FARO and 3D Scanning for Engineering

Who is FARO? They are a company that offers both hardware and software for 3D scanning. In this post, we will discuss the capabilities, the applications, and the differentiators of their offerings.

First off, FARO offers what’s called a scan arm. The scan arm is like a little gun attached to an arm that you can move around a part to take specific measurements. It’s very similar to coordinate measuring machining (CMM) except the arm is moved around manually. One of the unique things about their offering is it supports up to eight axes of movement. You can move around a part and take measurements from different angles while it stays physically still. You can also coordinate with a turntable to turn a part around while you take measurements. That is the scanner and contact measurement.

Another option that they have is a structured light scanner which is a non-contact scanning technology. It can be stationary, or you can move it around to get a 360 degrees scan of a part. The scanner not only captures the shape of the part in a point cloud but also captures the color.

Another component FARO offers is software that works with data generated from the scanning arm, which is the contact option, and the structured light scanner, which is the non-contact option. You can use the software to do all sorts of things with the data, or you can take the data to another tool that will work with that 3D data. There are lots of other options that are out there today. That’s the capabilities that you have with FARO.

Now, let’s talk about the applications for FARO. There are four that are relevant for engineering. The first is scan to 3D. Instead of having to rebuild a 3D model in a mechanical CAD application, you can scan a part that already exists. The scan accelerates the path to get the model into the CAD application where you can use it alongside other modeled parts.

The second application is scan to print. When you scan the 3D model, you can send the model directly to 3D printing or additive manufacturing equipment. And, as part of that step, you can apply generative design capabilities through tools that are independent of CAD. You skip CAD completely.

The third application is automated inspection. You can use this to close the manufacturing loop as parts come off the line. You scan the parts and then compare them to the original 3D model for variances to see if they fall within certain tolerances or constraints. You can then make modifications to the design, so the geometry ends up being what you intended.

The fourth application uses the scanning capabilities for AR and VR. You can scan a large environment, make it the environment for an Internet of Things (IoT) connected digital twin, and use that for a simulation. You can use it for a VR or AR experience such as with Unity or Euphoria.

Now, what makes FARO unique? Why are they different?

One differentiator is they have offerings with various levels of precision. If you need a high degree of precision for areas such as quality inspection, closing the loop, or reverse engineering, FARO has offerings that suit those needs. Another differentiator is an integrated suite with inspection and 3D scanning capabilities integrated with software tools. They’re meant to work seamlessly together.

That’s it. Take care and talk soon.

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