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.
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.”
Regardless of what the logo says and in no matter which country an automobile was assembled, the result is produced by multi-tonne presses marked with a single name: Schuler.
Schuler’s origins stretch back 175 years and with revenue exceeding one billion, Schuler is a global giant among press manufacturers.
The FaroArm Platinum and FARO Vantage Laser Tracker both offer Schuler mobility for measuring as you can set them up quickly and easily, and also portability as they can be brought to the site where your equipment is assembled with minimal effort. For this reason Schuler values these systems highly, and sees great potential for the TrackArm in the future.
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A scanner is not much use on its own – with SCENE software from FARO, all the scan data acquired on the set can be processed and – with the hosting service – securely shared worldwide.
FARO is a manufacturer of portable 3D measurement technology, and has developed the SCENE software package specifically for the FARO Focus3D laser scanner. However the SCENE software is not restricted to the laser scanners from FARO, but can also be combined with other makes of laser scanner.
Using this software, the user can process the photo-realistic scan data from the laser scanner with the aid of automatic scan registration and positioning methods, and then carry out measurements and 3D visualisations and export point clouds. New tools take care of automatic scan positioning without having to rely on artificial targets such as checkerboard markers or spheres. The range of functions of the software can be extended at will with plug-ins from the FARO 3D App Center, for example for creating a video, for volume calculations and much more. At the same time, FARO has published the new version 1.6 of the scan data hosting service, SCENE WebShare Cloud: This enables scan projects to be viewed, shared and published online. And all with the highest security standard.
SCENE is compatible with Windows from version 7, 64-bit, in addition to which at least a 512 MB graphics card with OpenGL-2.0-interface is required for optimum performance. For stereoscopic display, FARO recommends an Nvidia Quadro card. SCENE uses the manufacturer-independent, binary data exchange format ASTM E57, and the tool also supports all popular formats.
How many laser scanners should be used for a high-quality scan model of which magnitude?
Oliver Bürkler: The crucial factor is always the degree of detail required for a scan. The more accurate a scan is to be, and the higher the resolution it is to have, the longer the scanner takes to record the data. We are talking about a maximum of 15 minutes for a very detailed scan outdoors, within a surrounding radius of 330 metres. The larger and more complex the object to be scanned – for example a large, angular building – the more scans will have to be carried out in order to record all the surfaces. It can thus be an advantage in terms of time to employ several devices in parallel, but it is not absolutely necessary. As far as SCENE is concerned, the software can in principle handle projects of unlimited size, and map them with no restrictions.
How does the scanner store the data?
Oliver Bürkler: The scanner stores the scan data automatically on a normal SD card. If a computer is equipped with SCENE software, data transfer is started as soon as the SD card is inserted, following a brief request for confirmation.
There are two methods available for automatic scan positioning without markers: “Top View”-based registration and “Cloud-to-Cloud” registration. Which of these is suitable for which situation?
Oliver Bürkler: “Cloud-to-Cloud” registration uses all the scan data for registration. In order to be able to operate reliably, this type of registration needs in principle some initial information about the rough position and alignment of the scan. When outdoors, SCENE uses the GPS information saved by the scanner for each scan. Without this information, for example when indoors, the user has to align the scans roughly by hand in advance. In contrast to “Top-View”-based registration, this method requires a little more time but is potentially more accurate.
Prior information about location and orientation are not necessary for “Top-View”-based registration. This method is particularly suitable when there are enough vertical structures – such as walls, for example – available in the scan data.
However, in the case of targetless methods the user has to ensure greater overlapping between the individual scanning locations. So you need more scan positions but you save yourself the effort associated with transporting, fitting and managing the targets.
In which application situations is the use of targets as essential as ever?
Oliver Bürkler: SCENE still supports spheres and checkerboards as targets. The user will normally still want to use targets if he/she wants to georeference the scans, for example, with tachymeter data. The type of most suitable targets depends on the individual case.
In which formats can data such as image files, CAD drawings or cards be integrated into the scan data?
Oliver Bürkler: The user can import files in .tiff, Geotiff, .jpg or .png formats into SCENE. The software then displays the file on a horizontal plane in 3D space. In the case of a Geotiff file, the position and scaling are extracted automatically from the metadata. With the other file formats, the user has to enter the position and the scale of the image, for example by means of a dialog box.
Does stereo 3D viewing work in real time in every situation?
Oliver Bürkler: The output of a stereoscopic 3D view can be easily defined in the 3D settings of SCENE. A stereoscopic view is always possible without any time delay then.
Is SCENE WebShare Cloud permanently integrated into the software or an optional feature?
Oliver Bürkler: It is an optional service from FARO, but from the technology perspective it is fully integrated in SCENE. Advantages of the Cloud service include the easy viewing of scan data in standard web browsers, as well as the provision of data in any size. Users do not need any special software for it. The scans are also displayed as panoramic images, so no knowledge of 3D programs is required. That makes it particularly easy in the case of complex projects to provide access to the data to everyone involved – all without any time delay. Even changes to the project become visible in real time. There is the choice of making the data public or of restricting access by means of username and password.
Is web-based collaboration on the model also possible?
Oliver Bürkler: Yes, that is also possible. Although we recommend that a web conference system such as GotoMeeting or WebEx be used for that purpose when several people are working at the same time. It makes cooperation more effective.
You also offer a free version of SCENE, called Scenect. For which target group is it intended?
Oliver Bürkler: Our intention with Scenect is to appeal to people who are not typical professional 3D scanner users, and to offer them an easy way into 3D scanning. All that is needed are inexpensive sensors such as the Asus Xtion or Microsoft Kinect. With Scenect, however, only one sensor can be used at a time.
Are there any imminent plans for a Mac or Linux version von SCENE?
Oliver Bürkler: There will be no versions of the software for other operating systems in the immediate future. On the other hand, SCENE WebShare Cloud is entirely independent of the operating system.
The F-35 program brings together the world’s most experienced aerospace industry leaders, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and Pratt and Whitney. The global team also includes more than 1,400 suppliers from 46 U.S. states and companies from 10 other countries around the world. This landmark project combines team expertise with sophisticated manufacturing, engineering and technological capabilities.
Among the mix is one of our own. A FARO Laser Tracker Vanatge, which is used in order to ensure precision during the construction and alignment of the F-35 wings. Misalignments can cause machine downtime and significantly decrease machine performance; however, portable CMM’s such as our FARO Laser trackers and FARO measuring arms can help to mitigate these issues.
If you would like to watch the full video, where you can catch a glimpse of our FARO Laser Tracker Vantage at work on the F-35 production line click here. Or for more details about our other FARO products then visit our website.
SI2G S.r.l. (which stands for Sistemi Informativi Intelligenti p er la Geografia, or “Intelligent information systems for geography”) is a spin-off of Marche Polytechnic University established in 2008 by researchers with many years’ experience in the various disciplines involved in the study of terrain and the environment based on computer science and photogrammetry. The company deals with the acquisition, analysis, processing, archiving and distribution of “environmental data” in digital format, using an integrated systematic multidisciplinary approach. It provides services such as remote scanning of terrain, photogrammetry, topography, cartography and ICT.
Eva Savina Malinverni, Associate Professor of Topography at Marche Polytechnic University, explains how SI2G recently came to invest in a Laser Scanner Focus3D, the innovative laser-scanning tool from FARO that provides extremely precise yet simple 3D scanning
The FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D is actually a very compact device, weighing barely 5 kg and measuring just 24 x 20 x 10 cm. A technician can carry it around wherever and whenever it is needed. What’s more, the WLAN technology makes it possible to start, stop, view or even download scans remotely.
The imperial city of Huế, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, is probably the largest and most famous architectural site in all Vietnam. It was from here that the emperors of the Nguyen dynasty ruled from 1802 to 1945. Its design was based on the imperial palace of Beijing and comprises walls, moats, fortified gates, bridges and decorations that make it a truly atmospheric setting of great artistic and historic value. “Scanning it would have been very complex and time-consuming had we used the normal photogrammetry techniques.” The FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D, on the other hand, enabled the SI2G team to complete the work in just a few hours and to obtain truly astounding results with just 17 scans.
Thanks to the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D, a highly flexible tool that is very quick and easy to use, the technicians at SI2G S.r.l. were able to scan the magnificent East Gate of the imperial Vietnamese city of Huế, capturing every detail of its form and geometry with the utmost precision, despite the difficult weather and operating conditions.
If you want to find out more about the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D or any of our other innovative products, then visit our website.
Traditionally, measurements for planning and documentation are collected using a combination of tools such as measuring tapes, total stations, digital cameras, and laser range finders, however, the popularity of three-dimension planning and documentation tools through the use of 3D laser scanners is constantly increasing.
As a turnkey solution, the 3D laser scanner allows companies to gather measurement data while significantly reducing data collection errors and streamlining the overall workflow.
Capturing high resolution 3D images of complex environments, large-volume 3D laser scanners provide a fast, efficient way to capture millions of data points for use in comprehensive 3D models or detailed reconstructions. Applications vary from forensic and crime scene investigation to surveying, facility management and historic preservation. Laser scanners are an extremely versatile and accurate solution, which allows users to obtain data which would have previously been impossible.
Download the full Large Volume 3D Laser Scanning white paper for how laser scanning works, comparison to other methods, applications and industries, and much more!
The Engineering Testing Show 2014 will bring together professional engineers across a wide range of disciplines and industrial sectors who share a professional interest in the practice of engineering testing.
During this event FARO will present its cutting-edge metrology products such the FARO Edge touchscreen computer for basic measurements, the recently launched FARO Laser ScanArm HD with the lightest laser line probe for non-contact measurements and the FARO Gage with barcode scanner.
FARO UK invites you to the Large Volume Metrology Conference & Exhibition (LVMC), the only European event solely dedicated to portable and large volume 3D measurement technology.
We will be presenting our cutting-edge metrology products: the FARO Edge ScanArm HD, with a built-in touchscreen computer and new Laser Line Probe HD; the FARO Gage with the barcode scanner, the revolutionary FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D, as well as our latest and most accurate FARO Laser Tracker Vantage for large volume measurements.
The LVMC offers you the unique opportunity to see presentations from industry experts, view the latest equipment from the world’s leading suppliers, network and share ideas, talk to suppliers and increase your awareness of the European and worldwide industries.
Date: 19th November – 20th November 2014.
Location: Mercure Manchester Piccadilly
Visit the official exhibition website to register your visit!
The large Frech die casting machines are twelve-metre-long giants but even so, extreme accuracy is required in their manufacture. Conventional measuring tools such as spirit levels and alignment telescopes were occasionally no longer enough. Finally the Swabians opted for a Laser Tracker from FARO. From then on there were no more problems, only solutions.
Oskar Frech GmbH + Co. KG is currently the global leader in hot chamber die casting machines. Materials such as zinc and magnesium are cast using their machines. The components manufactured include metal fittings, laptop and mobile phone housings and toys such as the world-famous Märklin model railways. The Swabians also hold second place in the equally hotly-contested market for cold chamber die casting machines. These machines are used to manufacture whole engine blocks from aluminium, such as the Daimler V8, and structural body parts for Audi. Other typical products include gearbox housings, dashboards and steps for escalators.
Frech machines are true giants. The cold chamber version can be up to 17 metres long and weigh up to 250 tons and create a closing force of 4,100 tons. The machines take around 11 months to build and the individual parts are delivered to the customers by heavy load transporters. The route to the final destination is therefore a kind of one-way street. Returning faulty machines to the factory in Schorndorf is not an option, due to the enormous costs. It would also not be certain whether there would be sufficient space in the production hall.
The individual parts have to be stored in the production shop when they reach the customer, in order to acclimatise before assembly. Only then can you ensure that all the parts will fit together and there is no unnecessary wear. This procedure demonstrates that a high level of accuracy is required for the manufacture of these enormous machines.
3D measurment systems
A FARO Platinum measuring arm has been in use at Frech since 2006. This year, those responsible have ordered another measuring device from FARO, the Laser Tracker Vantage. The determining factor was a customer from the automotive sector, who repeatedly reported problems with his machine. After re-equipping with a new casting mould the machine symmetry was no longer correct, the guide rods could no longer be guided accurately into the socket and were colliding early. Frech technicians examined the machine repeatedly but, due to the complex installation conditions, they could not find a cause for the fault with the usual measuring equipment. When inserting the rods after the change of mould they repeatedly seized. In the end a technician was called in from FARO to discuss the dimensions to be measured and the practical interaction between the mould and geometric tolerances. He was able to detect the fault within a short time using the FARO Laser Tracker. This made a lasting impression on Frech and the FARO Laser Tracker was instantly on the shopping list.
Best of both worlds
FARO measuring systems are meanwhile used not only at Frech and its suppliers but also during the installation of the machines on the customer’s premises. The space around the machine is usually very limited here and there is very little space for measuring or for measuring equipment. Because of this, the combination of measuring arm and Laser Tracker into a new system, known as the TrackArm, is currently under consideration. This would give Frech the best of two worlds, so to speak, as the TrackArm combines the great range and high level of accuracy of the Laser Tracker with the flexibility and reliability of the FaroArm. The great advantage of this is that the measuring arm can be quickly repositioned at will within the measuring range of the laser tracker. In doing so the arm always remains in the same coordinate system, and points can also be reached that do not lie in the visual range of the tracker.
The technicians can virtually measure around corners and in this way can inspect even very large components with no difficulty. Wolfgang Schöben, responsible for quality management at Frech, could no longer do without the Laser Tracker: “We have to find and rectify faults and inaccuracies on site, because we take the machine to the customer by heavy goods transporter. There’s no going back.” For this reason, in Spring 2013 Frech also launched a quality initiative together with its suppliers and defined comprehensive, standard measurement methods in order to remedy recurring quality problems. FARO measuring equipment is the constant element in this, because Frech demands that outsourced parts are also measured using FARO equipment. If that is not possible, the Schorndorf-based company offers measurement as a service.
Now every area of production at Frech is measured quickly and accurately. This actually happens during production. This means corrections can be made before it is too late and costly reworking would be necessary. “This is crucial because any deviations in a component can affect the whole machine,” stresses Schöben. “Subsequent components may then have to be adapted to the deviations.” This jigsaw puzzle is costly and can seriously affect the interaction between components.
In the past, Frech measured and adjusted the components using conventional measuring equipment such as spirit levels, micrometers, external micrometers or alignment telescopes. “With FARO measuring equipment we save many man hours,” states Schöben. “In addition, customers in the automotive industry demand detailed inspection reports. With FARO systems we can produce these in an instant.”
OSKAR FRECH GMBH + CO. KG
Passion has played a crucial role from the outset at Oskar Frech GmbH + Co. KG. This is the only reason why the Swabian tool-making company based in Schorndorf-Weiler near Stuttgart has become a leading global supplier of die casting technologies, with 700 employees. The Frech range leaves no customer requirement unfulfilled. For suppliers of zinc, magnesium or aluminium die casting, Frech have customised solutions for the production of the smallest die cast parts, right up to engine blocks and body parts.