Industrial designers often use 3D scanning process to convert physical concept clay or form model in to virtual 3D model, which later can be manipulated in CAD software for further product development processes.
3D scanning is widely used reverse engineering method to derive manufacturing drawing data from existing part or assemblies those have undergone modifications, or to redesign existing products to fit to other modified assembly parts and not having previous drawing data.
3D scanned point cloud data directly can be utilized as input for FEA and CFD. Software such as Polyworks and Geomagic can directly convert 3D point cloud polygon models to FEM model. Automotive, hydro turbine & pump component manufacturers widely use 3D scanning and FEA technique for prototype components to understand fluid flow & the structural strength to optimize product before finalizing product design.
Inspections of complex 3D shapes are made easy using 3d scanning to nominal CAD model comparison. using this technique very quickly deviation in size, shape and critical positions between manufactured part and base CAD model can be determined. It helps in maintaining quality manufacturing.
3d scanned point cloud data can directly utilize as input for rapid prototyping machines. The 3d point cloud can be converted to STL format that can be open in RPT software for further post processing.