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Andrei Vakulenko

Metrology

Slashing Weeks Off Reverse-Engineering Farm Equipment

3D scanning speeds custom product design

Published: Thursday, August 22, 2019 - 12:02

Taylor Attachments, based in the United Kingdom, custom designs and produces tractor headstock conversion brackets. These are attachments for farm handlers and loaders, for mounting everything from buckets to forks, grapples, saws, carriers, bale stabbers, grabbers, hitches, backhoes, tillers, yard scrapers, and more. Clients also send the company legacy equipment, which Taylor’s specialists precisely measure and reproduce using the latest materials and technology.

In the past at Taylor, this was a 100-percent manual process, which meant a busy 7 to 12 hours of making drawings using rulers and calipers, and pens and pencils to trace out parts and components on cardboard and paper, before creating mock-up prototypes for testing and secondary alterations.

The entire process entailed lots of cross-referencing and double-checking, and would take anywhere from seven days up to two or three weeks for each part. That’s the industry average. And it’s an inaccurate process, requiring lots of fine-tuning before each product is ready to be shipped to the client’s doorstep.

Not that Taylor has much competition to speak of, but all of these companies are still using the old process described above or a similar workflow for their in-house manufacturing of replacement headstocks.

As for Taylor, it has since moved on to using a professional handheld 3D scanner, the Artec Eva, and it’s made a striking difference in Taylor’s day-to-day workflow. Having had no previous experience with 3D scanners, they were introduced to Eva by the experienced professionals at Artec’s Gold-Certified Reseller Europac 3D, specialists in everything 3D, from software to printers to structured white-light scanners such as Eva, known worldwide for its ability to easily capture medium-sized objects quickly and precisely.

In the words of Mark Taylor, “Eva has literally saved us days if not weeks of work, and that’s no exaggeration. Previously we were spending all that time creating prototypes to test, then that many more hours on alterations to reach the level of perfect, compared to now achieving perfection the first time, and every time, with Eva.”

All of Taylor’s replacement headstocks are designed in-house and sold both nationwide and abroad to leaders in agriculture and industry. Being able to minimize turnaround time so dramatically has made a huge difference in both the volume of work Taylor has been able to take on and manage, as well as maintaining the utmost levels of quality that the company has been famous for.

Mark Taylor threw back the curtain to show us what their workflow looks like today, “Now with Eva, it takes only about 20 minutes to scan an entire headstock, then another 20 minutes to post-process everything in Artec Studio, and after that the 3D model from Studio is sent over to our in-house design team. What they do is use the Xtract3D add-in for SOLIDWORKS to create a beautiful, highly precise 3D model that’s 100-percent ready for production.”

“After that, it’s immediately sent over to one of our laser-cutting partners, all of whom work to the highest standards,” continues Taylor. “What are we looking at in terms of individual project time with Eva? Everything from start to finish in less than 24 hours. That’s it. Compare that with the seven days to two or three weeks it took us when we were doing it the old way. There’s simply no going back for us.”

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About The Author

Andrei Vakulenko’s picture

Andrei Vakulenko

Andrei Vakulenko is Chief Business Development Officer at Artec 3D. Artec 3D provides professional solutions for 3D digitizing real-world objects with complex geometry and rich texture in high resolution