Smart 3D Laser Modelling and As-Building – Part 3: Choosing the Right Approach

This is the third article of a three part series on how Synergy uses laser scan data to generate smart as-built 3D models. The example model used in this article is from Eaton’s training facility in Houston and is supplied courtesy of LFM Software and AVEVA. Disclosure: Synergy was an official beta tester for AVEVA Laser Modeler during its development phase in 2011. Also see Part 1 and Part 2.

The previous articles looked at two approaches for using laser scan data to build intelligent 3D models: 1) the standard approach and 2) the lite approach.

  1. The standard approach involves full back-modelling of the laser scan data in order to create a full 3D model representation of the plant. The 3D model is then tagged with intelligent links to documents and drawings external to the 3D modelling environment.
  2. The lite approach uses the laser scan data “as-is” without any further back-modelling. Instead, equipment in the laser scan point cloud are intelligently tagged with hyperlinks. This makes the laser scan model more user-friendly (e.g. a user can search for equipment and relevant documents and drawings such as P&IDs are accessible from the 3D laser scan environment) without the time-consuming and relatively costly process of back-modelling.

However, while the lite approach is clearly more cost efficient, there are trade-offs in terms of functionality:

Functionality Lite Approach Standard Approach
Import intelligent 3D models Yes Yes
Add hyperlinks to external documentation, drawings, etc Yes Yes
Clash check laser scan against imported intelligent 3D models Yes Yes
Intelligent 2D drawing production, e.g. general arrangements,  isometrics, etc No Yes
BOM, Weight, CofG reports No Yes
3D model export to external analysis programs such as CAESAR II, FLACS, ANSYS, EXODUS, Detect3D, etc No Yes

Selecting the right approach will depend on the expected applications for the 3D model.

If drawing and report production such as isometrics, layouts, MTOs, etc is desired or a full 3D model representation is required for import into other software packages (e.g. computational fluid dynamics software such as FLACS or ANSYS), then the standard approach is recommended.

However, if the model will only be used for as-building, operational support and Brownfield modifications, then the lite approach will be sufficient. Clash checking of Brownfield additions to the model against the laser scan data is still possible. Moreover, the lite approach provides intelligence by tagging equipment in the point cloud and hyperlinking to external data, which facilitates easier model navigation and operational usage.

See also

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