If you plan to use 3D scanning technology on a fairly regular basis, you likely will need to decide whether to outsource services to a qualified 3D scanning provider or to purchase your own 3D scanning equipment. Like any major financial decision, weighing the pros and cons of each option is a good first step.
3D Scanning Equipment: Purchase or Outsource?
When deciding whether to buy, lease, or outsource services, answer the following questions to help you come to a conclusion:
- How frequently do you need 3D scanning? If you know that you will need to use 3D scanning equipment almost constantly over the next few years, purchasing might be the most cost-effective solution. However, if you’re unsure about your future requirements, or if you know you will only need 3D scanning for a short period of time or intermittently, outsourcing makes more sense.
- How many types of objects do you plan to scan? Not all 3D scanning equipment can be used for all objects. If the objects you plan to scan include different surface characteristics, sizes, or shapes, you may need multiple equipment types. In this case, outsourcing will certainly be more cost-effective.
- Does your staff know how to use the equipment? Although many types of 3D scanners are easier to use than other metrology equipment, there is still a sharp learning curve particularly with the processing of a point cloud. Factor in training time and costs when deciding whether to outsource or buy.
- When do you need results? If you plan to use 3D scanning extensively for quality control on the manufacturing line, the ability to quickly get results in-house is a good reason to buy or lease equipment. On the other hand, a qualified service provider may be able to generate faster results for applications such as reverse engineering or first article inspection because it has more equipment and expertise.
- What is your budget? Consider the lifetime cost of purchasing equipment (including training, calibration, and maintenance) and compare that with the cost of outsourcing. Bear in mind that an service provider typically has access to a range of 3D scanning equipment and not just one device. In some cases, a hybrid approach could be the most cost-effective solution.
- Can you achieve the accuracy requirements? If you work in an industry that requires regulatory compliance or follows other stringent accuracy guidelines, you must be sure that you can accommodate. This means using the right equipment and procedures. If you are not confident that you can achieve this in-house, working with a qualified service provider can give you peace of mind and, potentially, save money in the long run.
Whether you decide to outsource or purchase your own 3D scanning equipment, Q-PLUS Labs is here to help. We are an authorized reseller for many manufacturers, so if you decide to buy or lease, we offer a wide array of equipment choices. Our extensive experience as a qualified service provider allows us to make expert recommendations so you can be confident that you are buying the best equipment for your needs.
If you decide to outsource, we offer a range of services for virtually any industry and application. We are ISO 9001 registered, AS9100 certified, and ISO 17025 accredited. All measurements we perform are traceable to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (N.I.S.T.). If you’re not sure which option is right for you, contact us today to schedule a free assessment.