Plastic IT Showcasing New Technology at Micro Nano Mems Event

Plastic IT Showcasing New Technology at Micro Nano Mems Event

Plastic IT has recently been granted the sole distribution rights to the groundbreaking 3D measurement technology from CGI in the USA.

The introduction of the CGI technology into Europe is extremely important for various sectors of industry. It represents for the first time an opportunity for companies that have struggled with the validation of their small, precise, or micro plastic parts to access a technology that is both 100% accurate and at the same time cost-effective.

It is an old adage — but very true all the same — that if you can’t measure it you can’t manage it. Nowhere is this more the case than in the design and manufacture of small plastic parts, where it is critical that OEMs are able to accurately, repeatably, and efficiently validate the fulfilment of design intent in manufactured products.

As the size of plastic parts reduces, so too does the effectiveness of traditional measurement and validation technologies such as CMMs. CMMs are an industry standard technology for the measurement of regular sized plastic parts, but the aspect ratios on smaller parts render them useless. Some OEMs seek out x-ray technologies as an alternative, but these are expensive, and often struggle with dense materials. Similarly, recourse to optical comparators will only get OEMs so far, as these are restricted to measurement in 2D.

The CGI 3D scanning technology is able to measure the internal and external dimensions of any shape and format of small plastic part, be it standalone or assembled. The technology also allows for multi-cavity / multi-part inspection, which eliminates the necessity for OEMs to make the often dangerous assumption that results from each cavity will be the same. It is possible using this technology to ensure that each cavity is independently and precisely tuned to mould parts, instead of “averaging” across cavities.

The part to be measured is encased in a slow-curing plastic resin, and the set block containing the part is then placed into the CGI machine which “slices” it into 25 micron layers. As each layer is removed, an optical scanner captures a picture of the 2D profile, and once the entire block is consumed, all the 2D images are processed to produce a 100% accurate 3D point cloud model. This data can then be inspected

While it is ideally suited to micro moulded parts, the CGI Pearl 700 machine can be used to analyse any product that fits within the 60 mm x 40 mm x 75 mm 3D scan envelope. The larger Pearl 900 machine has a scanning envelope of 85 mm x 65 mm x 150 mm.

The 3D scanner enables verification of CAD design intent and deviation cost-effectively and quickly, which makes a significant contribution to the design and manufacture of accurate and functional parts in a way that also allows for adherence to strict time-to-market requirements. Complete part validation can be completed in a matter of a few days.

Interest in the technology is beginning to gather momentum in the UK and Europe. OEMs are beginning to realise the potential the technology provides, not just in facilitating completely accurate measurement of small plastic parts, but also in respect of the cost and time savings that can be achieved in the measurement process itself, and in the elimination of unnecessary tooling changes.

Various media outlets and events are requesting information regarding this technology now, and Plastic IT is pleased to be able to announce that it will be presenting a paper on the measuring and validation process at the prestigious MICRO NANO MEMS event 30th September – 1st October 2014, NEC, Birmingham. A machine will also be running at this show, and we cordially invite you to come and see the technology for yourself.

Plastic IT owns and runs its own CGI 3D scanning machine in a studio at its premises in the Midlands. The company can measure products on behalf of client OEMs here, or OEMs can arrange to visit and assess the technology for themselves.

A video of CGI 3D scanning technology in action can be seen at

To talk to us about the technology, please contact Richard Webster at Plastic-IT on t. +44(0)7472 327166 or e.