QMT Features: April 2017
Food for thought
Laser scanning helps food equipment supplier speed installation


OAL has been involved in designing, implementing and automating innovative engineering solutions for the world’s food industry for more than 20 years. The company boasts a range of competencies that include automation, design, mechanical capabilities and product development.

In order to speed-up the laborious measurement and drawing process that takes place prior to embarking on a plant installation, or system modification, it recently purchased a Focus3D X 30 laser scanner from FARO UK.

Jake Norman, OAL Innovation and Marketing Manager explained “In an ideal world every factory would have accurate, fully dimensioned 2D/3D drawings of every aspect of each facility, so that proposed plant modifications could be easily assessed and defined.  In reality, the first steps when considering remodelling a plant to meet the demands of new products, often involves an extremely time-consuming measurement and drawing process.

“We believed that for complex plants these crucial procedures were taking too long and that at times it was difficult to achieve the desired levels of dimensional accuracy.  This lack of visual dimensional information often meant that initial discussions related to new layouts, at a senior level, were delayed or made more difficult by relying on inaccurate layouts.

“We have since transformed our measurement and drawing processes with the purchase of a FARO Focus3D X 30 laser scanner.
“The use of our FARO Focus3D purchased from FARO UK for 3D factory scanning, now provides us with fast, precise 2D/3D drawings and layouts. We can now quickly and deliver a complete 3D ‘walk-through’ model of the factory with full point measurement to an accuracy of 2mm.  Our specialist team can visit a facility and rapidly and precisely scan a single area or the entire site.

“Depending on facilities’ equipment complexity and size, sometimes we need to make multiple scans. At each position the scanner captures an impressive 976,000 measurement points per second in a full 360° data capture. Once multiple scans for a single area have been finished the team completes a post processing routine to register millions of data elements, enabling the creation of a scanned ‘point cloud.’  At this stage a full ‘3D walk through’ of that area is available.  We then repeat the process for other areas of the factory under measurement with post processing, including joining individual ‘point clouds’ together, creating a ‘project point cloud’ of the entire site.

“The key benefits of using the Focus3D X 30 include the creation of 3D layouts to the required accuracy, the ability to dimension and annotate any 3D element and to create an accurate, realistic 3D ‘walk through’ of the ‘as installed’ plant.
“Now, all plant remodelling is based on accurate data so the entire design process is much quicker, whilst accurate information is available for optimal reverse engineering. Finally, at the project installation stage, the availability of accurate data ensures that our new parts fit first time.”

Paul Woolner, OAL Lead Designer added. “Given the size and complexity of many of the plants that we need to measure, our ability to now remotely scan them, rather than access them physically, is proving much safer.”
www.faro.com
  
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