3D Scanning Across the Value Chain

Logistics Viewpoints has covered warehouse management systems extensively over the years. These systems are the ultimate in inventory management accuracy. The RF scanning to confirm picks and put-aways insures an inventory accuracy of well over 99 percent. But you can’t use warehouse management systems for managing inventory in all industries. This is particularly true for industries, like mining, where goods are produced and shipped in bulk. Recently, 3D scanning technology has emerged as a compelling solution for a bevy of metrology applications.

3D Scanning

3D Scanning Can Be Used Across the Value Chain

3D scanning systems use laser or structured light technologies to generate a point cloud rendering of objects. 3D scanning has found a home in inventory management. One part of the mining workflow requires assessment of stockpile volume. Formerly, this involved workers navigating live work sites to climb onto stockpiles and manually map data points via GPS devices. This approach is slow, inaccurate, and most importantly, dangerous for technicians. Miners are finding success turning to 3D scanning solutions, either terrestrial or drone-mounted, to address these issues.

3D scanning is enabling entirely new types of customers, like mining companies, to integrate reality capture into their businesses, particularly as suppliers have begun marketing affordable, simple scanner models in addition to their higher end offerings. This trend has been accelerated by the “democratization of scanning” as suppliers have begun marketing affordable, simple scanner models in addition to their higher end offerings.

Manufacturing is another part of the value chain. In the manufacturing world, quality control experts have traditionally relied on coordinate measurement machine (CMM) touch probe devices. Though offering potentially unmatched accuracy, CMMs are necessarily limited in the number of points they can measure. For certain curved surfaces this leads to inadequate coverage. Light, on the other hand, can reach all those surface twists and turns to capture an accurate rendering. Furthermore, scanning tends to be faster than tactile processes for many geometries, is easier to automate than a CMM via industrial robotics, and buying a scanner is far cheaper than a CMM.

As scanning hardware approaches technological maturity, companies have been focusing on greater automation, easier to use products, streamlined software, and automatic object/part recognition capabilities to differentiate themselves. Expect both the scanning and post-scan value-extraction processes to become more and more effortless over time.

Building information modelling is a process commonly utilized in architecture, engineering, and construction activities. Surveyors take measurements of structures or pre-construction conditions to check the design model against physical reality. This as-built verification allows for early detection of discrepancies in the construction process. Having an updated model enables construction workers to do their jobs more efficiently too. When the project is done, a verifiably accurate digital model of the structure can be handed to the operator or maintenance personnel. As companies seek to build new warehouses or factories, or expand the facilities they already have, 3D Scanning will have a role to play.

3D scanning has become a formidable contender for many bulk inventory needs, and its adoption by customers is only likely to continue growing.

To learn more about the 3D scanning market through ARC’s research, please visit our study page.