Don’t lie, when you think “lasers” you think evil, villainous, destructive beams capable of frying anything in their sight. Or maybe James Bond’s super spy-like watch. We want one of those still.
General Motors happens to use lasers for none of the above purposes, but instead, uses the technology to ensure quality build process and to dissect competitor processes. GM has been using laser technology for well over a decade now to scan and map its vehicle parts to capture precise 3-D images to validate parts, quality check manufacturing processes and troubleshoot part irregularities.
The technology provides an efficient way to parse out problems, but is also a useful tool to comb competitors’ technology and design. GM dissects competitor product about three-dozen times a year to competitively benchmark their own vehicles. Whether the design be deemed good, or bad, laser technology can scan an entire portion of any vehicle for GM engineers to analyze.
“3-D scanning is a time-efficient and cost-effective way of keeping up with rapid advancements being made all over the industry,” said Larry Pecar, Senior Supervisor, 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.”
Not only does the technology lead to improved quality and the ability to catch problems more quickly, but it can also be used during the design process of a vehicle.
GM designers are able to scan an entire clay model with laser technology to then transfer it to a full 3-D computer model, where it is easier to manipulate. Then, it becomes easier to see where there could be potential fit and finish issues.
See, lasers aren’t just for Doctor Evil.