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U.S. Navy Sees Big Savings From 3D Laser Scanning

US Navy Photo Illustration

The U.S. Navy is making a big commitment to the latest in 3D technology including laser scanning and virtual/augmented reality. In a recent article in USNI News a detailed recap of some of the latest technology and its application documents how in one case a $50,000 investment in 3D laser scanning equipment saved the Navy almost $2 million during the planning an refueling of the USS George Washington. A small team replaced the usual 20-person survey team.

If you have ever been lucky enough to be on a working Navy ship (I was on a fast attack nuclear submarine and a guided missile frigate) then you know that every cubic inch of space has some function. The ability of laser scanning to capture an accurate 3D model of the as-is conditions has tremendous value.

Capt. John Markowicz, the in-service carrier program manager said, “Norfolk Naval Shipyard and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility are beginning to embrace this technology, which could spread to the other two public shipyards to support submarine maintenance activities too, and Newport News Shipbuilding is “all in” on the private sector side.”

Siemens PLM Illustration

Combine this with the use of  AR/VR and the opportunities for the young people in the Navy are tremendous. It is great to see it being applied by the military.

At Newport News Shipbuilding VR goggles were used while laying pipes and cables which cut the required man-hours in half. They are also using tablets that can use VR to show where something should be installed.

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  • Newport News does not have any qualified technicians to generate a model of the scans. The scans alone don’t make a 3d model. I saw them in action and I can tell you the models they created from the scans was unacceptable.

  • CAD models are x, y, z models and so are laserscans. We have a case on a FPSO where you can switch between the two without any effort. On top of that additional data is shown in both models. Brilliant.

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