Physical Digital – the story so far

Physical Digital provides mobile industrial 3D scanning services for high-end clients. SME caught up with founder Tim Rapley to find out more…

Tell me about your company – where did the idea come from? How did you get started?

Tim Rapley founded Physical Digital in 2005 after working for McLaren for over a decade when he spotted an opportunity in the market for providing the highest-quality mobile industrial 3D scanning services for high-end clients. At first he travelled the length of the country providing the high-accuracy measurement service on his own, while outsourcing the downstream reverse engineering tasks to trusted third parties. In 2011 he took on his first employee, which meant that the company could offer a more comprehensive service to a growing range of clients. Since then Physical Digital has taken all reverse engineering projects in-house and the company has grown from strength to strength.

How would you describe your business’ ideology?

Physical Digital’s ideology is to build strong working relationships with our clients so that we can support them across the long term on all their measurement projects. In some cases we have been providing 3D scanning services to clients for many years. We ensure we understand what our clients’ projects involve, learn about their industry sectors if necessary and combine this with our many years of cross-sector experience to promote horizontal innovation. We find out what our clients want to achieve with the data we provide and what their downstream issues might be. Physical Digital’s business has grown due to the relationships we have fostered with all our clients – and our many testimonials bear witness to this fact.

Could you tell me a bit about your product/services range?

Physical Digital provides non-contact 3D scanning, inspection, design and reverse engineering services. 3D scanning is a fast, accurate and cost-effective method of collecting physical data that enables engineers and designers to produce better products, reduce production errors and increase and verify quality.

We offer the highest-quality 3D coordinate measurement and non-contact scanning service in the market using the globally-respected Gesellschaft für Optische Messtechnik (GOM) optical measurement systems. This enables us to provide data to clients across virtually all industries, offering an accuracy of microns, in order to support product development, quality inspection and control, deformation analysis, reverse engineering and other services such as Computer Aided Engineering.

Our mobile service enables us to provide metrology, inspection and reverse engineering capabilities worldwide. In the past few months this has been complemented by the UK’s first GOM automated measurement cell, the GOM ScanBox 5120, based in the Midlands – which provides access to world class optical metrology services and offers the ability to reduce the production cycle for our clients. This is particularly time- and cost-effective for clients with batches of components for scanning and inspection, making it ideal for ten, a hundred or even thousands of parts.