Founded in 2002, Creaform pioneered 3D measurement technologies, including handheld 3D scanners, portable coordinate measurement machines (CMMs), and photogrammetry systems. Over the years, the company’s continuous innovations enabled it to maintain its leadership position in both metrology solutions as well as 3D engineering services. Today, the company develops, manufactures and distributes their portable and automated 3D scanning solutions in over 85 countries. Creaform has offices and innovation centers in 13 locations across the globe and count more than 700 employees.

Creaform was acquired in 2013 by AMETEK (NYSE: AME), a global manufacturer of electronic instruments and electro-mechanical devices. That acquisition was a testament—and still is today—to the value of their ahead-of-the-curve technologies.

Interview with David Robichaud, Technical Product Manager at Creaform.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

David Robichaud: Our 3D measurement technologies are used for a variety of applications:

  • Product development and design;
  • Reverse engineering;
  • Quality control, quality assurance and inspections;
  • Maintenance, repair and overhaul;
  • Non-destructive testing (NDT) for oil and gas;
  • Science and education;
  • Healthcare and medical;
  • Heritage preservation, art and architecture;
  • Multimedia, VFX, NFT and the metaverse.

Creaform’s solutions benefit an array of different industries as well. We have clients in the manufacturing, consumer products, automotive, aerospace, R&D, NDT, power generation and heavy industries. We work closely with our 150 distributors worldwide to provide localized and custom support to our clients.

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

D.R: In 2022 alone, we have carried three major product launches—with more to come soon. 

Two new scanners of the HandySCAN 3DTM | SILVER Series solution suite: the HandySCAN 307|Elite and HandySCAN 700|Elite. These scanners feature blue laser technology and offer additional options for SMEs that are looking to leverage the performance of 3D scanning technologies without compromising on affordability.

New VXscan-R software module for VXelements and an integral part of the MetraSCAN 3D-R, a robot-mounted optical CMM scanner; together, they level up automated quality control with collaborative robots.

The tenth version of VXelements, which is comprised several acquisition and application modules, is now boasting a new cloud licensing system, new 3D mesh and entity edition functionalities, multiple CAD imports, and much more. 

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

D.R: Through the years, we have developed an impressive range of products, to help companies of any size address their most complex measuring and productivity challenges. 

Here is an overview:

  • Professional and metrology-grade 3D scanners 
  • HandySCAN 3D |SILVER Series (professional-grade)
  • Go!SCAN 3D (professional-grade)
  • HandySCAN 3D |BLACK Series (metrology-grade)
  • MetraSCAN 3D (optical CMM 3D scanner)
  • HandyPROBE portable optical CMM probe
  • R-Series automated quality control solutions
  • MaxSHOT 3D photogrammetry optical coordinate system
  • 3D measurement software platform and application suite

All of our solutions can be used right on the shop floor and in rugged environments without sacrificing data accuracy, reliability and repeatability. They are flexible enough to capture 3D data from all types of parts—intricate to large, simple to complex. 

What’s more, they have been designed for unprecedented intuitiveness so that operators of any skill level can use them; they can be viable solutions to mitigate today’s staffing challenges and shortage of qualified metrologists. 

Other benefits of our solutions:

  • Proximity to clients to understand their manufacturing and operational challenges
  • Advanced ergonomics to facilitate use and mitigate WHS issues
  • Worldwide support and training in local languages and time zones 
  • Designed in North America and manufactured according to exacting North American standards to ensure superior craftsmanship

What also makes Creaform stand out from competitors is that we offer both the 3D measurement hardware (the equipment themselves) and a complete, yet modular, software platform, VXelements, for sophisticated data acquisition, processing and management. The modules include scan-to-CAD software, dimensional inspection software, digital twin environment software and dynamic tracking measurement software.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

D.R: More and more businesses are adopting 3D measurement technologies, from product design to quality control. While we spearheaded the inroads and democratization of 3D scanning in various market, we believe there is still a lot of room to grow. In other words, 3D scanning is ever-increasingly popular, but our innovations are likely to take on untapped opportunities for other types of sectors and applications.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

D.R: The global 3D scanning market size is expanding tremendously, whether for professionals and “entry-level” users, and will keep doing so for years to come. Since 3D scanning streamlines operations and several stages of the manufacturing process, numerous industries are investing in 3D scanning technologies as well as automated scanning solutions. The goals of introducing 3D solutions are always the same; industries need to ensure the efficiency of the measurement process—all while having excellent accuracy. Creaform is always on the lookout to develop 3D scanning solutions for new types of projects or operational challenges.

Another major trend that started prior the pandemic and has accelerated since, is the use of automation for metrology applications. The pressure of doing more with less pushes manufacturing companies to move in that direction, and 3D scanning technologies will play a more integral role in companies’ transition to Industry 4.0. And I also think that 3D scanning and 3D printing—additive manufacturing—will continue to resolve the time-to-market challenges many manufacturers face. 

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

D.R: I think one especially compelling innovation is the cohesion between the 3D scanner and 3D scanning software. Having a great handheld 3D scanner is one thing, but it is a whole other performance ballgame when you have the right software to leverage all the data captured by the hardware. The real solution is a turnkey solution that combines the 3D scanner and its software as teams can push the innovation or quality control envelope even further. That is something that Creaform really excels at for our customers.  

On the hardware side, however, the HandySCAN 3D remains to this day the biggest innovation produced and manufactured by Creaform. Before the HandySCAN 3D was introduced, the technologies defined as portable were simply not suitable for accurate measurement in shop-floor conditions. The HandySCAN 3D brings all the benefits of high-end metrology equipment while being the most portable scanner.

E.E: What estimations do you have for the rest of 2022?

D.R: Creaform has had a fantastic 20th year in the market. On the cusp of 2023, I believe that as our solutions continue to evolve, more businesses will recognize the tremendous and concrete benefits of 3D scanning.  As more companies replace legacy technologies and approaches to acquire 3D measurements, the user base will continue to broaden. 

In addition, we are seeing educational institutions in engineering and industrial design procuring 3D measurement technologies to introduce metrology to the next generation of professionals. It is amazing seeing students in awe of what they can accomplish with our technologies.