Dr Bernd- Dietmar Becker, chief technology strategist and head of FARO Labs recently met with GIM Internationals Wim van Wegen where they discussed what to expect from laser scanning and its role as key reality capturing technology in the years ahead.
FARO are keen to follow the latest technological advances and we want to ensure that we can adapt quickly to change, providing 3D measurement solutions to our customers and our industries.
To discover the full interview click here.
We are delighted to inform you that FARO has won the award for the 3D scanner company of the year !
“Given the standard of our fellow nominees competing for the prestigious 3D scanner company of the year award, we were delighted with our success,” enthused Dave Southam, Regional Manager Europe North at FARO Technologies. “As FARO scanners are particularly suited to the demands of the 3D printing industry our sales in this exciting global sector continue to grow at a phenomenal rate.
As part of its services to clients especially those in the gas and electricity sector, ARGON offers measuring solutions to determine when maintenance of its devices is necessary. Careful decisions regarding maintenance have to be as cost effective as possible.
Before going over to the FARO Edge ScanArm and FARO Laser Tracker, ARGON saw that the previous hardware that was offered didn´t meet ARGON´s requirements according to Stijn De Leener, Finance, HR and Administration at ARGON: “The previous devices were too difficult to handle for our engineers and especially for the clients. In addition, the point cloud was too small for our line of work and the accuracy needed improvement since the more accurate you can be, the better informed your decisions can be. Because of this we made the switch to the FARO Edge ScanArm and this in combination with the FARO Laser Line Probe has brought spectacular results.”
3D CORROSION SCANNING WITH THE FARO EDGE SCANARM
As part of its pipeline integrity management, a main independent operator of both the natural gas transmission and storage infrastructure in Belgium monitors corrosion on its gas transport pipelines with the help of ARGON and the FARO ScanArm. 3D scanning increases the accuracy of the corrosion measurements, leading to better informed decisions and lower repair costs. Quantification of this corrosion is not easy since pipes are curved and corroded spots have complex shapes. Traditional measurement methods like calipers are often unusable and very conservative, giving less accurate values of the corrosion state. Using the FARO ScanArm, ARGON is able to make a 3D copy of a corroded area.
FARO is expanding the possibilities of 3D laser scanning with a range of innovations. There is a clear trend towards making point clouds the focus of documentation applications.
Scanning on-site and immediately having a registered point cloud available on a mobile device – this has been a long-time dream of 3D laser scanning experts. Instead, one hour’s work in the field always meant several hours of office work to turn the scan data into usable data products. FARO Europe GmbH is now offering the possibility of registration in the field. Thanks to the new FARO® Scan Localizer, it is now possible to register scans on-site and in real time and thus generate a point cloud using equipment in the field. This add-on product is integrated into the Laser Scanner Focus3D tripod. It constantly performs 2D scans while also surveying the measuring environment within a horizontal profile covering approximately 180 degrees. It has a measuring range of up to 20 metres. The end result is a type of reference profile, which can be used to register the relevant scans from different locations within a single point cloud. This is all thanks to the cloud-to-cloud registration process, which has been a feature in SCENE for around two years. “It means that there is no longer any need for reference registration marks for overlapping areas in interior spaces,” says Oliver Bürkler, Director of Product Management at FARO. The intention is primarily to boost efficiency for projects with a high number of individual images. “We assume that it will generate significant cost advantages where there are 15 or more scans. For example, the device is absolutely indispensable when measuring interior spaces, where you often take more than a hundred scans,” Bürkler adds. According to the company, the FARO Scan Localizer is available as an add-on to the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D (2015 model or later) and costs around 15,000 euros.
The FARO Scan Localizer is affixed to the tripod. It carries out a horizontal 180-degree measurement that enables real-time positioning in interior spaces.
FARO has launched a number of innovations onto the market to further improve 3D laser scanning. This includes integrating high-dynamic-range (HDR) photography into the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D. This new option lets you increase the resolution for images with significant differences in brightness. The HDR camera in the Focus3D X 130 HDR and 330 HDR models deliver 170 megapixels and offer a contrast range of up to 4 billion-to-1, which means that the respective bright areas can be optimally rendered for the human eye (i.e. for the screen). Bürkler describes a practical example: “Customers working in dark spaces, e.g. pipeline construction, can decipher even small labels, which are usually very light, in the point cloud”.
Closer to reality
A first glance at the new Version 6 of FARO’s point cloud software SCENE makes it very clear that it represents a new master release. The entire user interface has been redesigned and is now heavily based on typical workflows. Making the software easy and efficient to use was key. The work steps within the workflows are divided into clear, individual steps and are arranged in a logical sequence. All of the individual functions available in the previous version are now listed as processing options for the relevant processing steps in projects. The aim is to help users, especially those without extensive prior experience to get to grips with the system easier and faster. “When we developed the workflow-based tools, we defined typical use cases and automated them completely,” says Bürkler. In the event that manual intervention is needed, the software provides appropriate support and guidance. “This keeps the training required to an absolute minimum, which means that the learning time for new users is extremely short,” the product manager said. If anyone prefers the old interface for example, for dealing with complex, engineering-related technical issues they can easily switch back to the previous GUI.
Users will also find new rendering technology in SCENE 6 interesting. It delivers an even better level of visualisation for solid surfaces and eliminates the need for further data processing in visualisation applications.
“Solid surfaces now look completely realistic,” explains Bürkler. Conventional point cloud visuals have been transformed into fully immersive virtual reality environment. For example several new features ensure that the point cloud density for walls is interpolated so that the original, roughly rendered (“holey”) point clouds are automatically converted into closed surfaces. Colours are also homogenised in this way so that solid bodies or textures become significantly more realistic. This means that solid surfaces are not visualised using individual measuring points but rather as realistic, closed objects.
New rendering features in the latest Version 6 of SCENE come in the form of closed surfaces: measuring points are turned into solid bodies to optimise the visualisation.
Ever more in the cloud
FARO insists that the benefits of this type of hyper-realistic point cloud are not just reserved for experts, thanks to the new version of its web hosting service SCENE WebShare Cloud. Being an online service it delivers significantly better performance, as well as being simpler and more user-friendly. All team members can now access documentation data quickly and easily without needing any special software or hardware. Each file is coded individually using the best encryption method available today (AEC 256), which guarantees the highest levels of IT security. In recent years, many customers have been sceptical about cloud applications for security reasons or have rejected them out of hand due to the massive volumes of data involved and the lack of fluid rendering. Nevertheless FARO confirmed that more and more customers are now using the cloud.
Consequently point clouds can be used for documentation-related tasks that were previously the reserve of CAD software. The advantage given that point clouds map complex local conditions, customers can dive into an existing environment ‘virtually’ for a more direct understanding of conditions on the ground. These features are used for example, by key FARO customers such as carmaker Volvo which documents all of its production facilities around the world using FARO scanners and uses these as the basis for further planning or new buildings. The company aims to have point clouds serve as the basis for all documentation applications leaving CAD for the virtual planning level only. This approach represents a paradigm shift since common practice today is still to translate point clouds into CAD models. A point cloud can now be enhanced with CAD functions to create a comprehensive 3D documentation IT landscape. “This will be the basis for future FARO developments,” predicts Oliver Bürkler.
Now it’s official: paintings and pieces of art that have been scanned with the FARO Focus3D suffer no damage through heat. This has been confirmed by a report by Seibersdorf Labor GmbH.
The recordings of pieces of art or interiors of museums is quick and reliable with laser scanners – and can even be done during visiting hours thanks to the safety of scanners for eyes. Nevertheless, the question of whether pieces of art suffer damage as a result of scanning arises time and again. Reason enough for FARO to have this danger investigated in a report.
Oil paintings are seen as particularly sensitive. Paint and oil have low thermal conductivity and heat capacity values. The high-energy laser could cause an increase in the temperature on the surface and damage the substance of the painting considerably. The report does away with these fears.
For a worst case scenario, a FARO Focus3D X was set up at a distance of one metre from an oil painting – without any protective glass between the piece and the scanner. If a scan is conducted in which the scanner moves horizontally – as is customary in practice – there is a temperature increase on the surface of the oil painting of less than 1.3 degrees Celsius. Even if the head of the scanner doesn’t move and the painting is thus scanned with the laser beams for several minutes, the maximum temperature increase is under 2 degrees Celsius.
To test restorative techniques for example, it is normal to place items with oil paints in an oven for several days at over 60 degrees Celsius and so accelerate an aging process. Against this backdrop, it quickly becomes clear that a short-term temperature increase of less than 2 degrees Celsius due to the FARO Focus3D will cause no damage. This has now been confirmed in the report by Seibersdorf Labor GmbH. It also permits the conclusion that photochemical effects are very unlikely at a wavelength of 1,550 nm – good news for the use of the FARO family of laser scanners in the area of cultural assets.
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 use of laser scanning in the accident reconstruction and law enforcement communities is constantly gaining more and more respect. With hardware and software having improved greatly over the past few years, capturing great detail in a quick and simple manner has been made extremely easy.
Here are 10, of many, reasons why utilizing laser scanners for forensic applications is the right choice.
1. Ease of use: The operation of a laser scanner has become much easier with the inclusion of a simpler interface, making operating the scanner less like a complicated piece of survey equipment.
FARO are excited to reveal the brand new FARO Scene Webshare Cloud 1.6!
SCENE Webshare Cloud is a cloud-based hosting solution from FARO for easy and secure sharing of scan data worldwide via the internet.
With SCENE Webshare Cloud, FARO offers a comprehensive service to provide users with simple access to 3D documentation and neither technical training nor specialist skills in 3D laser scanning are necessary to work with the intuitive user interface!
Digital Data, such as 3D documentation, can be made available to many different project partners as the SCENE Webshare Cloud solution offers a highly secure hosting service with various packages at different prices.
But what’s new with SCENE Webshare Cloud 1.6?
New features include easier sharing of bookmarks with co-workers, the ability to upload your own custom company logo when sharing with project partners or customers, a new uploader role which has been split from the project manager role to enable some users to upload but not administrate, a panorama view compass, a uniform toolbar, optimisation for small screens e.g. mobiles or tablets, and much more!
Want to see these new features and more? Try our 30day FREE Trial now!
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!
FARO UK will be taking part in the 2014 PETEX Conference & Exhibition in London. PETEX, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is the largest subsurface-focused E&P conference and exhibition in the UK and attracts thousands of delegates from across the world.
We will be showcasing our revolutionary, high speed FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D for 3D measurement and 3D image documentation, together with the accompanying SCENE software for processing and managing scanned data easily and efficiently.
Date: 18th-20th November 2014
Location: ExCel London
For more information visit the official event website or email firstname.lastname@example.org