In late July, 1969 – does that date jog your memory – Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin carefully placed equipment for lunar research on the moon’s dusty surface. Eventually, all the equipment stopped working and the experiments ceased – all but one. That one is still working. It’s a special laser reflector which astronomers use to measure the constantly changing distance to the moon (about 238,900 miles) and other lunar movements.
A laser scanning microscope can measure the thickness of minuscule bumps and dips on surfaces to the nearest nanometer, i.e. 0.00000003937 inches. That’s not a typo, it’s 40 billionths of an inch. Both of these astonishing measurements use the same technology, but the equipment is different.
Construction, fabrication, mining, and historic preservation are among the many areas that have been significantly affected by this technology. But if one doesn’t pick the right equipment for the task at hand, the results are awful.
3D Imaging Services stays abreast of developments in laser scanning and we use that knowledge to choose the best equipment for the job at hand. Here are few of the criteria we use.
In surface mining, we use laser scanning to measure slope angles, ground movement, and volumes, so scanning equipment that can reach out 2 kilometers or more is best suited. The rate of scanning is slower, and the measurements are accurate to less than one inch. Perfectly acceptable for the task at hand.
Industrial construction, such as power plants and refineries, includes very dense and extensive arrangements of piping, conduits, ducting, et al. Scanning such conditions requires speed and accuracy. We generally choose equipment capable of 1 million measurements per second and accuracy of 2-3 millimeters.
Most commercial buildings have many rooms, and this requires many scanning positions to capture all the relevant measurements. But commercial construction tolerances are looser than the industrial. In commercial construction, we most often work to ¼ inch, though we still choose equipment capable of about 1 million measurements per second so we can work efficiently.
Fabrication often requires tolerances of 1/1000 inch, or less. Laser scanners with short ranges of just a few feet can check incoming components and validate the fabrication of products to within 5 microns or less (< 2/10,000 inch). In conjunction with our parent company, Andy J. Egan, 3D Imaging Services uses laser scanning to validate the fabrication of complex components before they are shipped all over the world.
By choosing the correct equipment for the task at hand, 3D Imaging Services has applied laser scanning technology to problems in historic preservation, electric distribution, transportation, building maintenance, shipping, and many others. Have questions about how this technology might be applied to your business? Give us a call or drop a line.