How is 3d Scanning driving the automotive revolution?

April 23, 2022

The automotive industry adopts change the quickest, and that is proving to be more of a fact nowadays. In the last decade or so, the industry has welcomed a lot of changes. Some have worked (hybrid cars), while others have failed or are bound to fail (hydrogen cell vehicles). But we know that technology will soldier on, and we will find new things to adopt every year.

Nowadays, 3d printing and 3d scanning are rising in popularity. More and more auto manufacturers are adopting the technology to make their work easier. But it is not like 3d scanning is an entirely new concept. The technology has been around for some time, but it never gained the type of traction it should, before now. That’s because times have changed, and vehicle production is increasing exponentially each year. There is a need to constantly test and upgrade production lines to cater to upcoming models. And we do that through 3d modeling and 3d scanning.

How Is 3d Scan Helping?

In earlier times, designers and engineers had to depend on drawings and sketches to work on improving a vehicle. They had to make separate drawings for the chassis, the body, and the engine. Even after that, the final product would have incalculable issues. Now, on the contrary, auto manufacturers use 3d scanners to scan a particular part of a vehicle’s body and then place it in a computer program to look at it in detail. The scanned body part can be tested for collision resistance, integrity, and safety. Moreover, it can be completely redesigned using the software and the amendments implemented in record time. That’s some revolutionary work that never existed before.  

Enhancing Production

Automobile companies sold a limited number of models in their early days. At that time, sales were slow, and the growth was not exponential. There was simply no incentive towards buying an exciting new vehicle.

However, with time the automotive industry learned that producing more unique models in small volumes proved more profitable. Nowadays, one company can have more than 10-20 models on offer, with each one of them having several variants.

These companies depend upon their factories to produce all or most of these models under one roof. But the production line has to be flexible to adjust the different vehicle models. So, the companies use technology to map everything out, using 3d scanners.

The technician’s job is to use the scanner to scan the entire production line and then present it to an analyst who can analyze and present the data in a viable form for others to understand. Based on the analyst’s decisions, the production line is customized to fit all the different models.

This job can take months to complete, but the result can help automotive companies reap far more profits than usual.

Creating Accessories

Vehicles are not solely sold based on their performance specifications, but people keep a keen eye on their beauty. Therefore, automotive companies work hard with their designers to create the most aesthetic vehicles ever made.

But, the thing with beautification is that it will take several tries for the designers to reach perfection.  In other words, you need to try different things in different ways to get the desired result. Take a car’s dash for instance, and imagine embellishing it with wood or aluminum panels only to realize the combination of color doesn’t fit. Now you would have to take that all off and replace it with something that fits the theme.

That’s where 3d scanning comes in and saves the day. All that is needed is a 3d scan of the component, like a dashboard, and the computer program does the rest. Using the computer program, designers can choose various materials, try different combinations and still have the power to erase everything. If they don’t like the design, they can change it completely or fine-tune it to perfection.

This way, not only do automotive companies save money, but they also save precious time.


Using a 3d scan of particular sections of a vehicle, engineers can test aerodynamics. They can do that without creating the car in real life. Sometimes, not all but a certain area of the vehicle is not complying with the aerodynamic requirement’s the engineers are trying to set. Hence, 3d scanning is used, as it allows the engineer to use computer programs that alter and remove errors. Once adjusted, the problem can be solved, so that it comes in line with the pre-determined rules.

Keep in mind that 3d scanning, unlike 3d printing takes a lot of time. Cameras and sensors need to register each nook and cranny so that engineers can make adjustments. If the image capture is irregular or faulty, many problems can arise in the vehicle’s design. Not only is an accurate 3d scan necessary, but it is the backbone of a vehicle’s designing and production process.

Final Thoughts

3d scanning along with 3d printing is changing the way we do things in the automotive industry. Soon, it will be something else that replaces these methods. But until that happens, it is our job to use them positively and effectively to our advantage.       

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Editorial Staff

The editorial staff is car enthusiasts who are part of the Everything Cars team. They write and manage the blog.

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