NVision - Tier One Supplier Benefits From Laser Technology
Laser technology was used to generate a solid model of a 53-foot trailer with significantly less time and money than would have been needed to do the job by hand.
The "virtual" model was created to test heavy vehicle components produced by a leading tier one supplier for automotive, commercial, and off-highway vehicles. A CAD operator would normally need several months to create such a large simulation model. Instead, the supplier contracted NVision Inc. to model the trailer using laser scanning and laser tracking technology. The model is now being used to refine the design of the supplier's truck components at an earlier stage in the development process, which reduces "time to market" while requiring fewer physical prototypes.
The supplier's Commercial Vehicle Systems group produces trailer axles and suspension systems. Normally, the fatigue performance of these components is
validated by developing representative load profiles by running the vehicle on a proving ground, then compressing these profiles into programs for fatigue
testing rigs. With this approach, the trailer must run many miles to ensure realistic results. This adds to the cost and time of the development process.
supplier improved this process by using multibody simulation to create the same load histories without the need for proving ground testing. But this created the
challenge of developing the full vehicle model needed as a first step in the virtual development process.
The supplier's project engineer estimated that a designer would need three to four months to create the model from hand measurements and existing 2D
drawings. Measurement error could affect the accuracy of the simulation and be impossible to detect. "We've been pleased with NVision's laser measurement
service in the past, so we decided to contract with them to generate the solid trailer model," the engineer said. "They used laser scanning for complex
geometries, laser tracking for simple, large-scale measurements, and a mechanical digitizer for point measurements. The results were combined into a single point cloud and provided to us with a solid geometry assembly."
"The model provided by NVision accurately and completely depicted the trailer geometry," the engineer added. "It saved us time and money and was more
accurate than what we could have achieved by building the model in-house. We are now using the model in multibody simulations that allow us to evaluate the
performance and durability of new components. While simulation will never replace proving ground testing, it is reducing the amount needed."
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