AESUB: Upgrading the Quality of Industrial 3D Scanning
For all those who value precision and attention to detail when it comes to 3D scanning, the use of a spray is essential. Spraying the object with a special spray before the scanning process ensures a clean and matte surface, which not only improves the scan quality, but also enables the scan for some products in the first place. The spray is absolutely necessary for transparent or reflective objects, as the light from the scanner reflects from the surface back to the scanner. But using a spray also offers added value for other objects and has a significant effect on the quality. Significant differences are particularly evident in the precision, as the spray supports the scanner in recognizing possible differences in color, reflection or texture and thereby reducing heterogeneities.
The growing range of such sprays includes the products offered by the German manufacturer, AESUB. The Dortmund company has specialized in the development of sprays for 3D scanning. In addition to traditional, pigment-containing sprays, the manufacturer also offers volatile solutions, which have already received multiple awards. In the meantime, AESUB has been able to build up a global, growing sales network with more than 50 partners who sell the products. To find out more about the company, its products and visions, we talked to AESUB’s founder, Friedrich Schlott.
3DN: Can you introduce yourself and your connection to additive manufacturing?
In addition to my professional start in development at BMW, I now have more than 20 years of experience in the field of optical measurement technology. Before I founded AESUB around three years ago, I had already managed a measurement services company for several years. Today I see that additive manufacturing and optical metrology have been moving towards each other, especially in recent years.
Many processes start with optical digitization and then use the result for additive manufacturing. On the other hand, the printed component is often 3D scanned to validate the printed geometry. We regularly print the scan data of various components and are always impressed by the results of the printed 3D component and the process itself.
3DN: How did the idea of founding AESUB come about?
Traditional sprays contain color pigments that create a white layer when applied. Although the use of these sprays enables the component surface to be captured, it makes it necessary to carry out a complex subsequent cleaning of the component. In addition, the measuring environment, the personnel and the devices are contaminated with the pigments. In the beginning, our customers called me many times, thanked me for the good quality of the scans and then asked who would clean the hall from the white dust of the matting agent. Once a very expensive scanner broke when its fan was soiled with the pigments and overheated as a result. I just couldn’t believe back then.
3DN: What is the significance of scanning sprays for the resulting 3D scan?
The essential advantage is the ability to digitize components that cannot be scanned by optical scanners without the spray. This includes transparent but also reflective, high-gloss or heavily structured components (carbon) with deep grooves or something similar. In addition, it’s not just about whether, but also about how: A high-quality scan of demanding components with complex geometries without spray requires a lot of know-how, patience and time. Pretreatment with the spray accelerates the scanning process and often provides better data points that are later combined into a digital image of the component geometry.
3DN: What advantages do AESUB products offer and how do they differ from each other?
Our product range of self-volatilizing sprays consisting of AESUB blue, AESUB orange and AESUB green offer the decisive advantage over traditional sprays that the applied coating evaporates again after a while without leaving any residue. This eliminates the otherwise time-consuming component cleaning after scanning. Even prototypes no longer have to be cleaned after the scan. Hence our slogan: SPRAY | SCAN | DONE! In addition, our self-volatilizing sprays are free of any pigments. This has the advantage that there is neither contamination of the measurement environment nor pigment deposits, for example in air filters. This means that the spray can be used directly on the scanner – which was previously unthinkable. AESUB blue and AESUB orange are both offered in a spray can and differ in the sublimation time, ie the time in which the spray evaporates again. AESUB green is a container solution that can be applied with a spray gun and is therefore particularly suitable for large-area or automated scans.
In addition to the self-volatilizing product range, we also offer a pigment-containing spray with AESUB white. AESUB white can be used for very complex and therefore time-consuming scanning processes that go beyond the sublimation time of self-volatilizing sprays. Unlike many common, pigment-containing sprays, the AESUB white is free of the pigment titanium dioxide (TiO 2 ), which the EU has classified as carcinogenic when inhaled in respirable particle sizes.
3DN: For which sectors is the integration of scanning sprays interesting and why? Can you name some of your customers?
When you think of industrial 3D scanning, you naturally think directly of the manufacturing industry and, above all, of the automotive and aviation industries. But actually our spray is used wherever scanning without matting is not possible. In addition to many automobile manufacturers and suppliers, designers, artists and hobbyists are among our customers and our dealers’ customers.
3DN: What future projects are planned for AESUB?
We are increasingly approached by customers with very specific requirements in terms of ingredients, sublimation time and layer thickness. Based on these requirements, we jointly develop matting solutions so that the use of our sprays and thus the digitization process can be further optimized.
3DN: do you have a few last words for our readers?
Understandably, because of the disadvantages discussed, spraying has long been seen as a necessary evil in the industry. Fortunately, this frustration is a thing of the past with AESUB. As already mentioned: SPRAY | SCAN | DONE!
AESUB is available through a global network of distributers. You can find a distrubter in your area here.
Are you already using a spray to improve the quality of your 3D scan? Let us know in a comment below or on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages! Sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox!