Quality Control Is on the Racetrack

Thanks to 3D scanning solutions from Creaform, a sport motorcycle manufacturer can check parts of different shapes, sizes and complexity, and record material deviations in turnaround times between races

by Massimo Brozan

Among the Europe’s leading high-performance street and offroad sport motorcycle manufacturer, the Austrian company KTM Motorsports focuses on performance and speed even in the lab and at the production plant. And fully in line with their “ready to race” mentality.
Building sport motorcycles for racing requires attention to detail. Designers and engineers have to choose premium materials and produce different geometrical parts with tight tolerances. A scan of the whole bike is essential for certifying that everything fits together. Even if sport motorcycles are built to withstand extreme conditions and to be pushed to the limit on the racetrack, inevitably the part parameters change and undergo deviations during a race. Therefore, the testing team must be able to measure these deviations directly on the track and not only when the bike is in the factory. This requires a flexible measurement solution.

Acquiring large amounts of data in a short time
KTM Motorsports works with the MetraSCAN 3D scanner from Creaform and the software Polyworks Inspector from InnovMetric. With this solution they can acquire large amounts of data in a short time, without having to prepare the surface or parts being inspected prior to the scan. The scanner is used for quality controls and dimensional checks such as wear and failure analyzes, and allows comprehensive measurements of motorcycle components, regardless of their size, geometry and surface. Unlike touch probing, 3D scanning provides an overall view of the inspected part, not just discrete points.
Wear and crash analysis of the frame and chassis are obtained with a scan-to-CAD comparison, from individual components up to the complete vehicle. To do so, the quality control team scans the whole bike and puts the parts in STL data in order to compare them with the CAD files. Therefore, the scanning tool and software suite must be easy to understand and use, without the need for extensive training. Plug-and-play tools and user-friendly interfaces facilitate engineers’ understanding, and help them discover improvements that they can add to the design.

Portable and versatile 3D scanning solution
Advantages of the joint solution of 3D scanner and Polyworks software is its versatility. Not only can it be used for multiple applications (first part inspection, supplier compliance, reverse engineering, 3D modelling, and so on), it can also be used in various and unexpected environments.
In the present case, it means bringing the scanning gear to the test racetrack and take reliable, high-quality, precise measurements to make decisions in a timely manner. The team knew about the changes to the bike materials and components in between laps on the test racetrack, but they could now perform analyses of individual components from the chassis, body and suspension in order to reveal minuscule variations and deviations from CAD designs.

Creating real-time meshing and dynamic referencing
Setting up the equipment for a scan-ready configuration takes virtually no time. Plus, users can scan shiny surfaces, and benefit from real-time meshing and dynamic referencing, imperatives for data acquisition at the workshop, in the QC area, or at the racetrack. In a context of wear analysis, engineers can use the data acquired in between laps to compare the scan data of the test motorbike with that of a bike straight out of the crate (scan-to-scan comparison), and thus reveal the slightest changes, discuss root causes, draw conclusions on the spot and make the necessary adjustments. The fast data acquisition system put in place by KTM thus echoes with their performance and speed mindset, and accounts for huge time savings, up to 50%.

The scanner is used even for the pilot ergonomy
What about the driver’s stance and ergonomy in the equation? It takes a racer, and the more focused he/she is on the task at hand, the more he/she can beat the clock. In order to stay focused, the driver has to be comfortable yet not slouchy, steady yet not tense. In the present case, Creaform’s Go!SCAN 3D scanner helped in that matter, for the driver sat on the motorbike while a staff member performed the scan of both the pilot and the vehicle.
The process would traditionally be used for design/redesign and ergonomy purposes: each driver can be scanned for distance from shoulder to handles, pelvis and torso angles, distance from eyes to instrument cluster, etc. It is then entirely fitting for the data acquired to be used for further product development at KTM. 3D scanning thus facilitates knowledge transfer, and bridges the decision makers at the design stage with the assembly team in the workshop.

A loser networking brings dynamics to the group
Since KTM’s entire sport motorcycle line is built using premium components, the quality management team requires accurate metrology equipment that can be used either at the factory or on the racetrack.
“For us, accuracy is the most important thing” says Christian Schwarz, Quality Controller Motorsports at KTM. “It’s one of the reasons we have chosen the MetraSCAN 3D for testing the different parts of the motorcycles. In addition, it is very portable to bring it wherever you want”.
Moreover, the selection of Creaform’s 3D scanning solutions improved communication between the design, manufacturing, and quality control teams. Now, data can be exchanged easily. Closer networking occurs around 3D scanning, and it brings dynamics to the group. All teams can use scanned data and work together from the same information.
In the end, always ready to race, KTM Motorsports uses metrology and 3D scanning technologies as means for thriving in all its areas of work.