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How do I quantify my Return On Investment in a 3D scanner?

By Laser Lines’ 3D scanning product specialist Peter Smith

You can buy a consumer 3D scanner for £600 or spend up to 6 figures on an industrial unit. Their features and abilities will be as far apart as their prices, but how do you measure the Return On Investment (ROI) on the high value, professional option? The answer isn’t as obvious as you might imagine.

There is a lot of chatter and misinformation surrounding 3D scanners. More-so than for 3D printing, even. It’s reasonable to ask why you should spend more on a piece of professional equipment when, in theory, any 3D scanner can capture a 3D object. The simple answer to that is: you get what you pay for.

Producing a clean scan

A 3D scanner is a measuring instrument. It calculates the distance from the scanner of millions of points on the surface of an object, usually by triangulation. This is the Z value for each point. The X and Y axes are taken care of because they are a function of the camera’s CCD. Like any measurement instrument, data can be subject to noise which can be thought of as a scattering of data from a mean.

Processing scan data to remove noise can be very time consuming. Because you are manipulating this data, it is no longer accurately representative of the original object.

So, there are two things to look for in a 3D scanner: accuracy and how it handles noise.

High accuracy data with low noise means higher quality data, which requires much less processing time. The parts generated remain true to the original.

The EviXscan range of high performance 3D scanners from Laser Lines provides data of exceptionally good quality, minimising post processing time and retaining accuracy.

Maximising your resources

Like any investment, 3D scanners are designed to save you time and reduce costs. If they are not doing these, they are pointless. Poor performance scanners can actually take up more time.

One of the things it is important to bear in mind is that the person best qualified to use the 3D scanner is most likely a CAD engineer. They know what they want to get out of it, and will have the best idea of how to use the hardware and software to get there. CAD engineers are a valuable resource, and 3D scanners allow them to perform their role more efficiently.

Freed of the time required to manually reverse engineer something that already exists into the digital realm, they can do what they were hired to do in the first place: be creative, innovate, and improve.

The return on investment, then, isn’t necessarily just a measure of time and costs saved. With a good quality scanner, such as the EviXscan range, the design and reverse engineering cycles can be shortened so product time to market and cost can be reduced.

It’s also the level of innovation to which your team can aspire once they are freed from the less skilled and tedious jobs.

A 3D scanner can shorten your production cycle, and free your staff to be more creative. Call Laser Lines on 01295 672599 or email 3dworld@laserlines.co.uk to explore the full range that we sell and support.

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