Truepoint Laser Scanning

3D Laser Scanning Refineries

3D Laser Scanning is a non-contact measurement tool that is extremely helpful in capturing the as-is conditions of an existing space in order to create as-built drawings or 3D models. Laser scanning can be used to capture everything from topography to architectural features of the interior and exteriors of buildings to complex spaces such as mechanical rooms to refineries.  The more complex the space is, the more benefit the client will get out of laser scanning. 

Refineries are a great example of complex space due to the vast size of the facilities, the congestion of piping and mechanical equipment compacted into a tight area, as well as the complexity of where things run and how they interact with other parts of the facility.  In addition, there are many other elements that add to the complexity of creating as-builts of these facilities, such as environment – things like: weather, noise, steam, vibration, heights, people or even day-to-day operation activities. Trying to create as-builts of these facilities using traditional field methods can be overwhelming, time-consuming, costly, inaccurate and most importantly – dangerous.  As I mentioned previously, since laser scanning is a non-contact measurement device, a technician such as myself can set up safely on the ground or a catwalk to capture information about the site without the risk of falling or getting too close to hazards. Traditional methods would require a crew to potentially expose themselves to unsafe positions such as heights or within an unsafe range to certain hazards. And while we are on the subject of safety, all of TruePoint’s scan technicians have a minimum of OSHA-10 training to ensure they understand safe practices while on-site and how to minimize potential dangers associated with these types of facilities. 

Not only is laser scanning safer, but it can be faster, more complete and more accurate than these traditional methods. Using traditional methods to “as-built” a refinery could take a team of people months to gather enough information to pull together a basic model of the site. With laser scanning this could take a 1 or 2 man crew days instead.  And since the scanner will capture up to 1,000,000 measurements per second, the information will be more complete, potentially eliminating or at least minimizing site re-visits due to missed measurements. On a secured site, a revisit for one or two extra measurements could easily mean a half of day or more on-site plus travel time to and from the site. Also, most laser scanners have an accuracy of 2-4mm for any one individual point. Maintaining that accuracy level with a tape measure throughout a refinery would be difficult or even next to impossible. 

In summary, laser scanning is:

  • Safer than traditional methods (may also eliminate the need/cost for lifts, safety harnesses, etc.)
  • Faster – don’t need to send several people out for several days.
  • Reduce/eliminate travel costs associated with field trips to gather initial information or additional details that were missed originally.
  • Eliminate time out of the office when you could be doing other things while the scanning is being done.
  • Many times the client’s travel costs, rental of expensive man lifts, or even their loss of productivity in the office while they are in the field can more than offset the cost of hiring scanning. 
  • When the client receives the deliverables they are ready to begin their work immediately versus having to go back to the office after taking field measurements and still needing to create their model.

One bit of advice – the sooner that laser scanning is used in any construction or renovation project, the more value the client will typically receive from it.  First, the data or deliverables can be sent out with the Request for Proposal allowing bidders to have more information about the project. This will lead to less unknowns and more accurate proposals. Second, this will also minimize or eliminate change orders associated with these unknowns or not having accurate enough information for clash detection or pre-fabrication of expensive parts and also eliminating schedule delays due to these field changes. 

So, not only is laser scanning: safer, faster and more accurate, but all of this leads to it be a cost-effective method for creating as-builts of a facility.

Site Last Updated June 26, 2017
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*DISCLAIMER: 3D Laser scanning is a measurement tool to assist in capturing as-built conditions of existing spaces and should be used in conjunction with other sound industry practices for verifying these conditions, including but not limited to: site visits, manual field measurements and verifications of scan data, to ensure its accuracy prior to design and engineering. Because this data can be used for various applications and disciplines outside the scope of the original field scanning and beyond our control, we cannot guarantee that the data is accurate for these uses.
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