Earlier this month, ahead of the annual Intergeo conference in Germany, Topcon Positioning Systems announced the latest addition to their line of robotic total stations. The California-based company launched the LN-50 3D laser at the start of October, marking their newest layout navigator, this one boasting a 50-meter (164-foot) range. They note that this newest scanner is designed “specific to homebuilders, mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEP) trades, concrete contractors, and others to achieve high-speed precision in their measuring and layout work, mitigating the risk of errors that can lead to rework.”
The release of the LN-50 provides a more cost-efficient alternative to the previously released LN-150, which as the name suggests provides a range of 150 meters. Beyond the range of the scanner, though, the LN-50 maintains the other capabilities and measurables compared to the LN-150, including a five-inch angular accuracy, a self-leveling single button setup, RC-5A compatibility, and more.
“The family of products features a one-button, self-leveling setup that a wide variety of trade professionals can be comfortable using, particularly those transitioning from traditional layout and measuring methods to digital workflows,” said Ray Kerwin, director, global product planning at Topcon, in a press statement. “If a homebuilder set out to layout a project with a tape measure and a transit, it would take two people to do the work that could be accomplished by one person using the 3D laser, so productivity is a key benefit. Another is accuracy. The user will be able to lay out the job more accurately than using fully manual processes.”
The company also notes that the LN-50 is compatible with Topcon Digital Layout building construction software. This software, which is compatible with CAD and BIM software setups and can be used with the Point Manager plug-in for Autodesk Revit or AutoCAD, is designed to allow all levels of experience to easily and accurately lay out points for a project.
“The easy-to-use Digital Layout software controls the 3D laser and makes it ‘smart’ so that the user can lay out building corners or plumbing sleeves, for instance, and do it efficiently,” said Kerwin.
These types of innovations and product updates are particularly important for the construction industry right now, which is dealing with constant and sometimes increasing demand coinciding with worker shortages. One of the big selling points of this latest Topcon release is its ability to work with just one person, not requiring multiple workers to take time out of their schedule to set up and execute the project. It’s also built around simplicity, so the most senior workers aren’t required to ensure the data is collected correctly. This not only helps those leaner construction firms by leaning on fewer and potentially less experienced workers, but also with cost given that this is built for less range and smaller projects in general, making it more accessible than some other larger and more intricate equipment.
“The portfolio embodies our commitment to democratizing technology — simplifying and improving the process of transitioning to digital layout in the building construction sector in a cost-effective package,” Kerwin continued. “It has a short learning curve, and is a one-person operation, which is particularly helpful during labor shortages. By providing enhanced productivity, accuracy and quality in an easily accessible system, it reinforces the push toward providing intuitive innovations for both the existing and incoming generations of trade professionals,” said Kerwin.
“With this system, companies can take on larger projects or even just speed up layout for the projects that they have on the books.”