Have you ever thought of creating a life-like copy or a miniature of your favorite foods and stuffed animals by scanning and digitizing them?
Based in Ohbu, Aichi, Japan, Ueno Kigata Seisakusyo is a company that primarily serves the automotive sector, providing numerical control (NC) cutting model fabrication services, and fabricating prototype models and tools for customers. As a form of new revenue and publicity for the company, Ueno Kigata Seisakusyo recently started fabricating copies of unique items, and carving sculptures with data collected by 3D measurement devices. A wide variety of objects have been reproduced, ranging from foods (e.g. chicken wings, dumplings) to cultural assets (e.g. Buddha statues) and factories.
Scanning food with the FaroArm.
Scanned and processed image of a chicken wing, ready for 3D printing.
As globalization advanced, mold fabrication methods shifted from manual to a greater reliance on machine fabrication, using computer-aided design (CAD) data. This influenced Ueno Kigata Seisakusyo in its decision to introduce a system to acquire and transform 3D data into CAD models for mold fabrication. In 2008, they invested in a FaroArm, a 3D measurement device in the form of an articulated arm, equipped with non-contact scanning capabilities. The device allowed the team to inspect tools and models, as well as to generate CAD data for products that it did not have drawings of.
When considering the main applications of the FaroArm, the first one that comes to mind is inspection of the company’s output, which consists of the tools and processed models. Ueno Kigata Seisakusyo also relies on the FaroArm to generate inspection reports for their customers in order to demonstrate that the products are within tolerance, especially for prototype models, mass production templates, and check fixtures.
Sometimes, a mold has to be re-fabricated due to a change in the model. To do so, a drawing or 3D data is required. However, both types of information are often unavailable for older molds. When that happens, Ueno Kigata Seisakusyo will scan the mold with the FaroArm to acquire and process the 3D data for re-fabrication.
The company also uses the laser scanner to acquire 3D data for the fabrication of thermoforming molds with the computer numerical control (CNC) laser cutting machines. “Since vacuum moldings and plastic products are deformable, we cannot probe them with contact measurement methods. Scanning is more accurate and the results are always very convincing,” said Mr. Akira Ueno, deputy general manager of the company.
Large processing machine cutting prototypes.
Inspecting the prototype cut by the machine with a FaroArm.
In 2011, Ueno Kigata Seisakusyo purchased a FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D in addition to the FaroArm it already owned. The new device enabled the team to scan even larger objects. Combining the FaroArm and Focus3D, the company can now accommodate more new applications.
For example, the laser scanner was used to help determine the location of a new large NC processing machine in the factory. First, the interior of the factory was scanned to document the existing layout. The position of the new machine was then decided virtually with the digital data collected by the Focus3D. In a similar fashion, the Focus3Dallowed Ueno Kigata Seisakusyo to accommodate requests to scan animals and to generate 3D data for various objects in a short time.
Scanned image of the factory acquired by the Focus3D. Layout of the large machine was determined digitally.
3D documentation of a stuffed penguin as taken by the Focus3D.
As news of its new laser scanner got out, Ueno Kigata Seisakusyo began to receive new orders through word-of-mouth. When a local government department decided to create a bronze statue of a homegrown writer to commemorate his birth, Ueno Kigata Seisakusho made use of a clay model in the production of the life-sized sculpture, which was cut based on a digital model of the clay prototype. “It is our desire to pursue more jobs that involve digitizing of data from clay models. We also wish to diversify our scope of work, to include projects that digitize hand-made objects for mass production,” said the deputy general manager Mr. Ueno, demonstrating his intentions to expand the business.
Ueno Kigata Seisakusyo publicizes its work in this area by showcasing videos of the company’s capabilities on the Internet. “In order for customers to understand the fabrication process of scanning and digitizing, it is easier and clearer to show them videos rather than catalogs. To keep up with the times, we choose to present information with new methods to publicize our technology,” explained Mr. Mamoru Ueno, Chief Director of Ueno Kigata Seisakusyo.
Located in Ohbu, Aichi, Japan, Ueno Kigata Seisakusyo is a company that specializes in the fabrication of molds, tools, and prototype models, as well as aluminum casting services. Equipped with a five-axis processing machine, numerical control (NC) processing machine, and 3D printer, the company is also ready to fabricate models for general purposes.
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