3D laser scanners are becoming extremely valuable tools across a wide range of industries, from film and computer gaming to construction and archaeology. 3D scanners measure and evaluate real-world objects by establishing and plotting thousands of laser points per second across the surface of an object. Computer analysis can determine the relative distance and position of each point to recreate a model of the object with precisions as small as the width of a human hair. Laser scans provide three big advantages to any organization that chooses to deploy them.
1. Better Cost Control and Budgeting
3D modeling with laser scanners is much faster, more efficient, and accurate than manual measurements. Distance means nothing to a laser. In 2015, laser scanners helped solve the mystery of 1845 Canadian ship wreck on the ocean bottom. Even large construction projects which could take a team of surveyors and assistants weeks to accomplish could take a matter of hours with a laser scanner and a minimal team of operators. Data is gathered, stored, and analyzed via computer so there’s no need for extensive documentation to sort through and aggregate. The high level of accuracy means there are no errors that might require additional field trips and verification of measurements.
2. Safety Concerns
Covering a building site or other unknown or treacherous environments could expose personnel to many hazards, such as chemical spills or unstable footing. Lasers can cover the site from a few key points with no need for up-close investigation or excessive mobility. Since smaller teams are required on site, there is less overall risk of accident. Safer working conditions when collecting site data could mean lower insurance rates and workman’s comp claims.
3. Improved Quality Control
Many projects, from remote archaeological digs to in-house industrial components, can be measured and plotted much more quickly and accurately with laser scanners. This eliminates the majority of human errors that could lead to faulty conclusions and the ordering of inaccurately sized parts. An early Stanford University study of laser scanners showed that even in the early stages of the technology variations were measured in tenths of millimeters . Standard quality control practices are enhanced in speed and reliability by this high-tech tool, leading to faster time to market, better product consistency, and fewer errors or wasted money in material procurement.
The collection of 3D data points (point cloud) recreating an object are suitable to a wide variety of applications in almost any industry, such as medicine, engineering, design, antique and art appraisals, education, training, and reverse engineering.
Like all technology, as 3D laser scanners become cheaper and more compact, they are likely to become a basic component of every tool box.