With their origins dating back to 1936 Ryco Filters is a long standing and iconic Australian brand famous for the design and testing of automotive oil, air, fuel, cabin, transmission, hydraulic, crankcase, urea and DPF filters to meet or exceed original equipment specifications. In Australia alone that equates to more than 65 vehicle makes and 363 models with the comprehensive range of Ryco Filters suited to most makes and models of vehicles - from cars and motorcycles to trucks, buses and agricultural machinery. The filters undergo rigorous testing at the hands of experts in Ryco’s dedicated filtration laboratory - the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere. The lab also features prototyping facilities to create Ryco’s own original equipment products.

Ryco recently introduced a Creaform HandySCAN BLACK|Elite 3D scanner into their product design operations so we spoke with Alastair Hampton, Ryco’s General Manager Engineering & Innovation, about what led them to purchase the 3D scanner from Hi-Tech Metrology. Here is what he had to say:

‘Following the success of Ryco’s standalone RCC350 crankcase filter and Z980 series fuel water separator in the 4x4 vehicle market, there has been a strong demand for vehicle specific fitment kits to assist owners wanting to fit these products to their engines. Modern 4x4 diesel engine bays are already tightly packed, and many customers find it difficult to fit additional products so Ryco embarked on developing a new range of products to create a kit, including specially design brackets, fittings and molded hoses, to make fitment of these popular accessory filters much easier. With ease of installation in mind the design team was set the task of creating a kit that required no cutting or drilling of the engine bay, and that utilised high quality components designed to last the life of the vehicle under extreme conditions. It soon became apparent that packaging the necessary parts in tight engine bay locations and accurately measuring the positions of existing mounting holes and studs for bracket design was posing a serious problem.

Current methods used conventional measurement techniques, along with 3D design software and 3D printing, to create prototype brackets which were then used for fitment trials. Required adjustments were noted on 3D printed samples and further iterations were used to fine tune the fitment. We soon realised that a far more accurate means of measuring engine bays in 3-dimensional space was needed.

Using 3D printed parts for trials was useful but the process of trial and error was taking far too long. We needed a much better method of measuring complex engine bay spaces so that initial product designs could be more accurate. The new generation of laser based handheld scanners that Hi-Tech Metrology offered were able to create much higher fidelity images and the 3D scanner software allows features to be identified by the CAD software. This is crucial for our design engineers who could now build and package new products in a virtual engine bay, ensuring exact fitment.

We have now been able to drastically reduce product design time from 6 months down to a couple of weeks, significantly improving our speed to market and the number of products we could develop with the same team over the same time period.

We have deployed the 3D scanning technology to create a digital library of engine bays and engine components for the packaging and design of accessory products. It is also used to measure standard service filters and the interfacing engine components to ensure a precise fit. We can now create innovative design solutions for our customers that are of high value & complexity whilst also executing them in a relatively short space of time. We could not do this until Hi-Tech Metrology demonstrated their 3D scanner technology.

With the 3D scanner technology, presented to us by Hi-Tech Metrology, it is now possible to digitally complete packaging and design in CAD. This packaging and bracket design process can now be completed in a matter of weeks rather than months - a significant reduction in time to market and a large increase in our productivity.

We had briefly studied 3D scanning technology before we met with Hi-Tech Metrology however we were not impressed by the solutions being offered. The application engineers from Hi-Tech came in and demonstrated their 3D scanning technologies at our facility and showed us a complete solution that could do precisely what we needed.

We are now saving at least 5 months per fitment kit project with the added benefit of significantly improved measurement accuracy for our traditional components. The efficiencies gained from the implementation of this scanner means that it will pay for itself in a matter of months.

Other tangible benefits for us have been the productivity improvements from providing the best tools to our people and the great marketing story we now have to tell our customers that we are employing cutting-edge technologies to ensure our products exceed their expectations.

I’ve been very impressed with the Hi-Tech Metrology products and customer service, both pre and post-sale. They were able to propose an efficient solution to our problem and demonstrate the efficacy of their products rather than just a sales pitch. They have also provided excellent training and ongoing support so that we can best utilise the technology.

Overall this has been a big step forward for us in our capability and allows us to confidently consider other more complex and higher value products for our future range.’

Footnote: From all of us at Hi-Tech Metrology we would like to thank Ryco Filters and Alastair for contributing to our series of case studies and wish them every success in the future.


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