Jay Freeland, President and CEO of FARO Technologies Inc is one of the leading players in the 3D laser scanning industry. If you know anything about Jay, you know that he has been vocal about pushing the development of 3DLS technology so it can reach the widest professional community possible, a task he refers to as the “democratization” of 3D. Clearly, Jay and FARO have some big plans for the future.
I caught up with Jay following FARO’s 3D Documentation conference this year to discuss FARO’s future, why democratizing 3DLS tech is so important, and why making a more affordable scanner is so difficult. Jay also gave me a picture of what he imagines the future of 3D will look like, and just how far off we are from 3D finally breaking big.
Sean Higgins: During his keynote, Rob Pietsch [FARO’s VP of marketing for the Americas] said that this year’s conference wasn’t about the scanner so much as what you can do with it. Can you talk a little more about the things that FARO is working on to change what you can do with the scanner?
Jay Freeland: Numbers one and two are ease of use and price of entry. When you think about bringing technology to a set of users to adopt when that technology doesn’t exist in the space currently—those are the types of things that can help drive the penetration.
I think the third piece that goes along with that is customizing the solution for the different verticals, and maybe even specific applications depending on how unique they are to the customer. That drives the adoption as well.
For us, internally, we’re driving all three of those at the same time. Some of it is through our own R&D, of course, and there’s still a lot of work to be done on lowering the total cost of ownership, lowering the price of the scanner to the general population.
In many respects, we’re still in the early adopter phase of the cycle. When you look at the price point today versus where we think it needs to go in the longer term, our current pricing is still much higher than the normal threshold for a lot of surveyors, law enforcement, and construction, and those different groups.
A lot of what we do is going to be through mergers and acquisitions. So if you look at the acquisition of CAD Zone, that’s a good example, and a first step toward offering software that’s specific to an industry. There are other acquisitions like that. We can pick up application layers that can easily be attached to the scanner, and allow us to integrate 3D data into existing software.
The last way is via things like the app store. Oliver Bürkler talked about the app store and what we’re doing there. You’ll see users who have very specific applications—they’ll write the app, put it on the app store, and it will go to a really small sliver of the marketplace, but it will be available.
All of that goes back to driving the ease of use for the customer and lowering the entry point.
Sean: This ties into a common theme from the 3D Documentation conferences, which is the democratization of 3D scanning technology. Why is that so important to FARO?
Jay: Number one, it’s important to us because we believe this is the right way to solve the measurement problems that are out there. That means pure measurement in the traditional surveyor’s sense or the traditional construction sense, all the way through the imaging side of it, where we look at how people are establishing the imaging for games, or in the movie or television industries.
The ability to capture rapidly at that level of accuracy and with that level of density and detail is the next evolutionary step away from traditional cameras, tape measures, and total stations.
Number two, if you look at it from a business standpoint—when you’re thinking about surveyors, civil engineers, construction engineers, law enforcement personnel, law enforcement agencies, investigative agencies—there are easily a couple million customers who we could sell the technology to.
FARO as a company has sold to only 15,000 customers in total, and that accounts for the fact that the vast majority of our customers are on the metrology side, in the industrial world, where we’ve been for 30 years. So, we have barely scratched the surface. I mean, that is a massive market opportunity. If we solve that market problem correctly – from the technology standpoint, the ease of use standpoint, the price point – it becomes a viable option for all of those folks to make the transition from 2D into full 3D.
Sean: For anyone who wasn’t there at the conference, what would you say was the big takeaway? I noticed there wasn’t a big product or software announcement.
Jay: What I really want them to think about is the opportunity that’s out there to improve their own businesses, to make their own businesses more productive, more profitable. I want them to think about the opportunity to solve the current problems that people are solving today, plus a whole array of new problems that can’t be adequately solved. The scanner opens up a whole new world for people to do that. That’s takeaway number one.
Number two is that the scanner is already pretty darn easy to use, and pretty affordable, and they can rely on FARO to drive that to a point where it is entirely easy to use and entirely affordable for the population of targeted users.
Now, does that mean that the average Joe on the street is going to walk up and buy a laser scanner? I don’t think we’re anywhere close to that in the near term. When you think about consumer 3D printing and things like that, it’s a whole different marketplace. Somebody’s going to solve problem that through a smartphone, through normal camera technology. The image can be dimensionally proportionate, but it doesn’t need to be dimensionally accurate. It will be good enough for the average consumer, but that’s not FARO’s world.
Our world is the professionals who really need the technology because that’s how they make their living and that’s how they protect the safety of citizens, and how they ensure the efficiency and accuracy of civil works projects, or large construction projects, or buildings and other things of that nature. So takeaway number two is that we are, in fact, going to make the technology accessible to that broad user set.
Takeaway number three is that we are still in the early adopter phase. All the people who are at the conference are the pioneers from an end-user standpoint. So their feedback as to where we should be going – or where we can be going – is vital to helping solve the broader problem across that total market opportunity.
Even if we had a product release, I would say those are three takeaways and the product release would be the fourth one. This is a bigger mission to think about what we are trying to do in a very wide open market where we are barely scratching the surface. We’re just getting started.
Sean: In that case, I’d also like to ask where you’d like to see 3D laser scanning technology used where it isn’t already used. Do you have any ideas for future possibilities?
Jay: You know, I hear this question and of course I get excited, because I think it could be used everywhere. Like I said, everything’s got three dimensions, it’s just a matter of whether it’s worth capturing it or not.
Can I find an industry where they’re not using it yet? I’m hard-pressed to find one where there isn’t at least someone who’s trying it out. Again, we’re in that early adopter phase. For me the bigger question, or maybe the one that’s more appropriate at this time is: What do we need to do to drive better adoption across all of those different verticals?
Sean: How far do you think the industry is from producing hardware and software that makes this technology truly easy for those verticals to adopt?
Jay: I think we’re close. And when I say close it doesn’t mean that two months from now FARO is going to release something that hits the mark—we’re certainly not that close. When I think about the price point that really makes sense to the marketplace and the feedback we get from the customers we are already dealing with, the engineering task at hand is not insignificant.
It’s not like if you sold 10,000 scanners a year, you’d get enough volume leverage to help bring the price down. You couldn’t sell enough scanners the way the technology is currently configured. So it’s a real engineering challenge to be solved. Obviously nobody has solved it yet, and we feel like we’re in the position to do it.
If we’re sitting here in five years’ time and I’m still at the same price point, then something has gone really amiss.
Sean: At the end of an interview, I like to include a big question. What do you imagine for the future of 3D technology? Where do you think it will be in 50 years?
Jay: If I take the broadest possible picture and not think about what we’re trying to do—in 50 years, if the entire world doesn’t have the ability to do things in 3D at their fingertips, then something has gone awry. Will people still hang regular 2D photographs in their houses because of the image, the memory, etc? Of course. When you’re using smartphone or your camera, are you going to have the option to take the photograph in 3D or 2D? For sure. Will you be able to take that data and send it off to either a 3D printer at your house or a FedEx or a Kinko’s that has them? For sure.
Do I think that the professional world, you know, the industries that we talk about that we target, do I think that all of them will be using 3D technology in 50 years? Yes, I think they will be using it, if not 100% of the time, then it will be pretty darn close.
I think people will be able to walk around with something they are able to hold in their hand and get the same image clarity and accuracy, and perhaps maybe not the same range, but good enough for a lot of the projects. I have no doubt the technology will migrate there.
Do I think that we’ll be able to scan data, immediately upload it through the cloud, back to their offices and already have all the data rendered and all the visualizations done before they even get back? No question in my mind. That’s where I see it headed.
I am one of those true believers that it’s never a matter of if it can be done. Yes, there are laws of physics and things like that, but people have challenged the laws of physics pretty effectively. It’s not a matter of if it can be done, it’s just a matter of when. If you give a 50-year time window like that, there’s not a doubt in my mind that all of that, and probably well beyond that is going to happen.
ESTACADA, Ore. – A wildfire that burned thousands of acres and threatened hundreds of homes back in September last year and thanks to FARO and the FARO Focus 3D Laser Scanner investigarors were able to conclude that the fire was started by bullet fragments igniting dry grass and brush at gravel pit popular with target shooters. The 36 Pit Fire was not intentionally set, according to fire officials. The gravel pit was open to recreational target shooting when the fire started.
The fire threatened homes near Estacada and forced evacuations and had more than 1,000 people fighting the fire, including 12 elite Hot Shot crews, with the fire being estimated at over 5,500 acres in size.
Located in Dresden, Germany, kubit has been developing field-proven software products to enable and simplify the use of real world objects in CAD applications since 1999. Initially launched to link total stations directly to AutoCAD, today kubit is the industry leader in providing tools to integrate 3D laser scan data with CAD environments such as Autodesk Revit and AutoCAD. kubit’s software is hardware independent, giving customers the flexibility to utilize any hardware offering, thus ensuring maximum productivity.
“The acquisition of kubit is an exciting step in FARO’s strategy to develop integrated, disruptive 3D documentation product offerings for the Architecture, Engineering and Construction market,” stated Jay Freeland, FARO’s President and CEO. “By adding kubit’s products to our portfolio, customers now have significantly enhanced software options to serve a vast array of point cloud modeling, analysis needs, and measurement capabilities with very high connectivity to the Autodesk suite of products.”
In the summer of 2014 ScanLAB Projects worked with director Giles Revell, post production house, The Mill and advertising agency AMV BBDO to create Transparent a short educational campaign video to warn against the dangers of rural roads. The work collects a series of rural locations to build up a Virtual Simulation film set, in which the fateful story of a Road Accident Reconstruction unfolds. ScanLAB Projects developed the initial aesthetic concept and approach and were responsible for on location 3D capture and data processing. They oversaw the final production, animation and rendering by The Mill, London.
More fatalities from motor accidents happen on rural roads than on the motorway, in fact, 60% of all road fatalities in Great Britain happen on rural roads. This work is part of a campaign for the Department for Transport’s THINK! road safety campaign which warns drivers of the dangers on country roads and encourages people to slow down by braking before the bend, not on it. Using LIDAR scanning technology the work makes an entire rural landscapes totally transparent. These scans were then animated in post-production to show a car speeding along a country road along which we can see through trees, buildings, earth and people. Thanks to the LIDAR technology, the viewer can see the danger through the bends; the driver, however, can’t. As a result, the speeding car careers into an oncoming tractor in a fatal crash. The end titles suggest that, if a driver could see the danger through the bend, they would slow down. Brake before the bend, not on it!
Each location was visited and a plan for on location scanning developed by the team at ScanLAB Projects, in consultation with the directors and the 3D graphics team set to work on the project. Using the FARO Focus X330 Laser Scanner a complex series of locations where captured, from heavily forested landscapes to wide open fields and a series of road features including railway bridges, farm entrances and tight corners. The interior of a country pub and the entirety of a working dairy farm also feature in the landscape created. In addition a series of vehicles, actors and extras were also captured using the x330.
Sea cruises are seen as the epitome of an abundance of time and relaxation. It’s a completely different ball game when it comes to running repairs on and overhauling an ocean liner in dry dock. Downtime for these giants is extremely expensive. Any work required must therefore be carried out quickly, and usually all at the same time. However, the dry dock does offer a unique opportunity to inspect the ship’s hull in detail and measure it accurately.
The QUEEN ELIZABETH is one of the most arresting luxury liners in the world. She seam- lessly blends modern ship design with classic elements from the golden age of ocean crossings. Her measurements are impressive too: 294 metres long, 32 metres wide and a magnificent 55 metres high. 12 passenger decks provide space for more than 2,000 passengers.
Following her launch in October 2010, in spring 2014 it was time for a general overhaul at the Blohm + Voss dry dock in Hamburg. The comprehensive cleaning and modernization programme had to be completed within the space of just two weeks. In addition, accurate measurements of the ship’s hull were scheduled to be taken during this time. Data obtained during this process was used to calculate the optimisation of the hull. The goal was to develop new flow flaps and stabilisers and so to improve energy efficiency. In order to keep to the strict schedule and deliver the required accuracy, the contractor in question, SCAN3D Dienstleistungsgesellschaft, recorded the hull using a FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D X 130.
”What was so challenging about this scan was the time pressure and the limited room for manoeuvre in the dry dock”, said Lars Sörensen, Managing Partner at SCAN3D. Sörensen and his team had to integrate into the shipyard’s 24-hour working day at Dock Elbe 11 whilst causing as little disruption as possible. “When we take measurements in shipyards, we mainly have to work nights and at the weekend”, said Sörensen.
With the FARO Focus3D he was able to record the ship’s entire hull in two eight-hour scan processes comprising around 100 individual scans – both from underneath and at various height levels, given that the draught of this luxury liner alone measures 8 metres. “The Focus3D X 130 is ideally suited for working in confined spaces, such as those beneath the keel. It did not take much effort or time to set up, and we did not get in the way of other work taking place around us“. The laser scanner’s high measuring accuracy is incredibly important for the next steps in the process. With a standard deviation of 2.5mm on a ship 300 metres long and range noise in fractions of a millimetre, the laser scanner delivers a highly accurate map of the hull. This level of accuracy is vitally important given that it is not unusual to discover deviations of several decimetres from the planned hull design once the ship has been built. SCAN3D used LupoScan to process the captured data and subsequently produced a reliable surface model of the ship’s hull. Experts at an engineering firm in Finland were able to take this digital model and use it with CFD to analyse flow behavior around the hull. Flow flaps, stabilisers and a new bulbous bow were then designed to help boost the energy efficiency of the ship’s propulsion.
“Our approach had one particular advantage: the data obtained was transformed directly into the ship’s coordinate system. This method produces significant time and cost benefits for future installations”, Lars Sörensen explained. “And the Focus3D enabled us to record basic geometric data quickly and reliably”.
Cirrus Aircraft produces the world’s top two best-selling piston-engine general aviation aircraft, the Cirrus SR 22 and SR22T, with an unmatched integrity in design, quality, and engineering. Using an analytical approach, Cirrus embraces industry best-practices when it comes to analysis and modeling. Using this methodology, they are able to understand the structural characteristics of materials and components and then build a computer model. This process begins by predicting the characteristics of composite structures, using analysis, and then validating the collected data with the computer models. This process is an expensive one – but demonstrates Cirrus’ commitment to quality and safety. This analytic approach continues with the development of the Cirrus Vision SF50, a single engine, low-wing, Personal Jet. The Vision SF50 is designed to fill a significant niche between piston aircraft and Light Business Jets. Like every Cirrus aircraft, the Vision will also incorporate the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) which can safely lower the entire plane to the ground in case of an emergency.
The challenge was to eliminate the need for racks of hard-tooling for the new Vision SF50 Jet project, Cirrus significantly invested in converting a 6-axis manufacturing robot into a CNC milling machine. This robot, a KUKA KR-100 HA L80 (High Accuracy), uses a vision camera to locate and align to a part and then drill any required holes and trim off any excess flashing to define final part shape. The KUKA has a working radius of 9-feet and is mounted on a 40-foot linear axis rail, just long enough to accommodate the 38-foot long wing of the SF50 Vision. The fuselage cabin structure is 5.1 feet wide, 4.1 feet tall, and 30.9 feet long. Smaller parts, parts as small as 6-inches x 4-inches x 2-inches, can also be cut by the robot while being held in place by a vacuum table. Larger parts, however, utilize dedicated holding fixtures. Cirrus needed a solution to validate the setup of the robot and to ensure its true position accuracy. They were seeking technology that would allow the real-time validation of trim paths and drill accuracies without potentially inducing defects to a physical part through trial and error. Accuracy was the number one priority.
Cirrus uses a 12-foot FaroArm with a Laser Line Probe along with a a bridge-style fixed CMM for many projects. However, due to the size and accuracy demands of this project, neither provided the ideal solution for mapping the KUKA robot. To properly map the robot for their trim and drill needs, Cirrus integrated a FARO Laser Tracker into their processes. The Laser Tracker has a large working volume (230-foot diameter) and automatic SMR (Spherically Mounted Retroreflectors) tracking — making it the ideal tool for mapping the robot. The large working volume alleviates the need to leapfrog (Move Device Position) a smaller volume measurement arm, which can quickly degrade the overall accuracy below the acceptable limits afterseveral iterations. Being able to measure any point in the robot cell with the Tracker has proven to be critical to the process. During setup and mapping, the Tracker was dedicated full time, for eight weeks, to the robot cell. Using FARO’s SDK (Software Developers Kit), Cirrus was able to have the robot program tell the Tracker when it was in position and command the Tracker to take a measurement. The true position is then compared to nominal and a compensation table is generated. Based on that compensation table, positional refinements occur and move the robot into the correct location. As a result, after a successful setup and mapping process, accurate hole locations and trim profiles can now be achieved before the first part is ever cut.
Currently, the Tracker is used several times a week to inspect aircraft sub-assemblies and hard tooling. The large working volume, superior accuracy and versatility make the Laser Tracker the only practical tool for many of the large parts Cirrus fabricates. The FARO Laser Tracker allowed Cirrus to make measurements in real time while manipulating the robot, instead of cutting a part or drilling a hole before measuring it and making adjustments based on the data. The Tracker also allowed Cirrus to keep its traditional CMMs focused on their existing production parts.
The overall results stands testament to the quality of the Laser Tracker as Cirrus was able to use the FARO Laser Tracker to realize a 60% reduction in tooling costs by minimizing the quantity and complexity of trim and drill fixtures. This, paired with the agility of the robotic system to rapidly accommodate design changes, will lead to an overall reduction of time and cost for the entire SF50 Vision program as it nears FAA certification. The FARO Laser Tracker Vantage proved to be the comprehensive solution that Cirrus was seeking, as the ideal tool for Robot Calibration, Tool Design, Fabrication, Validation, and Adjustment.
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” says Robert Pelton, with the Altamonte Springs Police Department, whose crime scene pictures now come in 3D!
Traditional scene analysis is a lengthy process, requiring hundreds of pictures, measurements and sketches. The new 3D scanners, made by FARO, can capture the entire scene in a fraction of the time.
Orlando Florida’s NBC news affiliate, WESH Channel 2, aired a story on the 12.02.2015 at 6 p.m. EST featuring our FARO X330 laser scanner and FARO Freestyle3D. The segment was titled “Local police using 3D Crime Scene Technology” and is to promote new technology that is helping law enforcement personnel solve crimes. To see the story, click the link above.
FARO Technologies Inc., the world’s most trusted source for 3D measurement technology, was elected “Milestone of the Industry” by Vogel Business Media in the category of measurement and testing technology.
Vogel Business Media (VBM), a worldwide major specialist media publisher that focusses on the markets Automation, Automobile, Electronics, Production, Mechanical Engineering, Design Engineering among others celebrates its 120th birthday. In order to share this success, VBM honors based on this long lasting experience within the industry markets important players of the industry for their achievements in innovation and technological development.
The award “Milestone of the Industry” for FARO is based on FARO’s innovation started in 1984 with the development of the first measurement arm used for orthopedic applications and in 1994 to be the first measurement company in the world that developed measurement arms which worked like a fixed co-ordinate measuring machine but would provide mobility, flexibility, wide range measurements with a high accuracy to the users. This innovation was considered a milestone of the industry for its revolutionary contribution to the industrial history. It changed and simplified the way that quality, surfaces and dimensions of products, etc. could be measured. This achievement was followed by a number of outstanding innovations that make FARO a trusted partner in the industry today.
FARO’s success is proven through numerous recognitions and awards. The FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D FARO has already prevailed twice with regards to the Hardware Product of the year award at the Construction Computing award contest, 2012 and recently in November 2014. The Focus3D impressed due to its extremely powerful and accurate three-dimensional measurement method, which offers numerous advantages compared with conventional measurement systems.
Geospatial World, considered the world’s largest geospatial technical resource portal, confirmed this vote for the Focus3D in 2014 with the Technology Innovation Award acknowledging that it sets new standards with regards to performance and ease-of-use.
“FARO is very proud to be considered a milestone for the industrial development.”, said Jay Freeland, President and CEO of FARO Technologies Inc., “With our recently introduced new FARO® Scanner Freestyle3D, we will do our utmost to keep this innovation pace and leadership position.” The Freestyle3D is the latest addition to the FARO 3D laser scanning portfolio and provides customers with the same intuitive feel and ease-of-use in a handheld device, enabling users to maneuver and scan in tight and hard-to-reach areas such as car interiors, under tables and behind objects making it ideal for crime scene data collection or architectural preservation and restoration activities.
FARO Technologies, Inc., the world’s most trusted source for 3D measurement, imaging, and realization technology, announces the release of the new FARO Freestyle3D Handheld Laser Scanner, an easy, intuitive device for use in Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC), Law Enforcement, and other industries.
The FARO Freestyle3D is equipped with a Microsoft Surface™ tablet and offers unprecedented real-time visualization by allowing the user to view point cloud data as it is captured. The Freestyle3D scans to a distance of up to three 3 meters and captures up to 88K points per second with accuracy better than 1.5mm. The patent-pending, self-compensating optical system also allows users to start scanning immediately with no warm up time required.
“The Freestyle3D is the latest addition to the FARO 3D laser scanning portfolio and represents another step on our journey to democratize 3D scanning. Following the successful adoption of our FARO Focus 3D Scanners for long-range scanning, we’ve developed a scanner that provides customers with the same intuitive feel and ease-of-use in a handheld device.”
The portability of Freestyle3D enables users to maneuver and scan in tight and hard-to-reach areas such as car interiors, under tables and behind objects making it ideal for crime scene data collection or architectural preservation and restoration activities. Memory-scan technology enables Freestyle3D users to pause scanning at any time and then resume data collection where they left off without the use of artificial targets.
It is no secret that where large-scale major investment is concerned in the current economic climate, infrastructure is a serious front-runner. As one component of a multi-pronged assault on rectifying the UK’s extensive debt crisis, Cameron’s government has pledged billions to the preservation and vast improvement of the country’s arterial infrastructure systems in the hope of stimulating a kick-start for the country’s long-term economic growth. With high-profile projects such as HS2 and Crossrail at the vanguard of the £36billion major infrastructure investment plan, the subject of national infrastructure has become one of 2014’s hot topics. Opti-cal caught up with Ted Harland of Tri-tech Site Engineering and Land Surveys in a bid to get the inside scoop on one of this year’s largest projects; the high profile £300million upgrade of the A1 between Barton and Leeming, that upon completion will see journey times in the area cut by as much as twenty percent.
Tri-tech themselves are a Yorkshire-based surveying and site engineering company, who since 2005 have gained a solid reputation in supporting and facilitating project success for both public and private sector clients
“The project is essentially a £300m upgrade of the existing A1 dual carriageway to 3 Lane Motorway”, explains Harland, MD of Tri-tech, “upon completion, the project will also provide a number of local access roads to serve the local community, and significantly improve safety in the area [which at present lacks the local access roads necessary to accommodate the area’s numerous agricultural vehicles.]”
Falling beneath the broad umbrella of major infrastructure projects for 2014/15, the A upgrade sets the tone for contemporary project process in its use of 3D Laser Scanning Technology, as well as the firm insight into futureproofing the venture’s work through BIM (Building Information Modelling) workflows. “There has been a big push nationwide to start to deliver projects through BIM”, says Ted; “This in turn with the recent development of Scanners, PC Software, and PC Hardware has meant that now more than ever 3D laser Scanning has become a viable option for data collection for this kind of project.” “We have used Opti-cal for number of years now for the supply and service of all our equipment …Their support and service is second to none”
“We were asked by the Morgan-Sindall Carillion Joint Venture (MSCJV) project team to survey a number of existing bridges for the structural design team to process”, he explains, “some of the existing bridges are to be kept, as well as a number modified to suit a new 3 lane Motorway. After having various discussions with the design team about their specific requirements, and whether they could handle such large amounts of scan data, Tri-tech choose the FARO Focus3D X330 model for the job largely because it is the ability to scan at a far.
” Since its arrival on the market last year, the FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner from global manufacturing powerhouse FARO has evolved in tandem with the changing requirements of the survey teams using it. In November last year, the original S120 model was replaced by the first of the X series units – the X330 – which boasted considerable range whilst maintaining the compact 5kg housing that has gained this particular brand of scanner well deserved industry-wide recognition. “In the past we have used the Focus3D S120 to scan a number of buildings for a client”, he says, “The results were excellent, however on this project we knew we required the additional range of the X330 to confidently scan the structures from both sides of the carriageway and get good results. Because we only have access to the side of the motorway sometimes the distances needed to be scanned would have been right at the limit of the S120, which is why we went for X330. In terms of the hire itself, we have used Opti-cal for number of years now and so it was natural progression for them to supply the scanner and all accessories. Their support and service is second to none.”
Speaking about the data captured at the site, Peter Robinson of AECOM’s specialist design team said, “The use of the X330 FARO scanner by Ted Harland of Tri-tech has provided the A1 Dishforth to Barton structures design team with invaluable information. The [sheer] level of detail obtained from the surveys has left a number of the design team speechless, and has allowed [the highly] accurate modelling of existing structures.” He continues; “thanks to the coordinated point cloud obtained from the surveys conducted, we discovered that the original surveys carried out [at the site] were in fact inaccurate, which could easily have led to costly issues on site.”
Here, Robinson highlights the very issue that awards Laser scanning its rightful place at the heart of much of the industry’s recent lean towards Level 2 maturity BIM workflows; that the data you get out of a model will only ever be as good as the data you put in. And where Tri-tech is concerned, no expense has been spared in ensuring total accuracy for MSCJV and the holistic success of their project. “There was quite a lot of prep work prior to the scanner arriving on site,” Ted continues, “control had to be established at each structure using GPS and then tightened up using a total station; all stations were then digitally levelled to tie them into the site network. The beauty about scanning and scan data is that you capture everything in one visit – which at the end of the day saves the project both time and money.”
“We managed to scan all the structures in 4 days with a total of over 40 scans taken”, says Harland. “The processing was then done the following week using the Faro Scene, and the data exported out of FARO Scene Software in a format ready to be imported into Autodesk Revit/Autocad. We know this data is of an exceptionally high quality, and can now be used to design and model all new additions or changes to the motorway bridges – it also provides a real snap shot of what is there now as a record forever, in true 3D.”
With work commencing in March this year, the venture is by no means a small undertaking; “The project is due to be completed in mid-2017,” says Ted, “and I am confident that should there be any further survey work of bridges or structures, laser scanning will certainly be a first choice – not only by the designers but by the site team too.”