Accuracy, speed, portability, and safety – these are the essential qualities the engineering team at Weldco-Beales looked for when considering purchasing a professional 3D scanning system.
They found these benefits and more in the Artec Leo, sold and supported by TriMech.
- With support from TriMech, the engineering team at Weldco-Beales selected the Artec Leo because it’s highly accurate, portable, and has a built-in screen. It suits the team’s need to maximize safety while scanning heavy equipment in challenging conditions and to accurately capture the geometry of the machine they will build onto.
- The time savings, when compared to using a manual reverse engineering process (involving measuring by hand and using cardboard templates), is impressive. Generating precise CAD data using the Artec Leo, Artec Studio, and Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS saves hours on smaller projects and days on larger ones.
Weldco-Beales Manufacturing designs and manufacturers specialized heavy equipment attachments that serve industries such as construction, road maintenance, forestry, and mining. Examples include buckets, blades, and booms for excavators, backhoes, and heavy trucks. The company has four manufacturing locations in Canada – in BC, Alberta, and Ontario.
All attachments are made to complement the original machine, suit the job, maximize productivity, and extend service life. With those goals in mind, 3D laser scanning plays an important role in the engineering process. To ensure they accurately capture the geometry of the original machine they will build onto, WBM designers use the handheld Artec Leo.
An all-in-one wireless system
The Artec Leo is a wireless and fully standalone professional 3D scanner designed to make scanning as easy as possible. With a powerful processor, ample storage, and battery onboard, plus a five-inch HD built-in display, it’s an all-in-one 3D scanning solution for fast, accurate, and high-quality data capture.
Mike Aceto is the Senior Engineering Manager at Weldco-Beales. He relied on TriMech to support him and his team as they researched, purchased, and learned to use the Artec Leo and related software – Artec Studio and Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS.
Mike chose the Leo because of its high accuracy and portability. His engineering team scans equipment in challenging conditions – outdoors, in tight spaces, on uneven ground, at height – so the Leo fits their needs.
“Having the screen built in and not having to carry a separate laptop is a huge advantage for us,” he said. “And not having to worry about a power cord means there’s no tripping hazard.”
WBM builds onto both new equipment and used. Machines that have been subject to harsh working environments are often bent out of shape, damaged, or modified. Even if Mike’s team had CAD models for the original equipment they need to build onto, those models wouldn’t be as reliable as scanned data that captures the exact current geometry.
Saving time while ensuring accuracy
Before using the Artec Leo, reverse engineering was a manual process involving a tape measure, string, cardboard templates, and a few photos.
The time savings using scanning is impressive. Mike shared the story of a customer who had a sizable fleet of buckets they had invested in, but they no longer fit the (newly redesigned) machine they were intended to attach to.
To create a new interface between the machine and the bucket, before having the Artec Leo, Mike’s team would have spent up to half a day studying and measuring the profile of the area where the mounting plate would attach, making and refining cardboard templates, and manually entering data into SOLIDWORKS to generate 3D CAD models.
Today, using the Artec Leo, Artec Studio, and Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS, the time spent is cut in half, with the post-processing taking less than an hour.
The larger the scale, the greater the impact. In another example, a customer needed a side boom affixed to a backhoe. Mike said that scanning the backhoe took about an hour, and post processing the data took about eight hours. Doing that process manually, with all the associated trial and error, would have taken at least three full days, maybe even closer to a week.
“Being able to work fast while still ensuring accuracy and quality has a huge impact,” he said.
Easily sharing data nationwide
Having three heavy attachment manufacturing facilities in three different Canadian provinces and working with customers operating on remote job sites has its challenges. If you fly to a remote location to capture the data you need, you want to get it right the first time. Using 3D scanning has reduced the risk of errors and rework.
The ease of sharing the scanned data across the three facilities is also appreciated. The Leo and its dedicated laptop reside at the Edmonton branch but can be transported to other locations when needed. An engineer can do the scanning and post processing and store the data in the SOLIDWORKS PDM vault. Someone at another branch can use the Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS plugin to design the 3D CAD model, and the part can be manufactured at yet another location.
Learning from TriMech
The WBM team appreciated the expertise at TriMech and took advantage of demonstrations and training (all successfully delivered remotely), which covered how to operate the Leo and use Artec Studio and Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS.
“As with any new technology you adopt, there’s a learning curve,” Mike said. “TriMech has been awesome. Cory (Green) was dedicated to making sure we were all well trained, even if it took a bit of extra time, and I can bounce questions off him anytime.”
After eight months of having the Leo, some on the WBM team racked up enough experience to begin to document and share best practices, helping everyone across the country work consistently and efficiently.
Embracing new technology
Mike shared that WBM is known for producing high quality, reliable, robust products.
“People look at our work and think, these people don’t skip steps or cut corners. We’re not afraid to embrace new technology and our customers see that happening right in front of them. I have never used the Artec Leo without drawing a crowd of people who want to learn what it’s all about.”
When asked what’s next for WBM, Mike says they’ll continue to be progressive, always looking for new and interesting projects. And to support growth, two more Leos and an Artec Ray (for long range, larger scans) are on the wish list.
Mike appreciates his relationship with TriMech, which supports WBM’s commitment to ongoing innovation.
“A 3D scanner is a big purchase that brings immediate value and quick return on investment. We saw the impact on our business right away. And we chose to purchase from TriMech because we value the ongoing relationship we have with them. I especially like that they offer more than one type of technology solution and can help in various ways.”
Weldco-Beales Manufacturing is online at weldco-beales.com