Classic cars get a new lease of life with Geomagic Design X


Marta MatvijevOctober 25, 20234 minute read

The timeless design. The unique driving experience. The connection to the past. There are many reasons why classic cars are enduringly popular. However, maintaining a vintage vehicle running is no small feat, especially if you need to replace a worn or damaged part.

Design technician Oliver Thumm has a profound understanding of the effort involved. He works at ElringKlinger, a leader in the automotive space, where he produces the technical design and production-ready drawings of spare parts for classic vehicles.

The department in which Thumm is working specializes in gaskets and seals. These components are used in passenger cars and heavy-duty vehicles, and their main purpose is to seal parts. They help prevent oils, coolants, and other lubricants from entering the engine, ensuring that it works well and lasts a long time.

EK gasket

Reverse engineering for automotive restoration

The process they use to recreate a missing or damaged part is called reverse engineering. A designer or engineer takes measurements of the part and its surrounding area, and creates a CAD model based on the information.

In order to reverse engineer parts precisely and efficiently, Elring Klinger uses the most cutting-edge technology in the industry – 3D scanning software Geomagic Design X together with GOM’s optical scanner. This combination allowed them to reduce the design time by 25%.

“We use Geomagic Design X to design cylinder head gaskets that are very old and have no digital record on the system,” Thumm explains. “We reverse engineer the contour and the bead, create sketches out of it and we bring the data as sketches back to Solidworks. We then create the complete data sheet of these cylinders head gaskets and store it in our ERP system.”

GasketElring Klinger use Geomagic Design X to reverse engineer gaskets and seals

Why 3D scanning makes all the difference

The tools you use for reverse engineering automotive parts can make a world of difference. Elring Klinger initially used a 2D optical measurement device, but that tool left much to be desired in terms of efficiency. “We had to make thousands of measurement points with the mouse. It was a bit horrible,” Thumm says.

A few years ago a trusted partner recommended using a 3D scanner in tandem with Geomagic Design X instead. “We were already using Solidworks. Since there is a good integration between Design X and this design tool, it made sense to use the two together,” Thumm says. The programs also have a very similar interface, which also makes Design X easy to work with.

Where Geomagic Design X’s tools really excel is bead measurement. “A bead is a small wave in the gasket. Measuring this with a 2D optical device is quite difficult,” Thumm explains. “Now we use the 3D sketch tool in Design X for fast results. The Trace Feature Line allows us to click once and immediately find the bead line. This tool is the biggest time saver for us.”

Today the reverse engineering team of ElringKlinger and Thumm use Geomagic Design X for all their technical sketches. “We create the outer and the inner contours with the 2D Sketch and the Silhouette Range, which immediately gives us very good results to work with. Then we edit the drawings to ensure a high-quality design of the gaskets” Thumm says.

3D scanning for automotive

Automotive industry embraces 3D scanning

As a future-oriented and innovative company, ElringKlinger relies on the latest technologies such as 3D scanners to meet the high demands of the market today and in the future.

Automakers, dealers, and repair shops increasingly rely on 3D scanning to create hard-to-find parts for discontinued vehicles or customize cars to their clients' wishes. Other uses include quality control, inspection, and new product development.

Whatever the application, the benefits are clear: speed, efficiency and flexibility that cannot be matched by traditional tools.

Design X is Oqton’s industry-leading reverse engineering software. It allows you to create accurate CAD models from 3D scan data, faster, and more reliably than anything else on the market. Learn more here.

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