Featured Image

Using Metrology for Motorbike Optimization

There are dominant winning streaks, and then there’s KTM Motorsports’ string of 18 consecutive wins in the Dakar Rally 450 cc motorbike category. Formerly known as the Paris-Dakar (Senegal) Rally, KTM won this 15,000 km, 17-day race every year from 2001...
Feb 10, 2021

By Chuck Schroeder, IMTS Media Representative/Owner – Insight Marketing

3D Scanning to Win There are dominant winning streaks, and then there’s KTM Motorsports’ string of 18 consecutive wins in the Dakar Rally 450 cc motorbike category. Formerly known as the Paris-Dakar (Senegal) Rally, KTM won this 15,000 km, 17-day race every year from 2001 to 2019. No wonder this Austrian-based company is Europe’s leading high-performance street and off-road sport motorcycle manufacturer.

To produce and continuously improve bikes such as the KTM 450 Rally (promoted with a slogan of “nothing hurts quite like second place”) or the new KTM 1290 Super Duke R (nicknamed “the beast” for its 1301 cc V-twin engine), KTM relies on metrology systems from Creaform, a worldwide leader in portable and automated 3D-measurement solutions.

Instead of painfully slow physical measurement systems, KTM uses a pair of hand-held 3D-scanning systems that generate results within minutes, and that includes feeding information into its CAD software to compare “as-produced” results with the original design. Scanning looks about as complicated as using a paint gun, yet it revolutionizes metrology activities (view video).

Hand-held ScanningWinning races requires superior rider ergonomics and aerodynamics. The seat, steering bar, and pedals must be perfectly suited to the rider physiognomy, and the instrumentation must be adapted for optimal visual acuity. Therefore, to maximize the ergonomics, designers, and engineers must use measurement instruments that can scan the whole bike, including the driver. For this application, KTM uses Creaform’s Go!SCAN 3D, a hand-held, 2.7-lb. “white light” scanner.

White light scanning (or structured light scanning) combines a camera with a scanner and uses triangulation to make measurements. The device projects a series of parallel lines on the object, which become distorted by the object’s shape. The cameras capture the distortion from multiple angles to enable triangulating distances to points on the object. Software then assembles a point cloud that reconstructs the object’s size, depth, and curves. By connecting the scanner to a computer via the USB port, the technician can see results in near real-time.

White light scanning is the simplest, easiest, and fastest way to generate reliable measurements. The Go!SCAN 3D can provide an accuracy of up to 0.1 mm or 0.3 mm over a distance of 1.0 m, and the scan of the bike and rider takes about five minutes.

“We can make adjustments to components where we had not previously thought of doing so,” says Sebastian Witt, KTM’s Head of Quality Management Motorsport.

KTM also uses the MetraSCAN 3D optical CMM scanner. About the size and shape of soccer ball, this scanner uses seven laser crosses to scan with an accuracy of 0.030 mm, making highly accurate measurements possible in a production setting (note that it’s the greater number of optical elements that increases accuracy, not the inherent nature of the light source). By placing an optical reflector on the bike or component, the scanner creates a reference system “locked” to the part, so KTM can move the part anyway they want during measurement.

The cost of metrology-grade 3D scanners starts at about $35,000, but the paybacks are immediate, starting with the reduction in design iterations and associated material savings.

“The tolerances and materials we use are much more close to the limit and [they are getting to be] quite expensive,” explains Witt.

Materials cost aside, the ability to rapidly measure, adapt, and evolve product design. Performance is what keeps KTM at the head of the pack.

“For us, speed is also very important,” says Christian Schwartz, KTM’s Quality Controller Motorsports. “We need to put parts in the STL data [software data structures] and compare it easily with the CAD files.”

Such “scan-to-CAD” comparisons are further enhanced with “color mapping.” This process highlights deviations, geometry, and textures with different colors, enabling Schwartz to rapidly assess scan results at the track, in the production area or in the QC lab. Compared to using analog measurement systems, shifting to 3D scanners sounds like KTM has found the winning formula for quality control, first article inspection, and better aerodynamics.

Show Committee
Recent technology News
So many variables. What do these numbers and symbols mean on the drawing? Yes, I said drawing. I am that old. This video describes what “Ra” means in a practical sense.
Grinding jobs requires strict tolerances. On grinding machines, the tolerances for the dimensions, form and position of finishing processes run tight, and in many cases, shops check these specifications against hard data. Part processing time increases...
Jeff Moore loaded up his Dodge Ram Van and set out on a road trip across North America. Mojave. Bryce. Zion. Carlsbad. Mesa Verde. From Coronado Island to Ontario, Canada…he zig zagged across the country to visit his foundry friends. In addition to his...
A new way to check the quality of nanomaterials like graphene has emerged from a team at the University of Sussex. Graphene and nanomaterials have been touted as wonder materials, and they are proving invaluable in all sorts of applications...
Menlo Systems (Planegg, Germany), which specializes in ultrastable lasers, frequency combs, and applications that result, has, along with YouTuber Doktor Whatson, produced a video called "Why you need an optical clock," which covers the latest technical...
Similar News
By Benjamin Moses | Oct 15, 2021

The quality and fidelity of simulation have evolved so dramatically that many manufacturers don’t even know what is possible to accomplish using simulation.

5 min
By Vanesa Powers | Sep 16, 2021

In the age of digital manufacturing, data systems have become more critical. The migration to these services from physical or existing digital systems requires thorough planning and a solid connection to business processes.

7 min
By Kathy Keyes Webster | Sep 15, 2021

Plans are underway for the Western Hemisphere’s largest manufacturing technology show, IMTS 2022, taking place Sept. 12-17, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. Registration is now open!

5 min