From the early prehistoric discovery of how to create fire to the printing press to the telephone to the Internet, it is mankind's ability to think and innovate that has driven us to where we are today.

Innovation is key for business success. However, with fierce global competition, it is increasingly more and more difficult to get to the top and to remain at the top. Engineers and Designers are faced with immense pressures to come up with new products and innovate - faster than ever before. Here, we take a look at how they can deal with these mounting daily challenges ...

Welcome to Product Development 3.0


Concept : the beginning of a project when new ideas are generated.

Design : when you want to get as close as possible to the actual product taking several factors into consideration - design, manufacturing, cost, usability, packaging, etc.

Manufacturing : it's now time to make the product and ensure that its production can be scaled.

Servicing : product quality must be maintained until it's time to disassemble and plan for the next cycle.

Today there are many technologies that are available to help companies of all types to accelerate their product development processes and ensure that the products they manufacture truly meet the needs and expectations for which they were originally designed. 3D printing and 3D scanning are excellent examples of these technologies. 

3D Scan & 3D Print - 10 Applications for Industrial Product Design Using CAD

Concept :

1. Start Point - start from an existing shape or object :

Often encountered when designing accessories or replacement products, when the exact shape of the mating object or assembly is required. 3D scanning provides accurate reproduction of such objects, especially when original manufacturing data is no longer available.

2. Creation - the power of using hands (and minds) :

3D scanning enables you to combine the power of traditional modelling using clay or similar materials with modern CAD processes

Design :

3. Validation - is that what you had in mind ?

There's nothing like having the product in your own hands to feel it, try it out, play with it and approve the design. 3D printing can bring ideas and concepts to life.

4. Modification - now, that's what I really want !

Even the slightest modifications to your prototype need to be brought into the CAD environment to get the perfect design. 3D scanning gives you the tools to achieve this quickly, easily and reliably.

5. Simulation - test in order to optimise !

Product designs can be optimised through testing (e.g. wind tunnel) or FEA, utilising 3D printing and scanning to change and re-create design changes.

Manufacturing :

6. Production - build from the ground up

Getting custom tooling and setups faster is critical in starting the manufacturing process sooner. 3D printing can expedite this process.

7. Control - make sure everything fits together

Everything must be constantly verified and monitored to ensure fit and product quality. 3D scanning provides fast and accurate measurement with direct comparison to the original design data.

Servicing :

8. Documentation - prepare service manuals and other materials

Having the exact shape of an object is highly practical to prepare service manuals or other documentation. 3D scanning can facilitate documentation, especially through the use of simulation and video technology.

9. Maintain - is your tooling still optimal or does it need replacing ?

Monitor tooling quality and manufacturing processes; repair or replace it when required. Like monitoring product quality, 3D scanners enable tooling to be checked and monitored for wear and tear.

10. Dismantle - it's time to plan the end of this product

Complex setups can require specialised planning to take apart. 3D scanning can assist with ensuring tooling is dismantled and recorded accordingly.

Reverse Engineering : The Way to CAD

The process of reverse engineering implies the use of an existing object as a starting point and returning it to its original concept. Although it is often perceived as a simple means to reproduce (or copy) an object, it actually involves a lot of skills and thinking to fully appreciate and understand the methodology and the amount of work involved. Do you want to reproduce the object "as it is" in its current state and form (warts and all), or do you want to reproduce the object according to its original design intent ?

Only then can designers and engineers fully appreciate the purpose of the part, integrate its concept, modify it, and elevate it to the next level. Given the potential complexity of such a process, different approaches are available. These can be essentially broken down into 2 alternatives, each providing advantages and disadvantages according to your individual needs.

Scan-to-CAD Bridge Software :

A software module that acts as a "bridge" between 3D scan and your existing CAD software, enabling you to extract valuable information from a 3D scan and export the information into CAD to perform reverse engineering ;

- extract geometrical features from the scan data such as circles, planes, holes, surfaces, etc.

- transfer features to CAD to create a model based on the imported entities using the standard CAD tools

- upstream transfer to get the necessary information to perform the RE process within the CAD software

Advantages :

+ better suited to occasional users and simpler projects, those with advanced CAD software and extensive CAD capabilities

+ ideal for applications where CAD design represents a large proportion of the workload

+ more affordable as it fully utilises existing CAD software

+ much simpler and easier to use

Disadvantages :

- sometimes involves hopping between applications when additional features are needed.

Complete "RE" Software :

A standalone third party software, dedicated to reverse engineering. It features all the tools needed to generate a complete CAD model out of 3D scan data and then send to CAD software ;

- create a complete solid model using the 3D scan data and then transfer to CAD software

- downstream transfer to perform the RE process before transferring the complete solid model to CAD

- better suited to those without existing CAD, those working on complex or large-scale projects, or where RE represents a large proportion of the workload

Advantages :

+ provides a comprehensive set of tools for more complex applications

+ history tree is transferred to the CAD software

+ allows creation of the complete model within the context of scan data

Disadvantages :

- more expensive

- infrequent users can forget how to use it

- overkill solution for smaller and simpler projects.

To help us figure out the best approach for you, let's follow the Creaform subway map !


3D Scan and 3D Print - Just Like a Washer and Dryer !

3D scanning and additive manufacturing provide a way "in" and a way "out" of the digital world. Any production setup can be exported, documented, modified, confirmed and reimported into CAD. This ensures maximum quality and efficiency of the entire product design process.

It's All About Time - and Time Is Money

Product Development 3.0 is all about compressing the time required from inception, through engineering design and manufacturing, to service and disposal of finished products. This can be achieved in a variety of ways using the latest 3D scanning and printing technologies ;

- Ensure faster time to market by shortening product development cycles

- Improve overall quality of parts and design by preventing defects and rejects thanks to inspections

- Eliminate the need to store parts by storing files instead and reducing warehousing costs

- Better understand product performance, and leverage documentation and analyses.

If you are looking to speed up your time-to-market and gain a competitive edge, contact Measurement Solutions today for more information on our scan-to-print and reverse engineering solutions.