Published in collaboration with NCMS
Digital Manufacturing Report

News & information about the fast-moving world
of digital manufacturing, modeling & simulation

Language Flags

Castle Need Updating? Try 3D Long Range Scanning


It’s the 13th century.  You have to add more wings to your castle to accommodate the manufacture of swords, halberds, pikes and other weapons (the times were a little dicey).  You summon your royal master builder and his team and they begin measuring using a long rope with knots placed every meter, calipers, wooden right angles, long wooden poles, and other sundry devices.  You’re in a hurry.  But they say measuring will take months before construction can begin.

Fast-forward eight centuries.  You own a bunch of manufacturing facilities that badly need a new material-conveying system.  You don’t have months, you have weeks. Ropes with knots are not going to do the job.  And neither will today’s surveying techniques – a slow, labor-intensive process.

Luckily the 21st century comes complete with long range scanning technology.

This is a ground-based technique that uses laser technology to collect high-density, 3D geospatial data from complex environments such as castles, factories, landscapes, and any other big structure and locations.  It’s fast and it’s flexible.

To survey the manufacturing facilities that needed the new conveying system, the scanning was provided by GKS Services.  The company used its 3D laser scanning technology – in this case a FARO Focus 3D, which produces highly, detailed three-dimensional images of the target environment in only minutes.

The client, a southeastern U.S. company that provides a variety of design and building services for large commercial, industrial and institutional projects, was in a hurry.  The company had only three weeks to install the conveying systems in large existing structures in nine widely separated sites.  The modifications would equip the structures with new capabilities that had to work without interfering with existing systems. 

It was a formidable project: the buildings and systems involved were huge; the distance between locations great; and the time constraints challenging.

GKS engineers, toting the small, light FARO Focus device quickly began scanning existing structures and conveyer systems.  Capturing detailed geographic information as well as the structures was essential to make sure that interference with the new installs would not occur.

For each of the scanning locations, the GKS engineers chose the optimal four places to completely gather the requisite 3D information to create a 3D model.  The process, including set up and scanning, took about a half day at each location.  Traditional surveyors would have needed two days at each site to produce a 2D footprint of the general dimensions of the structures involved.

The long-range laser scanning data is used to view the target areas in a virtual world.  The scanner measures 360 degrees by 320 degrees to a range of 120 meters in any one setup.  Accuracy is plus or minus 2mm to a distance of 25 meters away.  Scans can be taken anywhere at any time – in broad daylight, the dark of night, inside and out of doors. The raw output of long-range scanning is “point-cloud” data, which GKS uses as a reference to create a fully parametric file in almost any native format.  Scan data can be rendered in color – each measured XYZ coordinate is assigned an RGB color value.

The results of the GKS scan provided the contracting company with the detailed geospatial information required to generate a CAD model for comparison and/or reconstruction of each site. 

Each of the large onsite scans took about a half day with some site    completed in as little as three hours.  The scan data was processed and refined using software from Geomagic, which provides tools focused on 3D software and technology for design and engineering.  This eliminated extraneous data from the surrounds and focused on the specific areas that would be impacted by the new construction.  GKS delivered AutoCAD files to the company.  

A project of this size typically involves a turnaround time from scanning to deliverable files of one to two weeks, a timesavings of 60 percent when compared to the data gathering and processing time of traditional methods.  However, this was a rush job.  Full turnaround time for some of the sites was accomplished in as little as three or four days, saving up to 75 percent in data gathering and processing time.

Not only was the use of long range scanning technology able to solve the time-crunch problem (conventional survey methods could have taken weeks at each site), but also the resulting traditional models would have been in 2D with much less structural information and detail.  Plus, human error inevitably would make those measurements less accurate.

So, if your castle or your factory needs a retrofit, you might do well to call a long-range laser scanning company.  But you may have other requirements for this technology. It can be used for high-definition surveying in a variety of locations including construction sites, bridges, roadways and buildings.  It also works well in difficult situations where manual measurements are either impossible or hard to obtains to say the least – think of surveying a huge oil rig or poorly lit mines or tunnels. 

Marine ships and hull modeling is another useful application of the technology, as is meeting the need for fast and inexpensive drawings of power plants and petrochemical facilities.  In fact, one company providing 3D laser scanning services, Creaform, digitized the world’s longest airplane, a Jumbo 747-8, in just 18 hours.  Another happy FARO user is 3D Engineering Solutions , which provide 3D data collection services in the aerospace, nuclear, automotive and industrial markets.

And when you’re bidding your next job, if anyone shows up with a knotted rope and some calipers, show them the door. Despite a certain retro charm, that solution is so 13th century.

 

 

RSS Feeds

Subscribe to All Content


Feature Articles

Titan Puts a New Spin on GE’s Wind Turbine Research

Unlike traditional energy sources, wind is a trouble to tame, which has led GE to turn to advanced simulations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to put the technology on track to cover 12 percent of the world's energy production.
Read more...

Lighting a Fire Under Combustion Simulation

Combustion simulation might seem like the ultimate in esoteric technologies, but auto companies, aircraft firms and fuel designers need increasingly sophisticated software to serve the needs of 21st century engine designs. HPCwire recently got the opportunity to take a look at Reaction Design, one of the premier makers of combustion simulation software, and talk with its CEO, Bernie Rosenthal.
Read more...

D-Wave Sells First Quantum Computer

On Wednesday, D-Wave Systems made history by announcing the sale of the world's first commercial quantum computer. The buyer was Lockheed Martin Corporation, who will use the machine to help solve some of their "most challenging computation problems." D-Wave co-founder and CTO Geordie Rose talks about the new system and the underlying technology.
Read more...

Short Takes

Local Motors and ORNL Partner for Automotive Manufacturing

Jan 24, 2014 | Local Motors, a vehicle innovator, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have announced a new partnership that they hope will bring change to the automotive industry.
Read more...

Robots Showcase Skills at DRC

Jan 22, 2014 | A month ago, the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials (DRC) commenced. The main goal of the event was to aid in the development of robots that will someday respond to natural or even man-made disasters. At this year’s DRC, prototype robots from 16 teams were put through a series of trials in which they were to showcase their skills.
Read more...

Advanced Modeling Benefits Wind Farms

May 25, 2011 | Advanced computing resources optimize the site selection of wind farms.
Read more...

Not Your Parents' CFD

Oct 13, 2010 | Outdated beliefs stand in the way of greater CFD adoption.
Read more...

Manufacturers Turn to HPC to Cut Testing Costs

Oct 06, 2010 | Supercomputing saves money by reducing the need for physical testing.
Read more...

Sponsored Whitepapers

Technical Computing for a New Era

07/30/2013 | IBM | This white paper examines various means of adapting technical computing tools to accelerate product and services innovation across a range of commercial industries such as manufacturing, financial services, energy, healthcare, entertainment and retail. No longer is technically advanced computing limited to the confines of big government labs and academic centers. Today it is available to a wide range of organizations seeking a competitive edge.

The UberCloud HPC Experiment: Compendium of Case Studies

06/25/2013 | Intel | The UberCloud HPC Experiment has achieved the volunteer participation of 500 organizations and individuals from 48 countries with the aim of exploring the end-to-end process employed by digital manufacturing engineers to access and use remote computing resources in HPC centers and in the cloud. This Compendium of 25 case studies is an invaluable resource for engineers, managers and executives who believe in the strategic importance of applying advanced technologies to help drive their organization’s productivity to perceptible new levels.

Conferences and Events

Featured Events



Copyright © 2011-2014 Tabor Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Digital Manufacturing Report is a registered trademark of Tabor Communications, Inc. Use of this site is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Tabor Communications Inc. is prohibited.
Powered by Xtenit.