The innovative Metris Cross Scanner is used at Volvo Cars Gent to further accelerate the design-throughmanufacturing process for its brand new Volvo XC60 crossover vehicle. By digitizing physical sheet metal and plastic body parts and virtually assembling vehicle bodies in software, Volvo engineers completed pre-production geometry verification nearly twice as fast! 3D laser scanning technology, point cloud processing and virtual assembly shortened physical evaluation of prototypes and eliminates the need for costly specialized verification tooling.
Nikon Metrology’s cross scanner @ volvo cars gent
XC50-LS is an innovative cross scanner that digitizes sheet metal and plastic body parts.
- Captures all details of geometric features in a single scan
- Accelerates inspection preparation and execution
- Drives virtual body assembly and speeds up pre-production geometry verification
Body assembly on the critical vehicle development path
Ground-breaking 3D cross laser scanner technology
Faster and better Volvo XC60 body geometry verification
Verifying surfaces and features using handheld laser scanners
The collaboration project with Volvo Cars also contributed to the development of K-Scan, a handheld laser scanner with a single laser stripe for in-situ inspection. An optical CMM continuously tracks the scanner so that the operator can freely walk around and take scans in an area that spans an entire vehicle. Volvo engineers use K-Scan to verify flush & gap, body deformation and static/ dynamic geometry on prototype or early production vehicles. Colorcoded visual inspection reports illustrate how flush & gap evolves along complete spines in between hood and front fender, for example. Optical handheld verification also includes special cases where manual methods fall short, such as zero gaps, or in case an urgent issue comes up that needs fast troubleshooting.
In summary, the new process reduces times for matching loops, and realizes an important cost reduction for test materials and screwed body, nominal blue bucks and dedicated fixtures. Virtual verification on the basis of 3D scanning is a major step forward. This project received the Henry Ford Technology Award in Detroit. 3D scanning covers reverse engineering of clay models, virtual geometry verification of vehicle body structures, and geometric feedback data collection on finished cars.
Reduction in number of geometry iteration loops
When preparing production rollout for the Volvo C30 in 2006, the virtual body geometry method has been applied and evaluated for the first time. In parallel, traditional tactile verification methods were performed to set benchmarks in terms of inspection precision and throughput. When ramping up Volvo XC60 production in 2008, it was actually managed to reduce geometry iteration loops and the lead-time of individual loops Fewer physical evaluation prototypes also reduce material scrap and decreases expenditure of complex verification tooling, such as body-in-white cubing.”
3D scanning technologies are already well accepted at Volvo Cars where they are used in different stages of the car manufacturing process. Non-contact metrology is systematically applied in the early design stages when engineering styling by digitizing clay models. In pre-production, engineering intensively digitizes body parts and bodyin-white structures to optimize part manufacturing and assembly. After kicking off serial production, specific aspects of car components or full cars are scanned to serve as SPC samples for quality monitoring and product audit purposes. For the future, an important role for laser scanning is seen as a key enabler of in-line quality control.
The successful project was partially funded by IWT, a Belgian institution supported by the Flemish Government that encourages technological innovation projects, and managed by Flanders’ DRIVE, an innovation and collaboration platform for the Flemish vehicle industry.