REVERSE ENGINEERING OF TRAIN COMPONENTS - fair heavy diesel engine and high-speed train cocpit

Recently, our team have been invited to present 3d scanning technology to Hungary, where is located Hungarotrain company,

Our team performed 3D scanning using the portable laser 3D scanner, ScanTech KSCAN Magic, to prepare digital 3D data of the parts for reverse engineering.

The goal of the presentation was to demonstrate the best features of portable 3D measuring technology for obtaining 3D data in high accuracy, detailed resolution and on difficult surfaces.

Hungarotrain is a Hungarian company with a history since 1992 and its main tasks are maintenance, repair servicing, commissioning, and development of railway vehicles as well as the design of industrial electronics and control systems. Most of them in cooperation with Hungarian State Railways (MÁV). Hungarotrain, as Bombardier’s subcontractor, has been also active in the commissioning of the RS2 metro in New Delhi and in many other important projects.

The scanning demonstration has been separated into these two segments:

1) scanning of diesel engine motor block

2) scanning of pilot's cockpit of the Bombardier Talent train

Let's discuss all scanning steps of both parts:

1) Diesel engine block

Frankly speaking, the diesel engine is not a lightweight piece, it's actually a super heavy part that can be moved only by forklift or hydraulic system. I am not able to tell you what was the exact weight of the engine, but I know that even the hydraulic system has some troubles with it. As you can imagine, the first step was to lift up the engine to the proper height to be able to scan the whole part around.

After proper installation and fixture into the safe scanning position, the next step was to place markers on flat surfaces of the engine. This step took us about 10 minutes. After that, we could start with shooting the markers to create the reference map for scanning itself. Scanning of the markers is a pretty fast step which requires about 2-3 minutes. Markers come with lasers scanners to keep the accuracy high so final data can be used for reverse engineering or quality control applications. When we created the reference map, we were ready to scan the motor. The only thing which is necessary to set in the scanning software (ScanView) is the desired resolution. This is always the question of adequate details vs scanning speed. We decided that a resolution of 0,5 mm is the suitable result for this type of project.

Scanning itself took us about 20-30 minutes including a comparison of different types of resolution on critical connection parts of the engine. ScanTech KSCAN Magic is an intuitive device and the only thing you need to keep eye on is the correct scanning distance (distance of the optics to the surface).

The most important parts of the engine scan are connection surfaces, where high accuracy and resolution are critical for the successful use of scanned data. KSCAN Magic has a special single laser mode, which switches the scanner into only top camera use, which enables us to scan surfaces deeper in holes.

2) Pilot's cockpit of the Bombardier Talent train

Second testing of KSCAN Magic 3D scanner has been prepared in train cockpit of "Bombardier Talent" train, which is currently based in Hungarotrain depo for maintenance. The Talent is a multiple unit railcar manufactured by Bombardier that was developed by Waggonfabrik Talbot in Aachen shortly before the company was acquired by Bombardier in 1995. The name Talent is an acronym in German for TALbot LEichter Nahverkehrs-Triebwagen. Hungarotrain provides regular maintenance services for Bombardier trains and with the coordination of the Hungarian design office, there was a chance to present 3D scanning solution to capture digital data which will be used for the renovation of the cockpit.

The aim of the second test was to digitalize the pilot's cockpit inside of the train. The operating space inside is tight and doesn't offer many opportunities for manipulation with the scanner. However, with portable KSCAN Magic, it wasn't a big issue to move around and scan all the edges and planes. We used the same system as in the previous test - firstly we placed a marked 10 - 15 cm from each other to get a reference map. Then we were able to digitalize the surface and get proper mesh data.


Reverse engineering is an application that helps in many industrial areas to shorten design times and make production more effective. 3D scanning of the old engines is a clever way how to get digital data quickly and with desired accuracy and resolution and use the data for the development of new prototypes. Instead of spending 30 days with CAD software, it's possible nowadays to get accurate mesh within 60 minutes.

Time needed: 2 hours

Technology used: ScanTech KSCAN Magic, DELL Precision 7540 laptop

Location: Budapest, Hungary

Outside temperature: 29 °C

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