3D Laser Scanning: How Does It Benefit Engineering Firms?

When traditional surveying methods are too costly, inaccurate, and time consuming, 3D laser surveying (also known as laser scanning) can help. In addition to gathering data faster and more accurately than traditional surveying methods, scanning also reduces surveying cost by reducing surveying time. Surveying holds several benefits for several industries. In this article, we look at five ways 3D laser scanning benefits engineering firms.

1. Shared information between architects and construction companies

Scan results can be expressed in computerized data models that make it easy for architects, engineers, and construction companies to compare their respective plans. When architectural and/or construction plans aren’t in sync with engineering plans, the problems can be corrected by editing the data models. Without this convenience, problems with building plans might be realized during the building phase, leading to expensive rework.

2. Building and Site Modeling

Before a building project begins, the building and site are modeled in relation to their surrounding environment. Scanning a building project makes this easy by providing editable data models and rotating views of the scan subject.

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3. Clash control for piping

Engineering piping systems that don’t clash with other building elements can be tedious. Also tedious is ensuring pipes don’t clash with each other. With its editable data models and rotating views of scan information, scanning allows engineers to conduct clash control for piping without engaging in trial and error.

4. 3D laser surveying for reverse engineering

Reverse engineering takes a finished product and reconstructs its design information in a format from which new parts/molds can be made. Laser surveying assists in the reverse engineering process in two basic ways:

• By providing precise spatial information.

• By allowing the information to be expressed in the form of a CAD model, which can be directly manufactured from.

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Some common reverse engineering projects that benefit from scanners are: designing a new part to fit a legacy part, modeling a performance surface, and redesigning a part to fix a manufacturing defect.

5. Quality inspections and troubleshooting

Scanners allow engineers to scan parts for design and manufacturing defects. If defects are found, they can be resolved by changing the data of a part’s solid CAD model. Three inspection and troubleshooting applications that scanners support are:

• Color map deviation, which shows warping.

• Cross-sectional analysis, which can identify an improper thickness.

• Geometric dimension and tolerancing, which tracks specific measurements across multiple parts.

Unlike traditional inspection and trouble shooting methods, the methods made possible by laser surveying deliver superior accuracy in a timely fashion, helping projects to stay on schedule and under budget.


by Jimmy Drago