Measurement flexibility is important to Polaris Industries Inc. (Spirit Lake, IA), a manufacturer of personal watercraft, motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. "Due to the wide range of vehicles produced at our plant, we needed a system that would allow us to quickly measure everything from the bearing fittings of the wheels of our motorcycles and ATVs to the boat hulls of our watercraft," observes Chuck White, a Polaris quality engineer.

To meet that need, Polaris turned to Faro Technologies Inc. (Lake Mary, FL), which supplies the Gold-series FaroArm, a 3D multi-axis portable measurement arm that is accurate to + or - 0.001 inch. Polaris acquired its first FaroArm in 1996 and today uses three Gold-series units and Faro's CAM2 Measure software for applications including first piece inspections.

White notes that a large percentage of the parts used by Polaris are produced by outside suppliers. "For each part, our suppliers submit a first article inspection report that we can verify to be correct with the FaroArm by simply scanning the part samples and comparing them to the CAD (computer-aided design) models," White explains.

The CAM2 Measure software provides feature measurement and CAD-to-part comparisons via a fully functional CAD engine, meaning that every measured part can be compared to engineering blueprints or design files. This feature has proved valuable on many occasions, White says. For instance, he notes, the CAD-to-part comparison capability played a key role in the design of the company's Victory motorcycle, a 1500cc V-twin-engine cruiser motorcycle that the company began producing in 1998.

"During the development of the latest model of the Victory, our design engineering group was working with a supplier to develop a new head cast (steering head assembly) stamping, but the supplier was having difficulty getting the geometry of the part to match the CAD model," White relates. Initial measurements and trial builds showed the part to be out of tolerance by up to 8 millimeters in an area of the head cast where the correct fitting of the part is critical.

"Using the FaroArm, we scanned the part and compared it to the CAD model, which showed exactly where the supplier's parts differed from the drawing," White says. "Within two days, the supplier was able to adjust its process and produce stampings that met the design. Not only were we able to get the part right, we were able to meet critical deadlines for the release of the latest model."

Thanks to the portable arm and the CAD-to-part comparison capability, Polaris and its supplier were able to save as much as two weeks in getting the stamping to fall within the correct dimensions, White estimates. Proving its usefulness in this instance, White anticipates that the portable arm will play a large role in designing future models of the Victory motorcycle, as well as other Polaris products.

Faro Technologies Inc.
(800) 736-0234 Reply 13


  • The 3-D multi-axis portable measurement arm is accurate to + or - 0.001 inch.
  • Using associated software, measured parts can be compared to engineering blueprints or design files.
  • On one project, a supplier saved as much as two weeks in adjusting a process to produce stampings to meet a product design.