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Complex Project Planning with Mobile Lidar

image of process plant complex project planning

Intertek is a “quality assurance provider to industries worldwide,” explains business development rep Glen Kearns. In that role, the company supplies a range of services including complex project planning, comprehensive QA, testing, inspection, and even certification. And they work with leading companies in dozens of industries, from chemicals to construction, government to aerospace, healthcare, and manufacturing.

From a NavVis blog.

In his role at Intertek, Kearns specializes in 3D laser scanning services for oil and gas. One day, he received a call from a regular contact at a tier-one company. The company was looking for a new way to capture 3D data to create a digital plant of the as-built conditions in their expansive and complex process facilities.

Drilling down 3D data capture

This contact supports a group that performs what they call “pre-feed work,” which involves running alternatives analysis when the company adds equipment to existing facilities. Their jobs rely on comprehensive 3D data, which they use to test different equipment in the space, identify tie-in points, and perform in-depth route planning to help them with plant equipment relocation when the time comes.

This 3D data can be very challenging to capture.

Process facilities are remarkably complex. The contact explains, “Depending on the site, a refinery might cover 400 acres. And it will have hundreds and hundreds – if not thousands – of miles of dense piping cable, cable trays, structural steel, and major pieces of equipment. It’s dense and complex.”

The other issue is cost. “Since my team is doing preparatory work,” they say, “we have much smaller budgets than the teams that do detailed design and construction. So we need these scans quickly, we need them to be high quality, and need them done cheaply.”

Moving on from traditional laser scanners

For a long time, this pre-feed team had hired service providers to perform terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) because “that was what was available at the time.” TLS was adequate for the task because it produced a dense, crisp 3D data set with high accuracy.

Kearns knows from experience that the complexity of these process facilities can make TLS capture very slow. “You have to plan out your scan, then set it up on a tripod, then capture, then do it over and over again,” he says. “You have to capture from a bunch of different angles” to ensure you get a good data set.

For the complete article on complex project planning CLICK HERE.

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