INTRODUCTION TO 3D LASER SCANNING & MODELING SERVICES
3D laser scanning is a non-destructive technology that is used to scan physical objects using a laser scanner and creating a digital representation or a three-dimensional model of the object from the collected data. 3D laser scanners emit laser rays, due to which the actual data of the object and the surrounding environment, such as shape, size and color, is captured. The data collected by the laser scanner is in the form of points. A cluster of such points, known as point cloud, is then converted into an as-built model of the object.
Invention of such technology is undoubtedly a boon to the construction industry. Some countries are well-known for adoption of latest technologies. USA was one of the top countries to adopt the laser scanning technology just after it was made commercially available. However, 3D scanning might still sound new to many of us, BIM organizations like TejjyInc.,one of the top BIM companies in USA, have already embraced the technology couple of years before.
HISTORY OF LASER SCANNING
It was firstly invented in the year 1960. It used lights, cameras and projectors to gather information of the objects. Due to equipment limitations, scanning objects accurately often required a significant amount of time and effort. After 1985, they were replaced by scanners that could capture a given surface using white light, lasers, and shadowing. Later in the decade of 90s, the technology and the equipment got more advanced and was commercially available during late 90s.
3D SCANNING & CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY
In late 90s, the construction industry started adopting the technology for scanning various types of civil structures. In the early days, reality capture was not much popular among the construction professionals due to reasons like high costs. But with the passage of time, the scanners turned out to be more efficient, more accurate and cost-effective. Due to these reasons, the use of point cloud scanning technology in the construction industry showed a significant growth.
Large construction firms have been using this technology for years in areas ranging from building design & renovations to infrastructure projects and historical preservation. The technology is even used for surveying purpose in construction.It became popular due to its ability to capture the actual data of the building as well the surrounding environment for creation of 3D model. It also helps in minimizing labor, saving time and reducing the project risk.
Since last few years, it has been observed that scan-to-BIM technology is used quite often on various types of construction projects. The cost of it is approximately 10 to 15 % higher than the traditional surveying methods. But on the other hand, it consumes almost 50 % lesser time than the conventional surveying techniques. Scan-to-BIM technology benefits construction projects with highly accurate and precise results which may not be possible with traditional surveying techniques. It scans the structures as well as the surroundings giving an actual data of the condition of structures as well as the surroundings.
APPLICATIONS OF REALITY CAPTURE IN CONSTRUCTION
It is extensively used in the construction industry for various purposes such as: –
Many organizations and professionals of construction industry have started using this particular technology for the purpose of surveying as it has many benefits over the conventional surveying techniques. It reduces efforts, consumes lesser time and offers results with great accuracy, although the initial costing is relatively higher.
Renovation and Maintenance
3D building scan captures detailed and actual information of the scanned portion of the structure, which helps to analyze the present condition of the structure for repairs, maintenance and renovation. It can locate the defects as well as the severity of defects in a model created from the point cloud data of the structure.
BIM laser scanning allows you to detect the clashes between two or more components in a structure. The 3D models prepared using the scanned data or the point cloud data are integrated to form a single complete model of the structure. There are few locations in the model where two or more components from different disciplines meet and form clashes. For example, an electrical duct going through an HVAC duct. So, it helps to detect such clashes that can be solved before execution. It helps in saving time and cost.
Designing and Construction
Point cloud modeling is used for preparing designs for construction of structures like various types of buildings, roads, railways, and other civil structures. A feasible and clash-free design can be prepared using the point cloud data.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF POINT CLOUD SCANNING IN CONSTRUCTION
- Optimization of time and cost of the project.
- It gives a detailed and error-free digital twin of the structure.
- Minimizes the requirements of manual labor on construction site.
- Better collaboration and coordination between different disciplines, such as structural, architectural, MEPF and HVAC.
- It gives a comprehensive analysis of the structure.
- It offers highly accurate data of the scanned object which can be helpful for enhancement of quality of construction.
- The process itself is costly than traditional surveying.
- Bad weather conditions may sometimes act as an obstacle for scanning process.
- It requires a trained person to operate the laser scanner.
- The equipment requires timely maintenance.
3D scanning is unquestionably the future of technology in the Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC) industry. It has gained a wide exposure due to the continuous advancements and improvements in the technology through constant research. The capability of laser scanning allows greater flexibility in conceptualizing prototypes. As a digital tool, it gives a space to alter the structure and its process, thus widening the possibilities for innovative solutions that are beyond imagination.