Thanks to the internet, today’s marketplace for products of all sorts is indeed global. No longer are manufacturers contending with just local competitors. Now, competition comes from around the world, prompting manufacturers to be more innovative than ever before AND demanding that they produce their products much more quickly than in the past while not sacrificing quality, of course.
Each year, thousands and thousands of products don’t meet the mark. As a matter of fact, there are a number of reasons why products fail. Sometimes products just don’t fit the market. They’re not what customers need and want. At other times, it’s all about poor marketing. The product may be of good quality and may be useful to buyers, but the information about it never reaches the right ears.
Another huge issue is time-to-market length. In other words, the time it takes to hit the market, from those first ideas and drawings until the product takes shape, can be too long, and manufacturers who fail to streamline the manufacturing process can lose out. Indeed, the lifecycle of a product can make or break it, especially in this hypercompetitive world.
So, how do you streamline that manufacturing process so that you’re able to stay competitive?
Using a 3D scanner in product lifecycle management
If you’ve got a product innovation team in your company, chances are they’ll argue that conceptualizing a product is probably the most important step in the manufacturing process. Why? Because product design dictates about 70 percent of that product’s total cost. As such, it’s important for product development teams to be able to test a variety of ideas both quickly and inexpensively so that, later, they won’t need to make expensive changes in production tooling, which could eat up a lot of your budget.
Enter the 3D scanner. When developing a new product from scratch, teams can first employ the skills of the 3D scanner by using it to scan other products on the market that are similar to the new product they’re working on. This is called competitive analysis, and it becomes much easier with the use of a scanner. Scan-to-CAD files can then be generated so that the creative team can identify specifications and design requirements.
Once designers have done their due diligence and then make a mock-up of the new product, a 3D scanner can then be used to scan the model – regardless of what it’s made of – and can then create the mesh for further styling in CAD software. This is an invaluable step and one that can save lots of time and money with the use of a scanner.
Once a viable concept is designed, teams can go one step further into the 3D realm and use a 3D printer to make a prototype that can be held in the hand, assessed, and adjusted as necessary. If adjustments do indeed need to be made, a particular part can be scanned and changes made in the CAD file according to the design team’s specifications. In many cases, this can be done quite quickly.
This is where 3D scanning assists with quality control. The cost of poor quality, according to the publication Quality Digest, can eat up as much as 30 percent of gross sales for service and manufacturing companies. When quality is shoddy, time and money is wasted and competitors get the edge. A 3D scanner can assure that you don’t go down that road.
Even after the product makes it to market, however, 3D scanning can still be a valuable tool. 3D scans are often used for technical and training manuals and support documentation, and company’s can digitally archive final concepts, inspection processes, and more.
In conclusion, thanks to 3D scanning, not only is the entire manufacturing process streamlined but details on everything from design to manufacturing to quality control can be preserved, available in the future for any number of product-related needs.
Choosing a 3D Scanner
It’s difficult to prescribe a particular scanner without knowing more about your company and its needs. If you need exceptional accuracy, for example, your choice may be different than that chosen by a company that doesn’t require that same degree of exactness. The size and intricacy of your products can also influence the type of scanner that’s best for your needs.
At 3DRE, we offer , modelling, and inspection services and also sell 3D scanners that can take you from conception through the entire production process more quickly and easily. For more information about our products and services, call us at 604-910-0165.