On December 12th, SPAR Japan held a successful second edition of the Plant 3D Capture Forum at the Nisekki Yokohama Building in Yokohama, Japan. Of the more than 107 attendees from all around the region, more than half were from plant engineering or maintenance companies.
Perhaps the most interesting facet for those of us who couldn’t attend was the results of the survey given to this group of professionals, who hailed from organizations like Santoku, Niigata Engine, and Kandenn Plant. An overwhelming number indicated that they are using laser scanning for plant modeling, and many said that they are using 3D CAD but have not yet made the leap to intelligent CAD models. Most indicated that their company is at least aware of 3D capture and modeling, even if they have not fully implemented it yet.
Hot topics among respondees included, of course, software for plant management (indicating a need for more intelligent models in the future), the use of UAVs, and 3D for the survey of natural disasters, as the region has been affected by floods, earthquakes, extreme heavy rains, and landslides.
Discussion was lively and the discussion made three points clear about the state of 3D. First, there is no longer any for introducing the idea to new customers, as the technology is becoming steadily more popular and more companies are becoming aware of its usefulness. Second, it takes a bit more time to obtain real, lasting benefits from the technology than most people realize–the attendees said that those with only a few years’ experience using 3D capture for plant modeling are still very much in the trial stage.
Lastly, the attendees identified workflow as the biggest issue. The capture works, the technology is advanced, people are aware of what it does, but a lot still needs to be done in order to improve workflow. Users can get the data, they just want it to be easier to work with.