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Inside Your Running Shoe

Could top quality products be within everyone’s reach?

Think how nice it would be if all the little defects inside your running shoes could be identified and eliminated before you buy them. No more rubbing, burning, itching, aching. This attention to design and quality control may soon become the norm even for ordinary consumer products. Lumafield has designed a CT scanner that enables engineers to see inside their products and identify problems and opportunities for improvement. Their product may not be state-of-the-art, but it offers new capabilities at a reasonable cost.

Video Spotlight: Lumafield Introduces Next-Generation CT Scanning Platform  (April 13, 2022, Metrology News) 

This post is based on the Forbes article, Meet the Startup that Designed CT Scanners to make Consumer Products Better, by A. Feldman, April 13, 2022, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Shutterstock/deepadesigns.

Discussion Questions:

1. Identify and explain the ways that the 3D scanning technology can improve operations.

Guidance:  The technology can improve the design of the product in terms of performance, features, and durability. It also improves quality testing by identifying both external and internal defects invisible to the naked eye without any destruction of the items. It lowers costs by facilitating value analysis and decreasing the likelihood of internal and external failures and their consequences. Finally, it fosters rapid and accurate communication through the supply chain (see video).

2. How is Lumafield able to produce industrial scanners that are much cheaper than those made by Nikon or Zeiss?

Guidance: The technology is not as sophisticated (e.g., lower resolution) as the one used to scan human bodies or critical products such as airplane engine parts. As such, it is less expensive to develop and produce. Furthermore, the CT scanners were reengineered so that the cost of hardware was as low as possible. Finally, before selling its scanners, Lumafield performed scans for its clients, enabling the company to test and refine its product thoroughly before production.

3. Early customers include L’Oreal, OXO, and Trek Bicycle. Why is the technology appropriate for these products? Can you think of products for which the technology would be less useful?

Guidance: The products sold by L’Oreal, OXO, and Trek Bicycle are relatively inexpensive consumer products that are mass produced. Using very sophisticated industrial scanners to design or redesign low-margin products would be cost-prohibitive. However, these mature products face intense competition, and better-quality features can be order winners. The technology sold by Lumafield would not be appropriate for high-end products such as brain scanners. It may not be appropriate for low-end, customized products for which the improved design and testing may not be worth the extra time and cost.


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