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Power Plant Renovation Supported with Laser Scanning

image of Power Plant Challenges
Power Plant Challenges

Retrofitting and renovations are projects that often require a high level of detail for pre-design documentation. When it comes to a power plant, add to the mix multiple heights of pipes, ducts, exposed steel structure and a limited access window for onsite measurements and your documentation phase has now become a challenging logistical exercise. How do you quickly develop a 3D digital twin of existing conditions so you can properly plan for new piping and structure?

ECM – Global Measurement Solutions, leading provider of 3D Lidar Scanning and Design Engineering Services, was presented with such a task when asked to provide a 3D model of a power plant slated for renovations. Faced with retrofitting of the recovery exhaust containment areas, the client required an accurate 3D digital file indicating all surrounding pipes, structure, and fittings, down to the access hatches and bolt locations. The 3D scan data was to be taken in color, so the resulting digital file enabled ease of pipe and duct identification.

A two-man team was sent to the site with a FARO Focus X330 laser scanner to document the needed areas. The scanner’s long range and variable resolution capabilities enabled quick capture of point cloud data while obtaining enough density of points for delineation of the various pipes and fittings. This would translate into a level of detail sufficient to allow for Revit modeling of the smallest elements. The documentation process involved multiple scanning locations. To capture all needed information, scans were required at various heights and locations, moving the scanner in and out of the power plant’s articulated facade as well as up ladders, walkways, and below raised equipment. Some scans were placed as little as six feet apart, to enable line of sight access to important elements hidden between existing pipes, scaffold and walkways.

The key to successfully capturing a 3D image of the plant facility area to be documented was to align and tie the two opposite sides of the plant together within the digital model. The common link between the sides, other than the roof above, was an open passageway below set between two large steel beams about twenty inches above grade. By lowering the scanner to sit just above grade, ECM’s skilled technicians could access this passageway on a crawl and obtain accurate 3D scan views. These would not only tie the two halves together but provide needed information to the client on the passageway’s size and configuration for their use in designing new piping in that area.

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