Insights from industry

A New Era In 3D Scanning

Creaform’s next generation of portable 3D scanners offers unprecedented speed, accuracy, and ease of use for each stage of your product lifecycle management.

In this interview, Guillaume Bull, Product Manager from Creaform talks to AZoM about their new portable 3D scanner.

Creaform have recently launched two new scanners, the HandySCAN BLACK, and the Go!SCAN SPARK which are designed to make work more efficient. Can you tell us more about the two new products?

The HandySCAN BLACK, which is our flagship product, has been redesigned as the 3rd generation of the HandySCAN 3D family. The new scanner is now 2.7 times faster, 25% more accurate and has 4 times more resolution than the previous generation. A new feature we added is the a new blue laser crosses. We added this laser instead of the red version which we had previously. This allows the new scanner to tackle the shiny, black, and multi-colored surfaces which are typically hard to scan. Overall, we have added many huge improvements to an already efficient scanner.  

The other product that we launched, the Go!SCAN SPARK which is a complete redesign of the Go!SCAN 3D family. The previous generation was available in two models: the Go!SCAN 20 and the Go!SCAN 50. While the Go!SCAN 20 offered good resolution, the GoSCAN 50 offered speed and ease of use. With the new scanner, we packed the benefit of both previous scanners into one and expanded additional benefits. The Go!SCAN SPARK now produces an even better resolution than the Go!SCAN 20,  and measurements are made easier. All this in a faster scanner that takes 1.5 million measurements per second.

How do these scanners compare to others on the market? What sets them apart from other portable scanners?

What differentiates these scanners from the competition is that they do it all. It is quite simple to develop a scanner that is accurate, reliable, fast, portable or has a good resolution, but to put all that into just one simple device is hard. That’s what we have done with our new scanners—they have good resolution, are fast, and are versatile. They are not limited to a specific application. Their versatility allows them to scan from a gear to a full car with the same device.

The HandySCAN 3D is optimized to meet the needs of design, manufacturing and metrology applications. Can you tell us about the benefits they will gain?

They will gain the benefits of what we call a metrology-grade scanner. A scanner that is accepted as a reliable tool for production and quality control. It has an improved accuracy, 0.025 mm, which allows you to  achieve accurate values when you go into the manufacturing design and quality control. It also means relying on industry standard, the VDI/VDE 2634 part 3 standard, for testing, and calibrating the 3D scanner and having accreditation, the ISO 17025 accreditation, for that as well.

They will also gain from the improved data quality and resolution of up to 0.025 mm to get detailed scan data that represent accurately all the features of the scanned part.

Using the incredible speed of the HandySCAN BLACK to scan the part and get a quick go/no-go feedback, the users will receive extremely  fast measurements, allowing them to quickly analyze what’s going on with their parts.

Finally, portability is also a key feature of the system. Like other Creaform technologies, instead of bringing the parts that they want to measure to the measurement equipment, they will be able to bring the scanner where the part is which will help save time and increase overall efficiency.

Are there other applications that will benefit from the HandySCAN BLACK and the Go!SCAN 3D? How?

The possible applications are pretty much everything that requires a fast, accurate and high-quality 3D measurement. This can range from high-end car manufacturers to scanning a piece of art in a museum. Anything you want to measure in 3D, these scanners can do. They can be used for product design, reverse engineering, quality assurance or quality control. The versatility of the scanner is what makes them special.

The HandySCAN 3D is equipped with improved optics, multiple blue laser technology, and powerful algorithms. What impact will this have on measurements?

The increase in accuracy is the main part that benefited from the new optics.  We have also moved from 7 to 11 laser crosses which makes it even faster than the previous generation of HandySCAN 3D which was already pretty fast. We know that speed is really critical for people for who the measuring is just a step to get going.

With the algorithm we have, we can process the data fast, as well, at around 1.3 million points per second. The algorithm we have also developed lets you get an actual mesh while you’re scanning. This removes the need to first get data and then process it to get the final usable mesh.

Furthermore, the improved optics yield an improved surface quality allowing you to scan more difficult surface finishes such as shiny or dark surfaces. With other devices, these surfaces would have required to be painted white or coated with powder to modify the surface.

Finally, the resolution is 4 times higher allowing you to get more detail.

Why is continuous improvement of quality control so important? How will the scanners help with this?

It’s all about the money. The more you control your parts, the less money you will lose in scrap parts, remanufacturing, repairs, etc.

Right now, a lot of the quality control is done on CMMs, which are quite expensive big machines. They are really accurate but they take time to program, in addition to some other issues. In almost every company the bottleneck is the CMM; whether they buy new CMMs and hire people to operate those CMMs, which is really expensive, or they wait for the parts to be measured in the CMM making it really tight at that point. The scanner can seriously reduce the bottleneck as you can get a lot of the measurements out of the CMM by using a scanner.

Another benefit of the portable scanner is that you can go on the production line and perform mid-stage analyses. Instead of waiting for the part to come out and measuring it to see if it’s right or wrong, we can go right by the production line and do scans at mid-stages to try to analyze the state of the part and identify potential problems. On the shop floor, you do not want to have a controlled environment separated from the production floor where you control everything, like CMMs needs. With our portable scanners, you can work right on the shop floor as they are not affected by the vibrations thanks to our dynamic tracking, so you get good measurements everywhere you go.

Finally, nowadays, products are designed with complex shapes, which are hard to measure on a CMM. A 3D scanner can get these shapes without any problem, allowing you to get all of the information that you need in no time.

Why is the Go!SCAN 3D a faster and easier solution to product development applications?

The Go!SCAN 3D is targeted to the product development applications as they usually do not need as much accuracy as quality control, but require quick, and easy to take measurements.

The system is using 99 lines to scan that take 1.5 million points per second making it really fast. It’s also easy to use because it is a self-positioning scanner. You can use either positioning targets, the part’s geometry, its texture, or all of them together to position the scanner in the space. It lets you mix and match what you want to do.

Importantly, it’s a simple device. The only parts are the device, one cable, and the computer. You plug it in, start the software, and scan. Also, VXelements, the software that runs all of our devices, is well designed with strong algorithms that make your work easier. For product development applications, this is what they need. They need a fast scanner that’s easy to use, to quickly do the measurement and continue their work on the design of the product.

Can you tell us the role that the scanners play from concept, to design, to manufacturing and then servicing? 

There are a lot of different versions of the product development process, but let’s take this simple one: Concept design, 3D modeling, Simulation & Analysis, Prototyping, and Manufacturing.

A scanner that you use at those steps is aimed to reduce the time to market, to work with complex streams, and the designs to be more competitive.

The product development process requires several iterations of the different steps with some going back and forth to find the ideal design that passes the tests. As an input, the engineers will have basic measurements and often rely on theoretical and practical engineering design from other products they did or from competitive products. With the simple inputs, they will get a simple output resulting in a design that probably every competitor is able to do.

Adding 3D scanning as an input allows for several progressions. First, you get a better tool that gets  more information faster, which will speed up the whole process. You can also get rid of some of the design iteration, because you get all this information as a primary input.

Having better and more complete inputs will give you better output, as well. That’s how the companies can differentiate themselves from the competition: by having products that are innovative and different from the competition, and 3D scanning will help them do that.

What do the portable scanners mean for the future?

In the future, what we see is that the measurement will get closer and closer to the manufacturing process. Instead of having the manufacturing process on one side and the measurement labs on the other, it will get closer and closer.

People talk a lot about industry 4.0 which is supposed to be the 4th Industrial Revolution and is closely related to what experts called the “smart factories”. And in these smart factories, a lot of focus is put on automatization. Metrology being part of the manufacturing process, automatization will also affect metrology.

3D scanning is better suited than probing for inspecting parts as they are manufactured. Indeed, 3D scanners can quickly capture a lot of data, which are essential to the 4.0 manufacturing process.

The deal here is quite simple: automating dimensional inspection for a faster and more efficient measurement process. We think that this will happen in several steps. We already see some 3D scanners operated by robots in off-line processes, but automated measurement should get closer and closer to the production line in the next few years. The dream that we foresee would be to have in-line automated measurement stations at various locations on the production line that can feed the results to a global manufacturing software allowing the automated manufacturing process to correct itself in real time. We are obviously not there yet but it is something that could become possible with 3D scanners in an industry 4.0 revolution. The future is really bright for 3D scanners, and especially portable 3D scanners as you can move them pretty much everywhere you want to go.

Where can our readers go to find out more?

To find out more please visit

About Guillaume Bull


Guillaume Bull holds a physics engineering degree as well as a mechanical engineering degree from Laval University in Quebec. He joined Creaform in 2011 as an application engineer. Over the years he became an expert in all Creaform technologies. After five years of working closely with customers and the R&D department, he became Product Manager with the mandate to develop, improve and ensure growth for the quality control products.

Guillaume accumulated 8 years of experience in 3D data management. He is now in charge of our complete portfolio of quality control technologies, which includes HandyPROBE, MetraSCAN 3D, MaxSHOT 3D and our inspection software VXinspect.



Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.


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