Long-range scanning may sound like science fiction, but it’s actually one of the fastest growing technology fields throughout the world. This process is a type of 3D scanning that can be performed over long distances. Currently, this method is usually employed to scan large-scale projects, such as power plants, tunnels and mining sites, but in the future, this technology will likely be available for projects and structures of all sizes. With that in mind, here a five ways that long-range scanning is improving quality inspections:
1. Precise Measurements in Challenging Scenarios
The three projects listed above all have one aspect in common: manual measurement is difficult or in some cases impossible. This also true for structures like factories and bridges and for projects like topographical mapping in extreme conditions. Traditionally, these places were measured using equipment that was specifically designed for that task, and when that was too cost-prohibitive, estimates were used instead. With long-range scanning, it’s possible to achieve accurate measurements without specialized equipment, with limited manpower and at a much reduced cost.
2. Fast Creation of Sophisticated Blueprints
Blueprints or whiteprints, which are actually the common modern format, document an architecture or engineering design. People often think of blueprints as technical drawing that demonstrates how to build something, but it’s often necessary to create a blueprint of a structure or project that’s already built. This process can be very challenging, particularly when the structure is complex. With long-range scanning, it’s not only possible to create basic blueprints quickly and cost-efficiently but also to create floor plans and piping models.
3. In-Progress Quality Inspection
Particularly in construction scenarios, quality inspection while the project is underway can be difficult and expensive. These expenses are not just related to the cost of the inspection but due to the delays and other inefficiencies that these inspections can result in. Long-range scanning provides many benefits over traditional in-progress quality inspection. Perhaps the greatest advantage is the ability to inspect the structure or project on demand, while construction is ongoing and without disrupting that work.
4. Views from Otherwise Impossible Angles
There are certain practical limitations to manual quality inspection. If you build a steel-reinforced concrete wall, there’s no manual way to inspect the steel or a view a corner from the inner 90-degree angle once the concrete is in place. Three-dimensional scanning isn’t affected by these limitations, and the extended range ensures that there are no access limitations. If you need to re-inspect the steel beams on the thirtieth floor, that work is as simple and cost-effective with long-range scanning as it would be on the first floor.
5. Reverse Engineering
The goal of a quality inspection is to ensure that a product meets a certain standard. What happens when a product makes it through inspection but doesn’t meet that standard? In these scenarios, it’s necessary to assess the inspection methodology for flaws, which is a challenging proposition. Long-range scanning makes this much easier due to the ability to 3D model the imperfections, which can then be reverse engineered to determine how they were missed.