This paper summarizes the economic benefits of applying 3D laser scanning technologies to the design, construction and operation of industrial plants. We examine how these technologies deliver four main benefits: risk mitigation; cost reduction and schedule compression; improved safety for capital project delivery, maintenance and operations; and how these benefits are realized and exploited by asset owner/operators, engineering/construction firms and 3D laser scanning service provider contractors. This paper was commissioned by Faro Technologies, Inc., a leading supplier of 3D laser scanning solutions.
Risk mitigation: All industries experience rogue projects where cost, schedule or safety has spiraled out of control due to incomplete or incorrect as-built documentation or inadequate dimensional control procedures. Laser scanning workflows have proven beneficial for reducing project risk on brownfield projects, particularly where energy densities are high; site access is difficult or expensive; modular design and fabrication methods are deployed; and project schedules include acute sensitivities.
Cost and schedule reduction: Laser scanning has reduced total installed cost for brownfield projects by 5-7% and has reduced contingencies for rework to less than 2% compared to traditional survey methods. These results are remarkable not only for the magnitude but for their consistency across a wide variety of projects. Achievement of these cost savings sometimes requires higher initial investment in 3D data capture solutions than traditional methods (total station, piano wire, spirit level, plumb bob and tape measure). Schedule compression of as much as 10% has been reported when 3D laser scanning has been deployed. Such savings dwarf the cost of data capture and modeling in applications such as nuclear power generation where outage time costs $1 million/day and offshore platform revamp production values can exceed $500,000 per day.
Safety and regulatory compliance: Owners are subject to increasing governmental scrutiny and regulation which demand the creation and upkeep of not only the as-built but as-maintained condition of production assets. Laser scanning is increasingly used to comply with health, safety and environmental imperatives. Compared to manual data capture methods, laser scanning methods are often safer. The remote sensing ability of today’s scanning systems and their rapid data capture means reduced jobsite exposure. Offsite fabrication methods, safer where hot work permits are required, can be used with confidence when adequate dimensional control ensures bolt-up installation instead of onsite welding.
Improved quality and other benefits: Complete and accurate dimensional documentation based on laser scanning has resulted in myriad collateral benefits ranging from the ability to perform better simulation of asset and equipment performance for training purposes, better visualization to coordinate multiple engineering disciplines and craft construction, better visualization to secure project funding, more analytic and quantifiable construction monitoring, and more flexibility to accommodate scope change.
The complete paper is available for download at 3D Laser Scanning: Benefits and Paybacks for Industrial Plant Design, Construction and Operation.