In the manufacturing and production industries, pattern digitizing is the process in which 2D physical patterns or templates made of paper, muslin fabric, cardboard, metal, glass or plastic get converted into a vector to be utilized in a 2D/3D
CAD/CAM system. The process preserves the patterns original design and shape and allows users to virtually edit and improve their templates. The digitized templates can be graded or sent directly to a marker making/nesting system to be plotted and cut out. Some companies only digitize to create a virtual archival of their templates.
Pattern Digitizing is often the first step into digitization. It is a small but important step in production. Manually digitizing patterns can slow down production and sample approvals. Inaccuracies on the digitized pattern shape can generate disastrous results on the final product. Having a precise and reliable digitizing system is crucial for the production and manufacturing process of a product.
The manual Digitizing Table & Silhouette Digitizer:
When the industry was first introduced to the digital world of CAD/CAM, the standard system for digitizing was a digitizing table or pen. A digitizing table is a manual system in which users have to redraw their physical pattern into a CAD/CAM systems with a cursor. The process is slow, manual and error prone. A set of furniture, automotive or apparel patterns took hours to be digitized. Nowadays with automatic digitizers, the process can take just a few seconds.
A digitizing table or silhouette digitizer often requires specialized labor. Automatic digitizers can be used by anyone and it allows human talent to focus on less laborious repetitive tasks.
Automatic high speed Digitizing Scanners:
In 2001 NYU professor Davi Geiger and Hiroshi Ishikawa developed the first effective Automatic Digitizing System to replace manual digitizers: The NScan. By simply scanning or taking a picture of a set of patterns, users can have their styles digitized in seconds. The NScan software automatically identifies the cutline, internal line, notches, cutouts, drills, text while intelligently ignoring scribes. After the pattern is digitized by the software, users can save the true to size image of their templates and also the digitized vector of their patterns. The NScan comes with basic CAD editing tools that allow users to edit and modify their patterns. Instead of having to redraw physical patterns into vector lines, Pattern makers, CAD engineers & Technical designers can simply scan or take a picture of their template blocks.
The process of digitizing with a camera/scanner is patented by Nhega Technology in the US.
Automatic high speed Digitizing Cameras:
As soon as digital cameras broke the 5 megapixel resolution mark, the N-hega team also introduced the NShot-Pro camera digitizing system as an alternative solution to the scanner. The NShot-Pro is the first effective camera digitizing solution in the world. The NShot-Pro uses automatic grid calibration algorithms to accurately digitize patterns.
Later to cater to people with basic and portable digitizing needs, Nhega also introduced the NShot-Lite portable digitizing system. The NShot-Lite uses automatic reference point calibration algorithms to accurately digitize patterns.
Continuous Technological Development and Upgrades:
N-hega has a dedicated team of scientists and developers that work every year to improve the NScan & NShot softwares. These improvements guarantee that the systems are never old and are always keeping up with the ever-changing advancements in technology.
Importance of Pattern Digitizers:
Maintaining pace with the competitive market by adopting automation is important, but more important than that is conserving quality and the integrity of your products. Investing in good quality products often results in quicker Return than investing in second-rate products that might only cover the basics of what is really needed. Every digitizing room has its own particularities, and the best solution is the solution that will work well for what you need.
Pic courtesy of: Mark V.
Pic courtesy of: Brendan Wibberley.
Pic courtesy of: Chris F.