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NVision Helps Soft Air Produce Handgun Replica Three Months Faster


(November 18, 2010) - Soft Air USA used NVision's laser scanning services to save three months in getting an Airsoft replica of FN Herstal's FNP9-17 handgun  to market. This is a significant time-savings over Soft Air's previous process, which involved making silicon molds of real guns and using the molds to create  injection molds that in turn make the replica Airsoft guns. Laser scanning saves  time because it eliminates the need for manual touch up of the silicon mold and  the resulting CAD model of the real gun can then be electronically sent to manufacturers  in Asia.

"Airsoft" refers to a specific type of replica gun that shoots lightweight  plastic pellets at a muzzle velocity of less than 600 foot per second. The combination  of the light projectile and relatively low muzzle velocity means that Airsoft  guns are generally considered safe when used with safety equipment such as protective  eyeware. Soft Air USA®, Inc is a subsidiary of Cybergun S.A., the world's  leading manufacturer of replica Airsoft guns. Soft Air USA® has licenses  from gun manufacturers such as Colt®, Sig Sauer®,  IMI (Uzi®), Mauser, Thompson® and Kalishnikov.

NVision Helps Soft Air Produce Handgun ReplicaThe FNP-9 is a polymer-framed pistol that weights 25 ounces and has a 16+1  magazine capacity. "The FNP-9 handgun has never been done as an Airsoft  gun in the past," said John Steele, President of Soft Air USA. "We  wanted to make as accurate a reproduction of the gun as is humanly possible."  In the past, Soft Air has reproduced guns by first making a silicon mold of  the actual gun. One problem with this approach was that the gun used as the  master was destroyed in the process. Another problem was that the silicon mold  typically had many imperfections such as bubbles that needed to be fixed by  hand. This process took a considerable period of time. Also, the mold had to  be shipped to contract manufacturers in Asia that build the replica guns, which  took additional time.

Soft Air contracted with NVision's Engineering Service division to make a laser  scan of the gun. Laser scanning works by projecting a line of laser light onto  the surfaces to be measured, while a camera continuously triangulates the changing  distance and profile of the laser line as it sweeps along. A computer translates  the video image of the line into accurate 3D coordinates of the object's geometry.  NVision engineers create a point cloud consisting of millions of points and  use the scan data to create a parametric solid model. The resulting CAD file  is provided to Soft Air USA®.

"The digital file produced by NVision duplicates every detail of the original  gun with outstanding accuracy," Steele said. "This eliminates the  time that was previously spent in manually correcting the silicon mold. We are  also able to send the CAD file electronically to our manufacturing partners,  which eliminates shipping time. Laser scanning helped us get this new product  to market three months sooner than would have been possible using our previous  methods. It also helps us attain a higher level of accuracy than was possible  in the past. NVision's laser scanning services help us achieve a significant  competitive advantage by getting to market faster with a better product."

About NVision

NVision, Inc. (www.nvision3d.com) was established in 1990 with one goal in mind: to provide customers with the highest accuracy non-contact optical measurement systems and services for Reverse Engineering and Inspection. Focusing our expertise on the aerospace, power generation, and oil/gas industries, NVision provides both contract scanning services and systems sales to companies throughout North America. Our elite team of engineers provides customers with an unmatchable level of experience and is able to advise and assist with the most difficult engineering challenges.

NVision’s clients include industry leaders such as Alstom, Boeing, GE, Lockheed, Lear, NASA, Porsche, Raytheon, Siemens, Toyota, and every branch of the U.S. military.


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