3D scanner helps make repairs safer

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A scanner small enough to fit in a briefcase is helping to make repairs at oil refineries, dams, and schools safer. News 13’s Ray Bogan explains how the 3D scanner at WLC Engineering works.
The Faro scanner almost looks like a set of speakers. But the sophisticated scanning device set on top a tripod, creates incredibly detailed 3d images.
The scanner emits about a million laser points per second. Points reflect off surfaces and are deflected back to the scanner; very similar to radar or echolocation. Don Davis describes it as a laser shotgun blast.
“A shotgun shell with a million bee bees. One shot every second for 2 to 5 minutes. Every one of those bee bees bouncing off a surface being recorded within the scanner,” said Davis, WLC Engineering and Surveying president.
Once the scan is complete it's uploaded to software which turns the scan into a 3D image and finally a full model.
The team created new scans of the oil refinery in Sinclair. Before the scans, the facility had no as built drawings. 931 scans and 41 billion data points later, they have a model to help with repairs.
“Like anything else, wears out and they'll use this data to engineer piping and the like,” said Davis.
To demonstrate the scanners precision, as the camera rolled, so did the scanner.
“The applications are obviously about as broad as your imagination,” said Davis.
This was the final product just a couple minutes later. But it also created a 3D image that can be viewed from any angle. The scope of this technology has likely not yet met its full potential.
“Anything you can imagine,” said Davis.
The scanner is currently being used to scan hydro tubes at the Seminoe damn for design reconstruction.
Engineers have also scanned the Evansville waste water facility, high schools and power lines.