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Teardowns Gone Digital

Imagine having a CT scan of an entire vehicle that would allow you to see every spot weld. This company provides that capability—and provides a demo on a Tesla Model 3.


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Caresoft scan

(Images: Caresoft)

While competitive teardowns are a way of life in product development, as OEMs buy one another’s competitive vehicles ASAP and then having those vehicles deconstructed and analyzed to the nth degree, that, says Mathew Vachaparampil, president & CEO, Caresoft Global, a 2D approach.

Enter the Third Dimension

Vachaparampil admits that there is something to be said for the teardown approach. Which is one of the services Caresoft offers.

But they’re taking another approach, one that, in effect, is like a CT scan that a person might have performed in a medical setting.

They take a vehicle, mount it on a fixture that is inside a protective chamber, and, over a period of about two weeks, scan it with high energy beams. Over that period of time the vehicle is indexed so that there is a comprehensive collection of data on the vehicle, down to individual welds on the body-in-white.

Added to PLM

This data is then processed by Caresoft engineers and it is ported to the customer’s PLM system of choice. Caresoft has also developed its own “extended reality” software, Cornea, which is a virtual reality setup that allows someone with a VR headset to view and manipulate essentially every part of a vehicle.

Caresoft scan

This is not an elaborate illustration. It is actually scanned data.

Realize that this is based on math data, not some sort of animation, so that what is being perceived has engineering value.

That is the 3D approach, one that Vachaparampil explains can allow users to optimize design, cost and performance.

The system allows things like transmissions to be disassembled and re-assembled. It allows running CFD and other CAE analyses of the data.

Timing Addressed

This undertaking takes about 4.5 months to create the model of an entire vehicle;  Vachaparampil says that they are offering customers—and the company has 55 customers located around the world—with the opportunity to receive portions of the vehicle as the voxels being collected are organized by the software so as not to have to wait until the entire task is completed.

And on this edition of “Autoline After Hours,” you can see parts of a Tesla Model 3 that Caresoft has scanned as Autoline’s John McElroy dons the headset and the hand-held manipulators to run through various elements of the vehicle.

Caresoft scan

Actual wiring revealed.

Joining John and me is Jack Keebler of Keebler Auto, who, in a previous position, worked on product development so he has a deep knowledge of the way that things have been traditionally done in the auto industry.

Try to Drive a Torn-down Car

One interesting point that Vachaparampil makes is that when they started this undertaking some three years ago the function within the OEMs that was most interested in the results was Engineering. Over time, he says, there are other functions that are interested, including Manufacturing and those who are charged with making sure vehicles are serviceable.

Why do they do physical teardowns? Vachaparampil says that one issue is that the scanning doesn’t work well with low-density materials.

One key differentiator between the scanning and the physical teardown? Vachaparampil says that they’ve scanned seven vehicles. All but one—for reasons they have yet to determine—are drivable.

Following Vachaparampil’s appearance, we discuss a number of subjects, including the Mustang Mach-E, the financial troubles that are facing global automakers and a whole lot more.

Which you can see here.