Machined parts have long been reserved for industrial markets. However, they have recently started being used in the construction industry to meet the demands of architects who are continually pushing the boundaries in both their architectural designs and their choice of materials. As a result, building professionals must find different ways of working, breaking their habit of making on-site adjustments, which would be impossible (as machine tools are not portable) or extremely costly for these kinds of parts. Cambium – an industrial company that has diversified into the construction industry – has understood this change perfectly, as Thomas Mermillod, Head of Research and Development at the company, explains: “It is essential for the parts to fit together well, which means it is necessary to have a very precise knowledge of the topography of the site and to position the first pieces with a high degree of accuracy. With the Focus3D laser scanner and FARO Laser Tracker, we are able to meet this challenge.” While new construction is not simple, renovation projects are even more complicated as the geometrical layout of the site is generally notprecisely known.
Cambium was recently faced with this situation when it participated in the renovation of the concert hall in the Maison de la Radio in Paris. Cambium was selected to manufacture and install the wooden panels of the 140 m2 acoustic reflector hanging from the ceiling in the hall. The company made 200 wooden panels, each one unique, with curved shapes and grooves of different shapes and widths. As sound quality is crucial for the reputation of a concert hall, it was imperative to respect every detail of the requirements set out by the acoustics experts (the Japanese firm Nagata Acoustics). “Without the Laser Tracker, we would not have been able to complete this project. We used the tracker to check the panels after manufacture and particularly when positioning the first panel, as this first element is crucial for the arrangement of all the parts of the structure. This long-range tool is very convenient to use: the camera was located on the ground and guided us as we positioned the panels 12 m above ground level. The tool’s range is also ideal for largescale projects, so we were able to work for an entire day without changing its position,” said Thomas Mermillod.
Cambium has been using the FARO Laser Tracker for eight years. The company uses it for the two main tasks for which laser trackers are employed – control and alignment aid. Initially, Cambium also used the tracker for scanning sites and buildings, which was a bit tedious because this required a point-by-point survey. As the Focus v laser scanner automatically creates a point cloud, things have become much easier. The tool proved to be invaluable in the renovation of the concert hall in the Maison de la Radio. It allowed Cambium to create a plan of the architecturally complex hall, which has almost no flat areas (vertical or horizontal) or angles, but many curves. “Another very important aspect of the FARO product range is that it is very easy to use the laser tracker and laser scanner within the same reference framework and using the same software (PolyWorks, in our case),” concludes Thomas Mermillod.