The business employs dozens of car racing experts that are driven by the need for speed and performance.
One of Apex Race Parts’ lines of business is designing chassis-optimized wheels for all types of vehicle brands, like Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Honda, Ford, Porsche and Tesla. David Liu, Engineering Project Manager at APEX Race Sports, explained the inherent challenges regarding development: “Our primary issue was the lack of documentation regarding OEM brake components. While aftermarket brake system manufacturers will generally provide technical information which allows for well-optimized designs, carmakers do not divulge information for their factory components, which means this data had to be gathered by tedious manual measurements.”
As David pointed out, manual measurements were much more time-consuming and provided less complete data. The APEX Race Parts team decided to look for an alternative method to accelerate the process of acquiring 3D measurements. And that method involved 3D scanners.
3D scanners: A proven track record in the automotive industry
For years, companies in the auto industry have been leveraging 3D scanners for many different applications, including design, quality control, reverse engineering, tuning, and retrofitting.
“We were looking for a handheld solution that was highly accurate,” David said. “As we often are working with cars “in the field” at racetracks or garages, it was imperative that we find a solution that depended on a minimum amount of existing infrastructure. The physical size was also a concern, as we often scan components with limited mobility and clearance, such as in the wheel well of a car.”
That’s when the team started trialing several 3D scanners on the market to test-drive how they stacked up to the requirements with outsourced services.
APEX Race Parts choose Creaform 3D scanners
APEX Race Parts settled on Creaform’s HandySCAN 3D from the SILVER Series after observing favorable results with the scans. The team greatly appreciated the scanner’s compact size and ease of use when 3D scanning in the field as well as how seamless the integrated 3D scanning software could work with APEX Race Parts’ existing software solutions.
“With the training provided by Creaform and its partners, we were able to implement the 3D measurement workflow as part of our standard data collection process very quickly,” David added.
APEX Race Parts’ aha! moment with 3D scanning
According to David, making a spur-of-the-moment decision during the test fit of a sample wheel to scan a particular car was eye-opening for the team. Previously, it would have been necessary to block out significantly more time to measure components manually or to arrange 3D imaging with an outside supplier—both of which would have taken much longer with no guarantees of availability.
The ability to set up the 3D scanner and almost instantly gather data allowed the business’ experts to enjoy more flexibility in the number of cars selected for data collection.
Immediate gains in efficiency and inspection integrity thanks to 3D scanners
The APEX Race Parts pros were impressed with the net effects of using Creaform 3D scanners versus manual measuring—starting with time savings.
“3D measurements provide the ability to gather a huge amount of information very quickly. The ability to accurately replicate all of a vehicle’s suspension components is useful in identifying potential conflict points that may not have been detected in a visual inspection,” said David.
“The incremental cost of data collection has been reduced, which allows APEX to optimize application-specific wheels with tighter margins. This leads to lighter, stronger, and more aesthetically pleasing wheel designs.”
In addition to elevating APEX Race Cars’ engineering and R&D processes, Creaform’s 3D scanning technology has allowed it to put out supplementary educational material, which has been well-received by the car racing community.
“APEX has always acted as an educator and a trustworthy repository of information for the various communities we serve. The additional data collection made possible by Creaform’s technologies has allowed us to respond more quickly and with more in-depth analyses,” David pointed out.