Bilfinger Tebodin in the media: streetview in the industry

January 28, 2021

Google Streetview has made the world a lot smaller. If you want to know what the Taj Mahal or the Statue of Liberty, for example, looks like up close, you can do so from the comfort of your chair. The same technology is becoming more commonplace in the industry. Dennis van den Berg from Bilfinger Tebodin has gained so much experience with industrial 3D scans, that he supports his customers with their specific visualization wishes. This can vary from a virtual tour to a visual aid for the maintenance department.

Bilfinger Tebodin recently performed a 3D scan for the animal feed company De Haan Petfood in the Netherlands. De Haan Petfood wanted a scan of their production process so they could use it as a blueprint for their future ambitions. “We were able to scan the site within a day,” says van den Berg. “That way, customers or suppliers can take a look inside from their own homes or offices anywhere in the world. Just as you can view the house of your dreams on a house-hunting website, you can do the same at an industrial company. This was already possible via laser scanning, but that is much more time-consuming and expensive. With the camera, you get a good image a lot faster, often allowing you to show a 3D model within a day. And just like a laser scan, you can attach tags to the objects in the room. You can attach to a pump the operating instructions or give instructions on the lubrication routines, for example.”

Sharing data

Bilfinger Tebodin offers the scans as a service. Van den Berg: “People take out a subscription and get access to their data via the cloud. Of course, you pay a fee per scan, but after that, you can always easily access your data and share it with customers, regulators, or, for example, a supplier. Especially in times of Covid-19, this is not an unnecessary luxury. Suppose you want to replace a pump complex installation. Normally, providers want to see the situation on site. What about space, what mechanical and electrical connections are needed, and how do you connect the necessary piping? Each discipline has its own questions and would prefer to take pictures. Sometimes you then have to put machines out of operation or use the necessary personal protective equipment and safety measures. At least in such a virtual environment you don’t have to wear a face mask and social distancing is guaranteed.” 

Measure

Another very handy feature is that you can measure the environment. Van den Berg: “If you have to expand a large installation, you at least want to know whether it will fit through the door. By drawing a line between the doorposts with a virtual tape measure, you can see with a few centimeters accuracy how much room you have. If you want to replace ductwork or other things that look very narrow, it is better to dive into the papers or measure differently. Yet the formats of our scans do not deviate much from reality. So for concept engineering or basic engineering, you can do just fine with the scan data. Or suppose you want to know the best location to place scaffolding. Then this data is also sufficient.” 

“With industry 4.0 systems, fewer and fewer people will need to be physically present in a factory or chemical complex.” – Dennis van den Berg, Consultant Asset Management at Bilfinger Tebodin

Scanned quickly

The physical scanning work is not very invasive, according to Van den Berg. “You can scan the environment with a fixed distance via a photo camera on a tripod. The Pro2 3D camera we usually use scans the environment with infrared, which means it can only be used indoors. For those who also want to capture the outdoors, we also have a Leica camera available. The cameras are connected to an iPad that colors the floor plan more and more as more scan points are added. After scanning, the software is still calculating for a few hours to bring all the images together.” Van den Berg still has some wishes to increase the value of the scans. “Although you can already associate valuable tags with the objects, this is still done via a public URL. It would be even better if you could connect this kind of data with your protected maintenance management systems, for example. 

Virtual factory

Van den Berg says the visual information could become an important part of a virtual factory. “By linking the scan data to production and business systems, the step towards a digital twin is taken. With industry 4.0 systems, fewer and fewer people will need to be physically present in a factory or chemical complex. It will then be convenient if a sensor indicates a malfunction, that you can immediately see which asset it is and where it is located. Situational awareness is becoming increasingly important as you seek to link the physical and digital worlds. Our scans contribute to that.

Scan the QR code for a link to the Bilfinger Tebodin website where a live example with tags can be seen.