Automation in Action
Mercer Metals cuts reverse engineering time by 85%
Mar. 26, 2017 – NVision’s reverse engineering services enabled Mercer Metals, a metal fabricating and machining shop, to cut the time required for reverse engineering from three weeks to three days and reduce the cost by 30 per cent.
Mercer previously did reverse engineering in-house but the volume wasn’t high enough to afford the latest equipment needed to get the job done with maximum efficiency.
“NVision utilizes the latest reverse engineering tools, such as its HandHeld laser scanner, to provide a high level of accuracy at a very reasonable cost,” said Steve Hill, principal-owner of Mercer Metals.
Mercer Metals specializes in a range of fabrication services, including laser cutting, plasma cutting, waterjet cutting, forming, shearing and welding. The company also provides precision machining services, such as multi-axis computer numerical control (CNC) milling and turning.
“Often our customers do not have complete drawings for the product that they want us to build so they send us a sample of the product instead,” Hill said. “Then it’s up to us to generate a computer aided design model that we use to produce manufacturing drawings and build the part on CNC equipment.”
In the past, Mercer’s own team did the reverse engineering in-house using conventional measuring tools such as calipers, micrometers and gauges. This was a long process requiring a considerable amount of skill and the accuracy that could be achieved was limited.
“When we heard about NVision’s reverse engineering service we decided to give it a try,” Hill said.
The first project that Mercer assigned to NVision involved a family of three different window frames, each with many different components. NVision disassembled the frames, scanned and modelled each component, then combined the components into assembly models of the complete window frames and provided a bill of materials.
“The entire process took only three days and the expense was 30 per cent less than what it would have cost to do it in-house. Plus, the accuracy was much better,” said Hill.
Since that first project, Mercer Metals has asked NVision to reverse engineer many other customer parts and assemblies. In one case, NVision reverse engineered a complex cabinet with many components including plexiglass panels, rubber gaskets, rivets, hinges, door locks, etc., in just five days.
“When we built the cabinet, everything fit together perfectly,” Hill said. “NVision provides a completely seamless reverse engineering process. They are very professional, courteous and they do what they say they are going to do. I highly recommend them.”