Monday, October 27, 2014

CT 3D Scanning Machines are Game Changer for Dimensional Metrology on Plastic Injection Molded Parts

This is part two of our case study on the power of computed tomography (CT) 3D scanning when measuring plastic injection molded parts.  In the first article we explored the effectiveness of CT 3D scanning when measuring the form and porosity of the parts. In this article we’re using the same sample part – an injection-molded hook used to clamp automotive sun visors. (See figure 1) For proper mounting and function the dimensional accuracy of the part must be measured along with its interior integrity.
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Injection Molded Plastic Sun Visor Clamp

Problem: Tactile Measuring Could Destroy the Part

The dimensional measurement of small plastic components brings challenges and difficulties when using traditional tactile measuring machines. The parts are too small and flexible to be properly secured by a typical metrology fixture.

Using ordinary methods can deform the part or cover elements that need to be measured. Despite these challenges the dimensional accuracy of the part needs to be checked or the part may not function as designed.

Solution: CT 3D Scanning Gives Non-Destructive & Complete Measurements

Computed tomography 3D scanning is the only measuring solution that allows the full, discreet dimensional measurement of this type of part in a non-destructive testing manner.

With CT 3d scanning there’s no need to create complex fixtures to secure parts, especially when these complicated solutions can still deform the part itself. Using a CT 3D scanning machine for dimensional metrology saves time and money while giving a much deeper look at the dimensions and overall integrity of the part. 

Wenzel’s exaCT CT scanner in this case study was used to measure all inner and outer structures and transferred into surface data.

Results: Dimensional Measurement of All Geometric & Free Form Elements

The scanned surface data representing the real part was measured using the Metrosoft QUARTIS software. In Metrosoft, the user can define the desired inspection points on the CAD model. (See fig 2) In the subsequent CT scan these could then distributed and measured anywhere on the part, because the probe is virtual, not tactile.  (See figure 3)
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User-define probing points on CAD

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Virtual probing points and surface data with Metrosoft QUARTIS and Wenzel exaCT CT 3D Scanning Machine
The result was a non-contact, non-destructive measurement report of all geometric and free form elements on both outer and inner structures. The data points produced are unmatched by any tactile metrology solutions. (See figure 4)
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Measurement Report from exaCT CT 3D Scan


The Real Power of Industrial CT 3D Scanning Machines for Manufacturers

Despite the ease of use and tremendous investigative power of industrial CT 3D scanning and inspection services many companies are slow to adopt them. Some of the reasons for this hesitancy include reliance on traditional methodologies, perceived system costs, and lack of exposure to the technology.

To do our part in educating the manufacturing world, we offer complimentary CT 3D Scanning and part analysis for clients who’ve not tried our CT 3D Scanning Services before. Any company new to our CT 3D scanning services (whether our current customer or not) can get the first part scan and live consultation at no cost. Wenzel America’s exaCT CT 3D Scanning provides dimensional measurements, reverse engineering, or non-destructive testing to help you fully define part integrity.

About Wenzel America

Wenzel America Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wenzel Group of Germany. We sell and service the full line of Wenzel exaCT CT 3D Scanning machines. We also perform professional CT 3D Scanning and part analysis as a service for medical device, automotive, injection molded plastic part and other manufacturers. Contact Wenzel America by phone at 248.295.4300, email us or subscribe to our newsletter.

Source: Wenzel America, Ltd. case study based on the article: Dimensional Metrology on a Plastic Injection Molding Part by Dr. M. Simon and Dipl.-Ing. (FH) S. Schadek WENZEL Volumetrik GmbH



  1. Thank you for such a fantastic blog.Nice!! You have done a lot of research on plastic mold and also on plastics injection molding companies which is pretty impressive. Great work

  2. This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. This is very nice one and gives indepth information. Thanks for this nice article.
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