How to Turn Raw Data into Actionable Data for Manufacturing

How to Turn Raw Data into Actionable Data for Manufacturing

Data, data everywhere: With factory digitization and advancements in sensor and transmitter technology, there is no shortage of raw data available from the plant floor for industrial manufacturers:

  • Transmitters can now provide you with multiple variable values along with their health and other diagnostic information;
  • There are large amounts of time-series data locked up within process historians, along with processing event data;
  • Manufacturing operations also generate terabytes of data that needs to be collected and stored for either regulatory compliance or process analytics.

The Downside of Data: Limited Analysis & Availability

Unfortunately, a lot of these data are never properly analyzed and the results are not available until the following day. Data are stored in silos making them difficult to retrieve and perform process forensics.

This is one of the biggest challenges in manufacturing operations management: How to take raw data and transform it into actionable data for making informed decisions.

As manufacturing engineering consultants, we find that it’s very important to provide some context to these raw data as they are collected from the plant floor to make them actionable.

Take food and beverage manufacturing for example. If you can add the product being made, the recipe being utilized, and the operator who was executing the production order to the time-series data, you have a much more robust set of criteria to compare results between multiple runs of a similar product and identify discrepancies. You can then act on these to streamline the variables outside the normal.
This same principal can apply to almost any industrial process.

Providing Different Data for Different Departments

Another issue of manufacturing process control is that different users across the facility need different information.

The same data collected from the plant floor can be analyzed very differently by various departments. The maintenance department may be more focused on evaluating downtime reasons while the production department may be looking at schedule adherence and production quantities. Providing context to the raw data enables us to analyze the data in multiple ways applicable to the various roles in the organization so action can be taken.

The Crucial Role of Contextual Data

Whether it’s downtime root cause analytics or Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) calculations, contextual data plays a critical role. The data is also being utilized to provide electronic batch records, increase production throughput by performing constraint analysis, and identifying production waste and non-value add activities.

More and more emphasis also is being given to automated data collection. Manual data collection is known to be inconsistent and completely dependent on the operators. To get a better understanding of data, we advise manufacturers to automate data collection and be sure it is accurately collected with event timestamp as well as the actual duration of the event.

Why Big Data = Big Opportunities for Manufacturers

With the advent of big data analytics, the opportunity to get a real-time view of your production and ascertain its health has increased tremendously:

  • Data is enabling the creation of mathematical models that can help predict asset performance and condition;
  • Data is being used in a number of ways to identify Key Performance Indicators (KPI);
  • And in some cases data is even being updated to the cloud to create a digital twin to perform offline diagnostics and operator training.

With the increase in plant floor automation and connectivity to enterprise network, we anticipate a wider acceptance of these capabilities within the manufacturing community. We are moving definitively towards an enterprise that is connected from corporate headquarters to the plant floors.

Matrix Technologies is one of the largest independent process design, industrial automation engineering, and manufacturing operations management companies in North America. To learn more about our manufacturing operations management capabilities and manufacturing process control solutions, contact John Lee, Strategic Manager of Manufacturing Intelligence.

© Matrix Technologies, Inc.

Why Your System Integrator Should Embrace a Quality System

Why Your System Integrator Should Embrace a Quality System

Quality is a top focus for industrial manufacturers, both small and large.

One of the best ways to ensure a quality-driven manufacturing process is to work with system integrator companies who have demonstrated their own commitment to quality through ISO-9001 certification and CSIA certification and an internal quality process.

Here’s how meeting the requirements of ISO-9001 certification for quality management impact an integrator’s approach to quality and why having a certified integrator can make a vital difference in a successful industrial automation engineering project.

ISO-9001: The Standard for Defining Quality

The world’s predominant standard for defining quality systems is ISO-9001. According to the ISO 2015 survey, a total of 1,519,952 certificates were issued worldwide in 2015.

Many system integrator companies like Matrix Technologies are ISO-9001 certified. A select group of top integrators, including Matrix, are also certified by the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA).

But a surprising number of integrators don’t have ISO-9001 or CSIA certification – and that could be important to manufacturers searching for industrial automation services.

Though ISO and CSIA standards don’t define a quality system, they provide a guideline for the quality process. Integrators who prove their understanding of this process through their own internal commitment to it are far more qualified to help manufacturers achieve quality in their operations.

The quality process drives consistency in project design, execution, and delivery. Having these processes in place ensures that the system integrator relies less on “superstar” project personnel and instead delivers quality results across all personnel and all projects. This provides an additional layer of security for the customer, as it minimizes the impact of unexpected project team changes.

What is a Quality Process for System Integrators?

The main elements of an ISO standard quality system are:

1. Quality Management System;
2. Management Responsibility;
3. Resource Management;
4. Product Realization;
5. Measurement, Analysis and Improvement.

Here’s how these elements apply to system integrator companies:

1. Quality Management System

The integrator must establish, document, implement and maintain a quality management system, and continually improve its effectiveness. The first step is to define all the processes that exist in the integrator’s business, how they interact, the resources needed to accomplish them, and how to monitor, measure, and analyze their effectiveness.

Ongoing focus on quality management is crucial. The integrator must constantly improve the quality management system to make it as useful as it can be.

2. Management Responsibility

In every business, management attention drives compliance with policy. The integrator’s management team must be fully committed to the requirements and success of the system and it must be ingrained in employees. This process starts with the quality policy that sets the goals of the quality system and provides the framework to review its effectiveness.

3. Resource Management

This requirement is about making sure the integrator has the resources available to provide the services defined in their quality system. However, there are other elements that may not be so obvious. The integrator also needs to ensure the training of its human resources on the technology required and the quality system itself. Resource management also defines the infrastructure requirements and the equipment needed by personnel.

4. Product Realization

This section is by far the most important piece of the ISO puzzle for integrators to understand and implement.

For most system integration companies like Matrix Technologies, our work product is the drawings, software, and services we provide throughout our projects. This section of the quality standard provides guidelines for how we “produce” projects. This is where we define the design process for our customers’ projects and identify the processes and documents we follow during the project.

Equally important is identifying the ways we verify, validate, monitor, inspect, and test these “products” while executing the process. ISO requires documentation that the integrator defined their process and validated that it was followed. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to do these steps; rather, it is important that procedures exist and are understood and followed throughout the organization.

5. Measurement, Analysis and Improvement

Once the integrator has established all policies and procedures, they must make sure policies and procedures are being followed and implemented in their organization. This section identifies the methods by which the integrator ensures this compliance. It also identifies how improvements are made to the system if deficiencies are found.

Bottom Line for Manufacturers: Look for a Quality Commitment

Each system integrator can decide for itself whether it’s important to obtain ISO or CSIA certification, but partnering with an integrator who has established a quality system can be a vital advantage for industrial manufacturers who want quality-focused operations.

Learn more about CSIA best practices.

Matrix Technologies is one of the largest independent process design, industrial automation engineering, and manufacturing operations management companies in North America. To learn more about our industrial automation and system integration services and solutions, contact Dave Blaida.

© Matrix Technologies, Inc.

Replacing an Obsolete Control System in a Chemical Plant

Replacing an Obsolete Control System in a Chemical Plant

What should you do when a control system that’s critical to your manufacturing process is no longer supported?

Control system replacement is a common challenge for industrial manufacturers. It’s even more difficult when you can’t afford the downtime to convert to a new system because you need to meet the demands of your customers.

Here’s how Matrix Technologies helped a chemical company in Indiana migrate from an outdated legacy control system to a modern new system with limited downtime.

A Mission-Critical, but Obsolete System

An industrial chemical company is a primary manufacturer of a key ingredient used by many other companies. Because its products are so crucial to its customers, the manufacturer cannot tolerate any more downtime than absolutely necessary. Additionally, once the system is started, it must run 24/7.

The problem: The company’s legacy Honeywell Experion PKS 3.1 system was no longer being supported by Honeywell, leaving them with a system that was not easy to support and difficult to upgrade with the current hardware. They needed to change to a new system with minimal downtime.

Matrix Technologies was selected to plan and implement the control system upgrade and replacement and provide electrical design and software development services.

We carefully evaluated the manufacturer’s needs and recommended upgrading to Rockwell Automation technology. Using a new ControlLogix platform would give the customer many advantages, including improved batch, historian, and reporting capabilities.

Strategies to Reduce Downtime

One of the biggest challenges of this project was getting the new PLCs to communicate with existing Honeywell I/O.

Matrix developed the architecture to switch back and forth from the existing DCS to the new PLC which allowed testing, monitoring, and troubleshooting ensuring operational compatibility.
We took the same approach with the HMI system so the actual startup time would be minimal along with the risk.

For the HMI, Matrix used Rockwell Automation FactoryTalk View SE and PlantPAx objects. We developed the system with full simulation to provide for Factory Acceptance testing prior to implementation. Commissioning activities included I/O checkout and startup, within a five-day shutdown.

To keep downtime to a minimum, Matrix performed a phased startup. Matrix engineers set one tank up with the new system and updated the HMIs plant-wide to train technicians and supervisors before receiving the upgraded control system.

The customer was extremely pleased with the smooth startup of the new system. Using the PlantPAx object libraries, they now have a standard software package they can use on future systems, both upgraded and new.

Control System Replacement: It’s All in the Planning

Obsolete equipment that’s no longer supported can put your entire manufacturing operation at risk. The key to a successful control system replacement or any legacy system upgrade is thorough planning.

Your manufacturing automation solutions provider should conduct a detailed review of the current state of your system and carefully plan every step of the migration to ensure a smooth transition to the new technology.

It’s also wise to partner with an industrial automation engineering company that knows your industry and can recommend the best system for your needs.

Matrix Technologies is one of the largest independent process design, industrial automation engineering, and manufacturing operations management companies in North America. To learn more about our industrial automation services and our in-depth experience with legacy system upgrades, contact Greg Pfleghaar.

© Matrix Technologies, Inc.

Fast-Tracking a New Food Production Plant: An EPCm Case Study

Fast-Tracking a New Food Production Plant: An EPCm Case Study

Tight timelines are a fact of life in food and beverage manufacturing projects, especially for new plant construction.

When the schedule is compressed and the deadline is fixed, an owner’s engineer needs to find creative solutions for engineering, procurement and construction management to complete a new facility on time.

Here’s how Matrix Technologies helped a food and beverage manufacturer fast-track a complex new food production facility from conceptual design through construction.

EPCm Project Delivery

Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Management (EPCm) is a widely used method of designing, managing, and building a construction project.

Manufacturers sometimes prefer the EPCm approach because the engineer who was intimately involved with the design is represented onsite by the engineer’s construction manager, who provides construction management services on the owner’s behalf. A knowledgeable construction manager who played a role in the design process has a tremendous advantage because of their continuity in design and construction roles.

The Challenges: Short Timeline, Undefined Scope

A food and beverage manufacturer of shelf-stable products in the Midwest needed to renovate a 200,000 square foot vacant warehouse and retrofit it to meet food production requirements.

The owner had a substantial amount of plant modifications and improvements that needed to be developed and a schedule that would not allow ample time to prepare a multidiscipline bid package. With such a short planning/engineering development schedule, Matrix Technologies was selected to execute a fast-track EPCm contract involving all disciplines of food and beverage engineering and automation services, including construction management.

To address these challenges, Matrix applied a number of innovative approaches:

  • Thorough project planning: Matrix consulted closely with the manufacturer to more clearly define the project. To improve overall product and process flow, we rearranged product flow from equipment and operations in the most efficient way. General manufacturing product flow was organized in a circular fashion to minimize traffic crossings between plant associates and heavily trafficked fork truck aisles. Here is a simplified representation of material flow from receiving to outbound shipping:
    food and beverage manufacturing | engineering procurement and constructionThis schematic space planning helped the manufacturer and design team to be on the same page during the design phase. Once the process layout space planning was approved, the design team was able to quickly move to detailed design of major packages which required earlier installation dates.
food and beverage manufacturing | engineering and automation
Packaging Area (before)
food and beverage manufacturing; engineering procurement and construction
Packaging Area (after)
  • EPCm Leadership: Due to the remote location of the plant, the owner chose not to bid the project to a general contractor. Instead, as part of a cost-savings approach, the owner requested that multiple subcontractors bid the project as the bid packages became available. As the EPCm, Matrix Technologies provided oversight and coordination of multiple contractors. Project savings were substantial because the owner eliminated the general contractor’s markup, which would have been added to subcontractor bids.
  • Staging multiple bid packages: A compressed schedule with multiple contractors required an innovative approach to the development of bid packages. Matrix issued 60 separate bid packages and scopes, starting with “Wall Panel Demolition” and “Firewater Demolition” and finishing with “Acoustical Tile Ceiling Installation” and “Electrical Controls Installation” bid packages.Each package was tailored to suit each work construction task and was issued in a timely manner to maintain contractor continuity, allowing them to finish one smaller project and then move onto the next. By providing a comprehensive schedule for the issuance of bid packages, Matrix could also work ahead on future packages while contractors completed previous packages.This innovative scheduling approach allowed the owner to complete full engineering and construction of a $20,000,000 project in less than eleven months.
food and beverage manufacturing | engineering procurement and construction | EPCm
Retort Cooking
food and beverage manufacturing | engineering procurement and construction | EPCm
  • Innovative, cost-effective cooling: Steam is inherent to the cooking process. In previous applications, the manufacturer had condensation problems due to the amount of steam produced and emitted by the cookers. Matrix specified an ammonia over glycol process cooling system which was connected to the exterior hygienic air handling units. The ammonia over glycol system is considered the best compromise between cost, safety, and environmental impact.
food and beverage manufacturing | construction management industrial automation engineering
Hygienic air handlers constructed over existing building
  • Focusing on communication: As the owner’s engineer, Matrix needed to manage the exchange of information with the manufacturer, contractors, OEM vendors, shippers, riggers, component suppliers, local utilities, inspectors, and state and local plan reviewers. In addition, with multiple contractors working in common areas, managing safety was of paramount importance. Effective communication was essential at every step of the construction process and a top priority for the entire Matrix team.

The Outcome: A Modern, New Plant Completed Ahead of Schedule

Matrix designed new production areas, including frozen and open ingredient storage, ingredient prep areas, blending, package assembly, cooking, packaging, and finished goods storage. Office areas were completely remodeled, and new areas were created for mechanical equipment, boilers, HVAC, wastewater treatment and pump station, and maintenance facilities.

Design for the retort cooking systems in the facility included equipment layout, utility system sizing and design, cooling water system design, and integration into the plant control systems.

There were multiple technologies and OEM equipment used including Allpax retorts, Rockwell Automation ControlLogix PLCs, and FTView HMI software.

We completed the project ahead of the aggressive production schedule and the systems started up as expected without delays. This facility has helped the manufacturer reduce shipping costs from its original manufacturing plant in the Pacific Northwest, thus increasing profits while improving their ability to support their customer base in the Midwest.

Fast-Tracking Tips for Industrial Design-Build Projects

Here are some guidelines for industrial manufacturers to consider when selecting a design engineering partner:

  • Be open to different approaches: An experienced owner’s engineer may recommend approaches that differ from your original plan. Their knowledge can help you avoid costly mistakes and discover more effective options.
  • Find an EPC design company with the right experience: Look for an industrial automation engineering company that has in-depth experience in your industry and understands the unique process design and facilities requirements of producing your products.
  • Place a high priority on communication skills: The success of a complex EPC construction project depends on the communication capabilities of the owner’s engineer. Rank communication skills highly when evaluating a prospective engineering, procurement, and construction company.
  • EPCm savings: Selecting the right EPCm partner can produce project savings by eliminating the General Contractor’s markup on subcontractors. Manufacturers should contract with an experienced EPCm company with extensive construction manager experience, since the construction manager will be trusted to coordinate all onsite safety and construction activities.

Matrix Technologies is one of the largest independent process design, industrial automation engineering, and manufacturing operations management companies in North America. To learn more about our engineering, procurement, and construction management services, contact Mark O’Connell, Associate Director of Capital Project Planning.

© Matrix Technologies, Inc.

What is a Task-Based Machine Risk Assessment?

What is a Task-Based Machine Risk Assessment?

Workplace safety is a top priority for industrial manufacturers. One of the best ways to promote manufacturing plant safety is task-based machine risk assessment.

A task-based risk assessment is a proven, methodical tool to identify, assess, and document the hazards of operating machinery.

Through a carefully documented, team-based process, a task-based machine risk assessment will:

  • Identify the groups that interact with a machine;
  • Determine the tasks performed on the machine;
  • Identify the hazards of performing these tasks;
  • Score risks using a risk scoring system, and;
  • If necessary, reduce the risk.

Task-based machine risk assessment yields results that are easy to quantify and prioritize according to their risk score. The scoring system enables the plant personnel to focus on tasks with the most severe hazards to achieve practical risk reduction.

This method also eliminates inconsistent, haphazard approaches to determining the severity of a potential hazard. The scoring system is determined and utilized by the team in the same manner.

In our experience providing industrial safety services to manufacturers in many industries, we often recommend using the risk assessment process as the basis and framework for designing and implementing an effective machine safety program. It is a thoughtful, dynamic and documented process that serves as proof of “due diligence.”

Though there is no way to make every workplace 100% safe, risk reduction can mitigate the hazard to a tolerable level to provide a reasonably safe working environment for all workers.

Why Task-Based Machine Risk Assessment Requires a Team

The preferred methodology for identifying risks is a team concept that includes all stakeholders that interact or have knowledge of interaction with the machine. These stakeholders should include:

  • Operations;
  • Production;
  • Management;
  • Engineering;
  • Sanitation;
  • Maintenance.

It’s important to consider shift work in the group makeup. For example, 3rd shift operators may interface with machines in a different manner than 1st shift operators. This may be due to differences in training, supervision, or the lack of supervision or management presence on a particular shift.

Similarly, each job function will interact with a machine in a different manner.

Since an operator’s interaction with a machine is repetitive under normal circumstances, this usually does not result in an identified hazard. The machine OEM anticipated the normal mode of operation and most likely addressed safety issues in design.

However, when there is a machine fault, the operator may attempt abnormal interaction with the machine that was not anticipated by the original design team. An example would be an equipment jam where the operator attempts to resolve the issue by reaching into the machine. This is a prime candidate for a potential hazard.

How Task-Based Machine Risk Assessment Works

Each task is identified and all interaction with the machine (people, parts, and other machines) are identified in a list format. Both normal and atypical tasks should be listed based on the experience of the personnel and the anticipation of what could occur. Projecting future scenarios is especially important for machinery that is not currently in use or has been recently commissioned.

Once the initial risk is assessed via the risk scoring system selected, it needs to be evaluated. If the risk is at a tolerable level, there are two options: Accept that outcome or attempt to lower the risk even more. This is usually answered very quickly by the group. If it is an easy and low cost fix, then it makes sense to reduce the risk more. If the cost and effort of mitigating the risk further are prohibitive, no more mitigation is required since the risk is already at an acceptable level.

Similarly, if the initial risk analysis yields an unacceptable risk level, then risk mitigation must take place in an iterative manner until the risk is reduced to a tolerable level. The process of risk assessment is shown in the figure below.

How Manufacturers Benefit

There are many indirect benefits to a manufacturer from a risk assessment, such as:

  • Increasing awareness of the hazards to all parties which may lead to avoidance;
  • Reducing the level and rate of injury through mitigation and awareness;
  • Increasing understanding of the operations;
  • Creating an opportunity to re-evaluate process;
  • Using a group effort to eliminate an unusable method of mitigation;
  • Potential for reduced cost of operation and increased productivity;
  • Decreasing overall cost of ownership by reducing costly accidents, OSHA fines, and litigation, and lowering insurance costs;
  • Protecting the company brand by minimizing negative press.

For manufacturers committed to industrial plant safety, task-based machine risk assessment is a vital process. Watch for future posts on this topic.

Matrix Technologies is one of the largest independent process design, industrial automation engineering, and manufacturing operations management companies in North America. To learn more about our risk assessment and industrial safety services, contact Tim Lemoine, PE, Senior Director of Strategic Technology.

© Matrix Technologies, Inc.

Using 3D Laser Scanning in Industrial Plant Design

Using 3D Laser Scanning in Industrial Plant Design

Advances in technology have dramatically improved quality and lowered costs for industrial automation engineering companies that design and build manufacturing facilities.

One of the latest advances is 3D laser scanning. Here’s an overview of how 3D laser scanning can enhance engineering accuracy, shorten project schedules, and improve coordination between engineering project teams and manufacturers.

The Evolution of Surveying Technology

Data collection technology was once a slow, labor-intensive operation with multiple technicians collecting field data using manual tape measuring devices, and pencil-to-paper data recording. The information collected was the starting point or canvas for a new building, process, or other infrastructure project. Field information was then delivered to the engineering office, where a second team of engineers and designers would assimilate the information and recreate existing topographic plans on drafting boards. Multiple surveying technicians transferring messy field information to an office technician who’d never been to the project site would many times lead to confusion and mistakes.

Back then, data collection technology was limited, cumbersome, and prone to mistakes.

Reflecting back on my earlier days spent collecting field data, I vividly remember performing topographic surveys with a three-person team. Two members of the team were responsible for the chain (or linear tape measure generally 100’ long), while a third operated the theodolite or instrument used to measure horizontal angles and vertical planes.

Once the baseline was established, two people determined the location of site objects by measuring the distance from the baseline using a handheld 90-degree prism and recording the station point from the baseline. It took a substantial amount of effort to collect a minimal amount of data with relatively low accuracy.

The next step in the evolution of data collection was the mainstream use of Total Stations, or electronic distance measurement devices (EDM), in the 1990s. The EDM would pulse a laser beam to a reflective prism, then calculate the distance based on frequency and wavelength of the returning signal. Data from the survey could either be stored on the EDM or on a handheld data collector.

Total Station

If you owned a typical Total Station, you likely had a two-person crew: one to operate the EDM and one to walk the reflective prism to locate objects. These EDMs had much greater accuracy and were able to download data points directly into CAD software. Later, more expensive versions of the instrument could be operated by single users. The EDM is still in use today due to its high accuracy which is required for surveying needs. However, for the collection of topographic information, the EDM can be slow as it reads only one data point at a time.

The 3D laser scanner survey came along in the 1990s but was not mainstream until after 2000. Like any new technology, entry-level price points were prohibitive. In addition, point cloud file sizes were generally too large to store and transfer between users.

The 3D laser scan is used to capture data information on existing structures, equipment, utilities, or manufacturing processes. 3D scanning will capture dimensional information on any existing objects or surfaces. Once this data is acquired, a point cloud is generated and used as the background or basis for a design.

How a 3D Laser Scanner Works

Faro 3D Scanner

Similar to a Total Station, a 3D scanner projects a laser onto a surface, which is then reflected back to the scanner. The scanner will analyze and compare the differences in reflected light frequency and the phase shift of the reflected wavelength to determine the object’s position in space.

The 3D scanner contains an internal mirror that rotates vertically in a full circle. In addition, the scanner will rotate horizontally in a full circle. This combination of a vertically- rotating mirror and horizontally rotating scanner produces a 3D point cloud in a sphere emanating from the scanner.

Target Arrangements

The value of a point cloud is to collect data-point information from all sides of an object. To do this, the scanner collects data information from multiple positions around that object. During the registration process, the software will “stitch” these scans together, creating one larger point cloud comprised of multiple scans.

Target Sphere

The scanner uses reference points, or targets, which are of known size and placed in the field-of-view during the scanning process. When the first scan is complete, the scanner is moved to scan position 2. The new placement must see at least three targets that were present in scan position 1. Three new targets are placed for the second scan, leaving six targets in the field, three of which are known to scan position 1. When the second scan is performed, scan positions 1 and 2 are tied together from the three initial spheres.

The scanning process continues, leapfrogging previously-scanned targets so there are always three reference spheres that were located in the previous scan. Depending on the complexity of the project, the final point cloud (which is created from the multiple scans) could be over 100 scans, each stitched together through the registration process.

Color Photographs

After completing the initial scan, the 3D scanner performs a second 360-degree rotation. During this event, the scanner will take color photographs of the previously scanned area. Each scan will include 85 color photos, which can be used by both the engineering team and the manufacturer to relay visual information to team members who are not on site, and to facilitate and coordinate design discussions.

Active Color Photo Example
Point Cloud Example


Scan Resolution

The quality (or resolution) of a scan determines the spacing between points, which determines the level of detail. As the scanning technician increases the scanning resolution on the instrument, more data points will be collected for an increased point-cloud density.

Generally, increased point density (resolution) improves the quality of the point cloud. Increased point density also adds to laser scanning time, as the laser moves at a slower pace to collect the increased number of data points. In addition, the final point cloud for a higher resolution will have substantially more points, thus increasing the overall file size.

Scanning Distance

Every 3D scanner has a maximum distance from which it can collect data. For example, the Faro Focus 3D X-130 has a maximum range of 130 meters, with a distance accuracy of +/- 2 mm. Unless the user is scanning tall buildings or long bridges, selecting a scanner with an extremely long scan range may not be needed for a typical project scan. More likely, the scanner has captured too much, or irrelevant data beyond your area of interest. Most of these irrelevant data points will be deleted during the data registration phase to simplify the point cloud and the reduced point-cloud file size.

Out With the Old, In With the New

Looking back on my early surveying days, I wonder how we could collect so little data with so many people for a price that was competitive. A crew of three would average 50 linear feet per man-hour to set the baseline and collect general topography information using a theodolite and traditional surveying tools.

Today, using 3D laser scanning technology, a scanning technician can collect substantially more information, more accurately, and have it completed in a greatly reduced timeframe, delivering powerful advantages to industrial engineering companies and project owners.

Matrix Technologies is one of the largest independent process design, industrial automation engineering, and manufacturing operations management companies in North America. To learn more about our 3D laser scanning services and multidiscipline engineering solutions, contact Mark O’Connell, PE, Associate Director of Capital Project Planning.

Click here to read Part 2: 5 Crucial Benefit Drivers

© Matrix Technologies, Inc.