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Software put to the test at Schäfer

CASE STUDY // PowerInspect

To stay ahead of the competition, a company must continually strive to take its products to the next level.

That is why Autodesk is offering its customers a subscription scheme so that they can automatically have use of the most up-to-date software. One example of this is PowerInspect: with this software, companies like Schäfer benefit from the best possible solution for their testing and measuring systems.

“By using our measuring recordings and testing gauges, our customers are able to measure the condition and quality of future products while still in the development phase.”

—Thomas Opielka, System Administrator, Kieback Schäfer Group


Autodesk PowerInspect in use. Image by courtesy of Schäfer.

About the company Schäfer

The Schäfer company, headquartered in Osnabrück, Germany, is a member of the Kieback Schäfer Group (KSG), a comprehensive service provider in automotive engineering. KSG covers the entire process chain from the design to the production of prototypes and manufactured components. Customers in the motor vehicle, agricultural machinery, utility vehicles, aviation, and the home appliances industries benefit from more than one hundred years of experience in innovation and development. Within the corporate group, the Schäfer company produces function and test cubing, data control models, testing gauges, Galvano models, and show cars. Their customers rely on a comprehensive range of system solutions and individual project management, from planning to design and construction through to manufacturing-ready products.

“PowerInspect offers us the best value for money.”

—Thomas Opielka, Systemadministrator, Kieback Schäfer Group


New solution for testing and measuring technology

“By using our measuring recordings and testing gauges, our customers are able to measure the condition and quality of future products while still in the development phase,” says Thomas Opielka, a system administrator at the Kieback Schäfer Group. “With this, we move on to the next step after visualizing forms and design.”

A few years ago, the Schäfer team looked around for a new solution on the market for testing and measuring technology, and they tested applications from various suppliers. PowerInspect, an Autodesk software product for 3D measurements, compatible with numerous measuring devices, is the leader in the field. “PowerInspect offers us the best value for money,” explains Opielka. “For us, the point and circle measurements caught our attention because of the clearly arranged surface.”


Transition to PowerInspect

At that time, Schäfer acquired their first two licenses. Since then, the company has undergone a full changeover from its stationary and transportable coordination technology and handheld scanners to PowerInspect. This hardware-neutral software for 3D measurements offers a uniform platform for all employees. Not only does this make for considerable savings on training, but it also provides greater flexibility when assigning work to employees along with superb CAD compatibility. “Measuring technology is a vital part of our core business,” explains Opielka, and for this reason the company will keep investing more in this area.

Having started with two licenses, the company now holds 29. This demonstrates that for Schäfer, the switchover to PowerInspect was a smart decision. “Besides the uniform platform, the CAD compatibility in particular is a deciding factor,” says Opielka. Using PowerInspect, components can be checked against all commonly-used CAD data formats. An added deciding factor is its simple operation. Thanks to this, even inexperienced personnel can use PowerInspect at first go.


Testing and measuring technology in use. Image by courtesy of Schäfer.

Precision work in inspection. Image by courtesy of Schäfer.

Accessibility of the measuring points

The accessibility of the measuring points is crucial for operating the system. Schäfer has various workstations at its disposal. At one, for example, there is the FaroArm, which, with a laptop, becomes a mobile measuring facility. In addition, the company has various different stationary measuring facilities. Depending on the product or what the customer wants, it is possible to decide individually whether contact or optic measurements should be taken. With the 3-axis procedure, a vehicle can undergo contact measurement of the length, height and width. However, for inner spaces, the user will require the FaroArm. Instead of a fixed measuring point for this, thousands of measuring points will be recorded by the scanner. This also offers the possibility of reverse engineering – a procedure in which a plan is created from an existing fully-developed system or product.


Further expansion

“We are steadily expanding our company. By doing this, we will be positioned to meet the growing demand of our customers,” Opielka adds. “That’s why it’s important to us to make sure we always use the latest version of PowerInspect, which we have thanks to the new subscription plans offered by Autodesk. We are converting old licenses one after another to the new model."

Software in use