?

Posted by Mike Knicker on Jul 2, 2013 2:20:00 PM

reverse engineering purchase or outsource

If you need reverse engineering for your business, you may come to a point when you must decide if you want to outsource to a qualified provider or purchase equipment to do the job in-house.

Both approaches come with advantages and disadvantages. Ask the following questions to help you make an informed decision:

  • How frequently do you need to perform reverse engineering? If the answer is not that often or for a short-term project, you might consider outsourcing as a more cost-effective solution. On the other hand, if you foresee a consistent need for reverse engineering, buying or leasing equipment might be a better approach.

  • How quickly do you need results? If the answer is yesterday, outsourcing is likely to be faster than purchasing new equipment and training staff to use it. If you think buying is a better solution, factor in the time needed to acquire equipment and train your staff.

  • How much can you spend? Working backward from a set budget is a good way to evaluate your options. Remember to factor in more than just equipment costs. You might also need to train staff and pay for maintenance, so the up-front expenses do not necessarily reflect the total cost of ownership. On the other hand, if you will need reverse engineering services for the long run, owning your equipment could cost less over time.

  • What types of objects do you need to reverse engineer? If you expect to scan multiple objects with different sizes and surface characteristics, you might actually need more than one piece of equipment to get the job done. Outsourcing to a provider that has multiple devices can save you time and money. However, if you know you'll be reverse engineering similar objects, doing it in-house could be more efficient.

  • Does your staff know how to reverse engineer? Just because employees are skilled in one area does not mean that they will have the necessary knowledge and skills to use new equipment that they are not familiar with. If you do decide to buy, consider investing in training.

  • Is NIST traceability important? If you require NIST traceability, ensuring that the personnel operating the equipment have the necessary skills becomes even more important. A qualified provider can ensure NIST traceability, or you can train staff so you can achieve it in-house.

  • Can you handle tech support and maintenance in-house? Owning equipment means that you are responsible for calibrating, operating, and maintaining it. If you’re not prepared to do this for the life of the equipment, consider outsourcing. Some equipment resellers also provide ongoing training, support, and maintenance, so if you do buy, look for a provider that offers these services.

One approach that many businesses take is outsourcing before they decide to make an equipment purchase. This way, you can ensure that the equipment you are considering is adequate for the task at hand. You will also have time to hire skilled staff or train your existing employees to use the new equipment.

Whether you buy or outsource, Q-PLUS Labs is here to help. As a reseller of multiple types of equipment, we offer a large selection of manufacturers. Because we use this equipment in our own labs, we are uniquely qualified to help you make the best selection for your specific needs.

If you’re not yet ready to buy, we can perform the reverse engineering for you, either for a single project or on a long-term basis. Get in touch with a representative today to start exploring your reverse engineering options.

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Topics: equipment, reverse engineering, budgeting, project planning, outsourcing, equipment purchasing, purchasing