3D Reality Capture Provides Insight and Enhances Communication

3D digital twins of industrial projects mitigate risk in retrofit and maintenance projects by eliminating measurement errors and unknown dimensional information.

When planning an industrial maintenance or retrofit project, traditional 2D as builts are notorious for missing the changes and updates that have occurred over time. Compounding on top of missing information, manual measurements and surveys sometimes are inaccurate, requiring new manual measurements on-site to correct erroneous data and fill in information missing from the as built entirely. Balancing maintenance with the need to keep the plant operating requires project plans to minimize plant downtime and project delays. Industrial and utility-scale maintenance and retrofit projects also have numerous stakeholders across all levels of expertise and technical skill. 3D digital project scans and models are the solution to comprehensive project planning, data collection, and communication between these stakeholders.

A comprehensive 3D scan creates a digital twin of the work area, allowing any measurement to be made immediately within the digital environment, from a tablet or at your desk. 3D models of new equipment or completed construction have some utility but lack the key environmental features that complicate the process of construction or installation for planning or operations analysis. Combining 3D reality capture with 3D modeling and simulation allows for analysis or planning of a project in detail, reducing risk and exposing unexpected complications. 3D models and scans are easy to understand and can be used from almost any device, giving a detailed, comprehensive copy of the project model to contractors, vendors, installers, and any other stakeholders.

Measure, Simulate and Collaborate with Reality Capture

Meeting the budget requirements of your retrofit & maintenance projects is a critical requirement that is centered in minimizing contingency expense due to unexpected issues or downtime. 3D scanning has become a readily available and cost-effective project tool to accomplish this goal. Reality Capture using 3D scanning and modeling provides the most accurate three-dimensional as-built picture possible, generating a comprehensive asset that can be used before, during and after the execution of a major project. Having access to a 3D digital twin positions your team for success by ensuring retrofit planning or operations analysis projects have a 3D environment with real-world dimensions where new measurements can be made virtually. The 3D environment ensures unmatched accuracy in planning while delivering the ability to use simulation and modeling to enhance the project and reduce risk.

Besides planning projects, 3D simulation is an important tool in designing equipment operations. Simulation of your equipment operations, superimposed in a 3D representation of the actual environment, can expose unexpected risk of injury or component failure. 3D scanning allows modeling and simulation of both the mechanical operation of equipment and operator process, all within that 3D environment, optimizing operations and predicting risk. One example of how simulation and collaboration can reduce safety risks is the power plant team who identified small changes in the height of inspection hatches and the use of counterweights that significantly reduced the chances of injury-causing accidents and repetitive motion injuries.

3 Tips to add 3D Scanning to a Workflow

  1. Make sure scanning services come with modeling. - 3D modeling services ensure the scanned snapshot of reality is ready to use for the project and includes project assets.
  2. 3D Reality Capture is for everyone! - 3D environments aren’t just for engineers or project planning. Scans and models are an incredibly effective communication tool for both major concepts and small details that are easy for anyone, from a contractor to investor, to understand.
  3. Scan early and often! - A scan before planning a project can be your most valuable asset. Scanning during the project for validation saves time and money.

3D Reality Capture should be part of your workflow—before, during and at the culmination of projects to reduce cost and provide insight.

With 3D reality capture, the project details can be investigated in detail and quickly understood by anyone from the plant floor to the boardroom. 3D Modeling and Simulation serve an important role beyond design or planning in enhancing communication and collaboration. Key tasks can be reviewed before downtime begins, vendors can get the full picture, teams can get full buy-in from all stakeholders, and new procedures and processes can be illustrated. Collaboration with vendors, fabricators and contractors is simplified and better communication means less rework and costly downtime. 3D reality capture mitigates risks in design, planning and collaboration, reducing risk, and enhancing communication.

Cale Collier is the VP of Scan and Model Services at Acensium, LLC, an industry-focused engineering and intellectual services provider.

More in Maintenance