Digital Tools Allow GM to Benchmark


March 10, 2014

Engineers at General Motors Co. (GM) use light scanners to capture precise 3-D images of vehicle structures and components. Complete sets of scans become reverse-engineered computer models for benchmarking. The engineers also dismantle and scan GM vehicles to validate parts, check manufacturing processes and troubleshoot part irregularities.

"3-D scanning is a time-efficient and cost-effective way of keeping up with rapid advancements being made all over the industry," says Larry Pecar, senior supervisor of GM competitive benchmarking. "The technology also allows us to gain a better understanding of the reasons for other automakers' recalls so that we are better able to avoid making the same mistakes."

The GM system projects a red, white or blue light pattern onto a vehicle surface, while a camera captures its contours and records where the object is in space and its orientation.

"By comparing the scan of a finished product to the original math model, we can identify the source of fit and finish problems," claims Pecar. "In some cases, even squeaks and rattles can be avoided or quickly addressed. There is no place for a quality issue to hide."

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