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3D Laser Scanning Retrofit Projects

Monday, September 25, 2017

Faced with the task of renovating an existing pump area of a waste water treatment plant with limited on-site personnel available to verify existing conditions, Ahern turned to 3D laser scanning as an alternative method to quickly and accurately digitally document the existing conditions.  A task to verify existing conditions that would typically be performed manually and would take several days for a team of two Ahern employees was now completed within a couple hours by an outsourced firm who utilized one employee with a 3D laser scanner.

3D laser scanning technology digitally captures dimensions and spatial relationships of objects using a line of laser light.  The scanner yields a point cloud image that accurately replicates the scanned objects.  Depending on the type and make of the scanner, objects can be scanned from up to several hundred meters.  Data points can be collected to an accuracy of roughly 3-5mm at speeds from several thousand to several hundred thousand points per second.  The overall speed depends on the desired density of the point cloud.  The denser the point cloud desired, the more time it takes to complete each scan location.  When an object or area is too large to be captured in a single scan, multiple scans from different lines of sight can be linked together to complete the point cloud image.  Once the 3D point cloud is generated, the data can be exported to many common CAD modeling programs to generate a 3D model or 3D models can be imported into point cloud software to identify any collisions.

The captured point cloud image was transferred electronically to the Ahern CAD Designer via an “.rcp” (AutoCAD ReCap Project) file.  Utilizing the AutoCAD ReCap software that Ahern already has as part of their AutoCAD plant design suite, the Ahern CAD Designer was able to import his piping/HVAC models into the point cloud image and identify several collisions with existing pipes/ducts that were not captured on the owner furnished contract drawings.  The piping involved in the collisions were flanged ductile iron, which need to be pre-ordered to length for jobsite installation, and would have needed to be reconfigured on the jobsite during installation.  This would have involved re-ordering numerous ductile iron pipe pieces, causing additional material costs and project delays.

With the realization of the cost-saving benefits provided by utilizing 3D laser scanning on the project, Ahern decided to invest in their own 3D laser scanning equipment.  If you are interested in learning more about how Ahern can bring this cutting-edge technology to your next project, contact us today.

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