Aerospace OEM Uses NVisions Project Portal to Streamline Reverse Engineering Project

A major OEM for the aerospace industry was able to significantly reduce the length of a reverse engineering project by utilizing a new project portal offered by NVision, Inc., a leading provider of 3D scanning and re-engineering services. The new portal provided the OEM with full and immediate access to customized data exchange Web pages related to the project.

The OEM is a well-established provider of high-technology aerospace components to customers in both the commercial and government sectors. Reverse engineering plays a significant role in the aerospace industry because OEMs are often required to duplicate parts for which there is no original CAD file, or are tasked with of taking old products and redesigning them to make them function better or meet the needs of a new application.

In this case, the OEM needed to reverse engineer a precision-milled metal aircraft component with freeform curvature. The part could best be described as kidney-shaped. It is not a part whose dimensions can be measured with a tape measure or a caliper. Even a CMM machine would not be able to measure it with the precision that was needed. The OEM decided that the best option for digitizing the parts geometry with the highest possible accuracy was to have the part laser-scanned.

The company brought the part to NVision to be scanned; once the parts geometry was digitally captured, NVision would provide the OEM with a 3D model of the part.

Under normal circumstances, coordinating a CAD project of this nature requiring input from NVision as well as multiple OEM engineers based in different locales could be problematic. Getting the OEMs engineers together in the same room was not an option due to their different locations and tight time schedules. File-sharing via email was out as well, as email simply doesnt have the bandwidth for files of this size. And online file-sharing services, while helpful, require one party to enter the email addresses of those with whom the file is being shared and wait until the email has been sent and received by the others. While small, those extra steps still mean additional time added to the project.

The OEM used the NVision portal to coordinate its review and analysis of the scanned part. Although we primarily used the basis features of the portal, it was still a real help to us, as it enabled our engineers to avoid the extra steps required in most file-sharing sites and go directly online to our own customized, secure workspace. We used the portal to exchange and compare the 3D Scan and CAD files of the part and comment on the files, said the OEM Project Manager.

One workspace feature that proved helpful to the OEM was the online 3D viewer. The viewer let the OEMs engineers see high-quality 3D views of the scanned part from their individual web-browsers so that they were all able to visualize and quickly examine the part from any angle from the top, the sides, the bottom, etc. – prior to download.

The portal also enables NVision to show its clients the scan results in different data formats so they can choose the format that best suits their CAD modeling needs. There are multiple formats such as Quick Surface, Data Intent, and Parametric, which can be used to recreate surfaces and generate CAD models from digitized data. However, theyre not all appropriate for every situation, said Steve Kersen, VP of Sales and Marketing for NVision. For example, there are times when you dont need a full parametric model. The portal allowed us to show the OEM the data in different modeling formats so they could decide which format worked best for this particular project.

NVision and the OEM also used the portal to monitor the projects progress. We were able to communicate with the OEM via the portal and both we and the OEM were able to keep track of any issues that arose with real-time updates, said Kersen. It was easy to use and facilitated communication, which helped shave time off the project, added the Project Manager.

Ease of use was, in fact, one of the reasons that NVision chose TeamPlatform for its portal. We wanted to make it easy for our clients to be involved in projects to better ensure the success of the projects. So we wanted a portal that would be simple for our clients to use. If it required much time to learn how to use, it wouldnt save them time in the long run, said Kersen. Because TeamPlatform is simple it means that everyone on a project can become involved in it easily.

We plan on using the portal again the next time we work with NVision, said the OEM Project Manager. It got us all on the same page at the same time despite our different locations and greatly aided communication among our team and with NVision.

For more information, contact NVision, Inc., 440 Wrangler Dr, Suite 200, Coppell, TX 75019. Ph: 972.393.8000, Fax: 972.393.8002. E-mail: Visit NVision’s Web site at

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Steve Glad

Steve Glad... Steve has worked for Structured Information (Boston, MA) since 1994. He received his B.A. in journalism from Oakland University in Rochester Hills, MI and has spent the last 18 years writing about nearly every type of technology.
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