The Purpose and Benefits
3D laser scanning can be used for digital documentation of large physical objects or environments, such as a machine or a factory. The resulting digital model consists of millions individual measurement points, a point cloud. With enough measurement points the model becomes a virtual copy of the measured object, that can be explored and analysed from the comfort the office, or through immersive virtual reality equipment.
During the data capture the 3D laser scanner emits a laser beam along a structured path that sweeps over the scanners visible surroundings. The laser light reflects off of the surrounding surfaces and returns to the scanner where it is continuously measured and stored to document the distance to the nearest surface in that specific direction. Each measurement represents a surface position and is stored as x, y, z coordinates. Color is added to the measurement points by use of a built-in camera. The scanner has a 360 degrees field of view along the horizontal axis and a 320 degrees along its vertical axis. By positioning the scanner around an object and repeating the measurements and entire machine or even factory can be captured and stored as a virtual representation of the physical world. This virtual representation can be used for analysis and measurements, or to plan and design changes where accurate spatial knowledge is needed. The point cloud can be edited and exported for use in most modern CAD and simulation applications.
The Point Cloud
The video below presents a point cloud model created from 3D scan data. The model provides a realistic 1:1 digital representation of the factory building, equipment, and materials. The factory measures 3000 m2.