Coming to (Golf) Grips with Global Manufacturing Standards
The corporation is a diversified industrial manufacturer and global
leader in a large range of product holdings. The golf products
division is the world’s largest manufacturer of golf grips and has
been for over 50 years, with manufacturing, sales and distribution
facilities in seven countries. The brand, with its wide variety of
sizes, designs, and features, is the number one choice in grips among
tour and recreational players, as well as golf club manufacturers.
The global R & D engineering manager was tasked with directing design
standardization across the golf products division. Because of the company’s
size and global reach, pressure was mounting to make their tooling methods
and designs universally usable at all of their many manufacturing sites
worldwide. They wanted to consolidate the design and development process,
and at the same time, archive their historical design data that had been
created in many different formats, for both the tooling and the saleable products.
The scale of the entire project was enormous; the engineering manager
needed to find a starting point that would lead to a universal solution.
He started with reverse engineering a prototype rubber grip to get data
into a new standard format suitable for further Pro E parametric CAD development.
The prototype grip was made up of complex geometry with many unique surface features.
Since it was a flexible conceptual part, it had imperfections such as asymmetries which
couldn’t be detected visually and a parting line mismatch.
The company had originally discovered GKS Inspection Services through
a web search for a previous project, when they were looking to do some
reverse engineering work with legacy products. At the time the company
was working with a Stratasys rapid prototyping system. Stratasys is a
frequent collaborator with Laser Design / GKS Inspection Services; they
highly recommended GKS to the engineering manager for the current endeavor.
The manager made contact with Larry Carlberg, GKS Service Bureau Manager
in the Minnesota office. GKS Inspection Services is a division of Laser
Design, Inc., the leading supplier of ultra-precise, 3D laser scanning
systems and services since 1987. Carlberg’s previous experience working
with several of this company’s projects allowed him to immediately devise
a plan for scanning the grip. “Larry gave us the heads up about the typical
problems that arise in what we were trying to do,” explained the lead project
engineer. After he provided a rubber prototype of the intricately detailed
grip, Carlberg quickly responded with a proposal on how to best scan it,
and how to begin creating the archive of products with a common format.
With over 25 years in the business, GKS metrologists have experience
with all kinds of projects. Carlberg explained the approach he would
take to address the issues of the small details, curved surfaces, and
imperfections in the prototype. “We used the RPS-120 laser probe on
the DS-2030 Laser Design Surveyor system because the intricate patterns
on the golf grip could not be captured without the high density of
coordinates,” commented Carlberg.
Because the laser scanning system projects a line of laser light onto surfaces while
cameras continuously triangulate the changing distance and profile of the laser line as
it sweeps along, the problems of missing data on an irregularly shaped surface is
eliminated. The system measures fine details and captures complex freeform geometry so
that the object can be exactly replicated. Laser scanners quickly measure articles, picking
up tens of thousands of points per second, and generating huge numbers of data coordinates
without the need for templates or fixtures.
“This laser setup included a rotary stage on the DS-2030 machine, allowing for scanning in
multiple positions very quickly and accurately,” continued Carlberg. “For this particular
project, we utilized a combination of laser scanning and conventional measurement techniques
for the small details, hundreds of tiny plus-sign patterns on the grip. We inserted gauge
pins into the various slots and grooves on the grip. This method provides us very accurate
information to supplement the laser scan data. By blending measuring techniques, we provided
our modelers with all the tools necessary to create exact models representing the geometry of
Given that the part was a prototype, it had imperfections such as a mismatched
parting line. Knowing that the desired result in the final product was a perfect
parting line, GKS’s experienced modelers solved the problem by blending the data
in those areas to create a smooth curved surface.
Adding to the complexity of the scan setup was the fact that the rubber prototype was flexible.
That meant that it could distort to a different shape when it was repositioned for additional scans.
“We solved the flexing issue by inserting a steel rod that very nearly matched the center shaft into
the prototype part, like a golf club shaft. This rod gave the part the essential rigidity to prevent
distortion of the true geometry,” said Carlberg.
“Larry Carlberg was extremely responsive and gave us very good feedback about what we
needed to do to make the scanning process successful,” commented the lead project
engineer. “With his many years of experience, and having completed several of our
projects previously, he knew what we needed even before we did, and supplied that as
a matter of course. He pointed out the asymmetrical and imperfectly matched halves
of the scan data and asked if we wanted them corrected to the ideal model. He took
the time to give us guidelines on how to avoid these types of issues and how to deal
with them. He knew exactly what corrections were needed and provided us with the best
possible scan data, very detailed and precise, and very quickly.”
This golf grip project is early in the development process, with an expected
launch date in late 2007. Engineers are working with the data not only to
perfect the grip, but also with forethought to how they will work with and
archive product data in the future. They need to create parametric CAD models
as well as make the necessary changes and product updates to the legacy products
in Pro-E to standardize their design and development process worldwide. “Working
with GKS has been a learning process about what we can do and can’t do and what we
really need for data,” concluded the project engineer. “GKS has the knowledge to
help us in the process and provide the outstanding results we need to create our
innovative, leading-edge products.”
GKS Inspection Services has been a leading provider of dimensional inspection,
3D laser scanning and terrestrial scanning services for over 25 years.
The company’s Plymouth, MI lab (Detroit metro area) is accredited by the
A2LA for Mechanical Testing and Calibration and features numerous CMM’s,
vision systems, 3D laser scanners, surface analyzers and other inspection
equipment. GKS also has U.S. offices in Minneapolis and Seattle and
international locations in India, Korea, China, Taiwan and the Netherlands.
The company’s metrologists and engineers are experienced in the automotive,
defense, electronics and many other manufacturing industries.
For more information about how GKS Inspection Services can improve
your manufactured product, save you money and decrease your
development time, call Larry Carlberg at 952-252-3433 or
send an email to email@example.com.