3D Scanning & 3D Printing to keep Dutch vessels at top condition
Keeping its vessels in top condition is a critical aspect of a naval force’s readiness, but to do so each part, little or big, needs full attention. Claire Apthorp looks at a project to scan the entire Dutch Navy in 3D.
The Royal Netherlands Navy contracts work for the maintenance of its vessels and submarines to Dutch organisation Marinebedrijf Koninklijke Marine. In addition to maintaining the vessels, Marinebedrijf Koninklijke Marine is responsible for creating new parts for the ships to replace damaged parts, and carrying out modifications to on-board components when required, from everything to the hull to weapons systems and engines.
In order to speed up its servicing, Marinebedrijf Koninklijke Marine turned to Artec 3D, a company that produces 3D scanners that allow maintenance personnel to reverse engineer parts for vessels that need to be replaced, for which the drawings or 3D CAD files are not accessible.
The Artec Eva and Spider 3D handheld scanners used for this project are structured light scanners. The scanners work by projecting light in a grid pattern onto an object, which allows them to capture the deformation or distortion from multiple angles and then calculate the distance to specific points on the object using triangulation. These coordinates are used to produce a three-dimensional digital model.
Without 3D scanning, this reverse engineering process would involve a long series of tedious measurements for Marinebedrijf Koninklijke Marine.
“Using 3D scanning has saved us up to weeks of work – older processes were very intensive requiring multiple types of measuring tools and then replicating the drawing into a CAD programme,” says Ben Jansen, CNC coordinator at Marinebedrijf Koninklijke Marine. “Now, even when there is no 3D data or drawings of a part, we’re able to use an Artec 3D scanner to create a 3D image of the object, and the scan is used to reverse engineer the object. That part is then replicated using 3D printing techniques, 3-5 axis milling or 3D welding.