ARCHIVED - Handyscan 3D portable scanner
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June 15, 2007— Saguenay, Quebec
In 2005, a company from Lévis, Québec, launched the world's first handheld 3D scanning system, the Handyscan. It was a real technological feat. One year later, the device is being distributed in 25 countries and the company is achieving a turnover of four million dollars just from the marketing of this new technology. This is a real commercial feat. It's a dramatic beginning for a local high technology firm: Creaform.
Charles Mony is a determined businessman with a great vision. When he approached National Research Council Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) in 2002 he had a clear project in mind: he wanted to develop and market a portable, high performance scanner for the 3D digitization of parts in the automobile, transport and aeronautical sectors, as well as for applications in medicine and multimedia. The device's scanning laser and Creaform's 3D imaging software allows copying in real time and 3D. It's a major technological breakthrough.
Experienced NRC-IRAP adviser Claude Chapdelaine was convinced that Charles Mony's idea had the potential to become a leading edge technology. To start, he encouraged Mr. Mony to better organize his project by developing a business plan, including clear objectives for the development of this technology. This would assure that all of his efforts would be exerted in the right direction.
NRC-IRAP's contribution was greatly appreciated by Creaform's people. André Couture, the company's vice-president of finance and technology development, noted: "Our Company was just starting and needed the support and advice of experienced people for a project of this size, and we received it from Mr. Chapdelaine. "
The businessman and the advisor came together and agreed to launch two projects in parallel: the first to define the technology platform which Creaform wished to market and the second to explore the possibility of combining two existing technologies. The second project allowed them to start producing income by offering companies such as Bombardier, Renault and Black & Decker improved fixed digitization services.
In this way, several activities were under way simultaneously, with linkages to firms specializing in high technology, marketing and market studies. Agreements were quickly signed, which led to the creation of an innovative, better performing fixed scanning system.
On the technology advancement side, it was at Laval University in 2004, as part of a third major project with NRC-IRAP, where Mr. Mony and Mr. Chapdelaine found the technology they had been looking for. Charles Mony negotiated the rights and set up the framework to develop the scanning system he dreamed about, and which was becoming more and more clear to him.
He wanted a light, portable scanner with infinite precision and high resolution, but above all self-contained so it would stand out from the competition. While scanning an object, the scanner produces a cloud of points which are processed by various software components to instantly compose the desired 3D image. The design and the necessary calculations were done at Creaform, in collaboration with an external company, 3DI.
Handyscan, the world's first hand scanner, was finally launched in 2005. In less than two years, the company sold 163 units internationally, as well as offering various scanning services. In 2007, one hundred employees, managers, engineers or specialized technicians worked for one or another of the three divisions of the company: Creaform of Lévis, Handyscan 3D and Euroform, near Paris.
Recipient of numerous awards and acknowledgements for technology companies, such as the Vision award 2006 issued by the Chambre de commerce de Québec, Fidéides Haute Technologie et Exportation in 2007, Mercuriades Haute Technologie 2007 and the Mérite commercial Desjardins in March 2007, Creaform still maintains its remarkable momentum. Constant growth is the hallmark of great companies.
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