Published: September 9, 2019

Enhancing Communication and Gaining Insight Using 3D Reality Capture

As many project managers and engineers know, traditional 2D drawings can sometimes create more problems than they solve. Balancing maintenance with plant operation requires project plans that minimize downtime and delays. The industry’s traditional methods, however, produce less-than-stellar results.  

Mainly, 2D drawings for industrial maintenance or retrofit projects often lead to missing changes and updates that have occurred during the project. 

Additionally, many manual measurements and surveys are inaccurate, which requires new manual measurements on-site to correct erroneous data and fill in missing information.

How can we correct these issues?

 

3D scans and models are the solution to comprehensive project planning, data collection, and communication between stakeholders.

A comprehensive 3D scan creates a “digital twin” of the space, allowing any measurement to be made immediately within the digital environment from a tablet or computer. 3D models of new equipment or completed construction have some utility, but they lack the key environmental features that complicate the process of construction or installation for planning or operations analysis. 

By combining reality capture with 3D modeling and simulation, your team can now analyze and plan a project in detail. The best part? You are also reducing risk and exposing unexpected complications that could arise in the project. 

These models and scans are easy to understand and can be used from almost any device. Your team is able to provide a detailed copy of the project model to contractors, vendors, installers, and any other stakeholders involved.

 

Measure, Simulate and Collaborate with Reality Capture

Staying within budget requirements for retrofit and maintenance projects is heavily dependent on minimizing contingency expenses, whether they are due to unexpected issues or downtime. 

The technology behind 3D scanning has made it an accessible and cost-effective tool to accomplish your goals, whether they be financial, time-related or otherwise. Reality capture gives us the most accurate as-built imaginable, allowing engineers to generate a fully realized asset that can be used before, during and after the execution of a major project. 

Harnessing the power of a 3D digital twin ensures that retrofit planning or operations analysis projects have a 3D environment in which to measure. Now, your team can use real-world dimensions to virtually make new measurements in the digital environment. No more site visits and wasted manual time in the field.

In addition to planning projects, 3D simulation is critical for designing equipment operations. This tool allows you to avoid unexpected risk (and even predict risk) of injury or component failure by simulating equipment operations superimposed in a 3D representation of the actual environment. 

How can you incorporate 3D scanning into your processes and projects? Here are several key elements for seamlessly implementing this technology into your work:

 

3 Tips for Adding 3D Scanning to a Workflow

  1. Don’t just scan. Make sure modeling is included in your projects. 3D modeling ensures that the scanned and captured data is able to be used for the project and includes all project assets.
  2. Reality capture isn’t just for engineers. Scans and models are both incredibly effective communication tools for everything from major concepts to small details. 
  3. Scan early and often. Before planning a project, a preliminary scan can be an extremely valuable tool. As the project progresses, scanning regularly throughout the project for validation saves time and money.

 

Now, with 3D scanning and modeling, your project details will be quickly understood by anyone from the plant floor to the boardroom. 

Reality capture goes beyond design or planning in enhancing communication and collaboration. Critical details can be reviewed before downtime sets in. Your vendors and subcontractors can see the big picture. Teams can get complete buy-in from all stakeholders throughout the life of the project. New procedures and processes can be easily illustrated and quickly understood. Collaboration with fabricators and contractors becomes simplified. More thorough and clear communication means less rework and less costly downtime. 

The magic of 3D reality capture is its ability to optimize design, planning and collaboration, all while reducing risk and enhancing communication. Taking advantage of this technology today will produce incredible results for your projects tomorrow.