How to quickly gain a complete overview of the as-is situation of ships

How to quickly gain a complete overview of the as-is situation of ships August 2018 - The existing or ‘as-is’ situation is an important starting point for design work in ship maintenance or modification projects. To ensure that any new systems and configurations will ‘fit’ instead of resulting in a design clash, Designers need exact information about the current situation on board. Unfortunately, many ships lack proper documentation, and, in some cases, there are no drawings available at all, or the ones that do exist are not up-to-date. There are various ways to gain an overview of the current situation on board a ship. But which method is the fastest, most comprehensive and most (cost) efficient? The answer is 3D laser scanning.

The highest accuracy achievable
So, what makes 3D laser scanning so accurate, (cost) efficient and time saving? A 3D laser scanner measures the X, Y and Z coordinates of objects with an extremely high point density (points per cubic metre), meaning that spaces and objects can be measured to a very high level of detail. A complete 3D picture of the situation is obtained by positioning the scanner in multiple locations and linking those locations using points. In just three minutes, the immediate vicinity of the laser scanner can be mapped in great detail. This method makes it possible to create a fully comprehensive 3D model of the as-is situation on a ship much quicker than with other methods. An additional advantage is that even complex and difficult-to-reach objects can be measured safely and accurately.
How can you use the output of a laser scan?
The output of a 3D laser scan is a point cloud consisting of hundreds of millions or even billions of points. This point cloud can be entered into various design software packages (e.g. in Autodesk via ReCap), and can also be combined with another model, such as the design for a modification. This allows you to easily verify if a design can be realised on the ship in question. Engine rooms, for example, are often crammed full of equipment, piping and other objects. Performing a 3D laser scan of such an environment offers the important advantage of being able to install new equipment or piping perfectly to the as-is situation on the ship without the risk of clashes. Another benefit is that the point cloud allows you to check the situation on the ship at any given time. When ships are in dry docks, access is often restricted. With 3D laser scanning, only one visit needs to be scheduled to obtain a detailed picture of the as-is situation. The point cloud can then be consulted at a later time, for example when the ship is back at sea and you need to check a detail concerning the situation on board.
In short: 3D laser scanning saves time and costs, minimises risks, results in fewer site visits, and offers increased efficiency and ease of use. The technique provides numerous benefits and the application possibilities are endless. Nevesbu has already successfully applied 3D laser scanning in various submarine and FPSO platform projects.

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