Simpleware Case Study: Reverse Engineering Automotive Parts


Reverse engineering and analysing industrial automotive parts can be a challenge, given the complexity of materials used and the need for precision when processing image data.

Researchers have used Simpleware ScanIP to overcome these difficulties in a project involving the conversion of CT data of a cylinder head into a high-quality 3D model suitable for inspecting defects and exporting simulation-ready meshes.

A particular focus was placed on segmenting valve seats in order to carry out thermal simulation analysis and consider the influence of voids included when casting the aluminium part.


  • 3D image data obtained from CT scan
  • Visualization and initial segmentation in Simpleware ScanIP
  • Morphological open filter and 3D editing tools used to improve valve segmentation
  • Processed image data meshed in Simpleware FE
  • Simulation-ready meshes exported to LS-DYNA® for thermal structure analysis

Thanks to

JSOL Corporation: M. Miyazaki

Visualization and Segmentation

Imaging data of the cylinder head was acquired using an industrial CT scanner at 0.4 mm x 0.4 mm x 0.5 mm resolution, and loaded in Simpleware ScanIP. Volume rendering, opacity and colour mapping tools were used to visualize and reconstruct the data based on its underlying greyscale values. This led to the detection of small defects/voids in the cast. Further segmentation was carried out to separate valve seats from the cylinder.

Animation of engine segmentation from CT image data using Simpleware ScanIP

3D Editing of Valve Seats

To segment the valves from the cylinder head in Simpleware ScanIP, a combination of different image processing tools was used. Initial thresholding quickly created separate masks of the individual components. Morphological filters were then applied on selected regions of interest (ROI) to clean up the model. Using the Simpleware 3D editing tools, a 3D ROI was created around the valve seats, with the morphological open filter used to remove small areas of noise. These tools enabled a more accurate and clearer multi-part segmentation of the valves from the cylinder head.

Using Simpleware 3D editing tools to remove small areas of noise around the valve seats


The segmented image data was meshed using the Simpleware FE and imported to LS-DYNA® for a preliminary analysis of the impact caused by the presence or absence of voids in the cylinder head. This involved comparing the principal stress around the void for cases where a void was present or absent, with consideration made of intake and exhaust temperature. The approach enabled insights into the potential performance of the part under different manufacturing conditions, setting up future research into defect analysis.

Analysis in LS-DYNA® of impact caused by the presence or absence of voids in the cylinder head

Any Questions?

Do you have any questions about this case study or how to use Simpleware software for your own workflows?