C+S March 2022 Vol. 8 Issue 3 (web)


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After more than a decade working for a South African survey com- pany, engineering surveyor Danie Roelvert felt the time was right to “fly on his own.” “I felt I’d reached a ceiling in the company and needed to pursue something different,” says Roelvert. “I considered starting my own business, but it didn’t feel like the right move at the time, so I pursued other opportunities. When those either didn’t work out, I took that as a sign that I was supposed to take a chance on my own venture. I’m so glad I listened.” On Apr. 1, 2020, Roelvert officially launched Pinpoint 3D, right around the time the country issued a level 5 Covid-19 lockdown––the highest and strictest shutdown possible. Despite the unfortunate timing, Roelvert has not only found success in providing laser scanning and surveying services, but he’s created a niche ship-scanning application in Africa, delivering 3D imaging to ship owners who need to retrofit equipment and comply with new mandates for ballast water treatment systems. New reality In September 2017, a treaty adopted by the United Nations’ Inter - national Maritime Organization (IMO) to help prevent the spread of potentially harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens in ships' ballast water became a reality. Under the order, ships must manage their bal - last water so that aquatic organisms and pathogens are removed or rendered harmless before the ballast water is released into a new loca- tion––marine protection that will help prevent the spread of invasive species as well as potentially harmful pathogens. For the shipping industry, that means most ships will need to install special equipment to treat the ballast water. Although phased in over time, all individual ships that meet the treaty’s vessel eligibility must be fitted with the required treatment system by September 2024. And that has buoyed Roelvert’s burgeoning business with ample opportunities. “Laser scanning is the perfect and only answer to this problem,” says Roelvert, whose company is based in Pretoria, South Africa. “Ships are in port for a limited time so you need to work efficiently and ensure you collect everything the client needs because you don’t have another opportunity to rescan once the ship sets sail. The speed, versatility and data density of laser scanning enables you to quickly set up in cramped spaces and capture the fine, detailed elements of entire engine or pump rooms in a few hours. With that virtual environment, designers can place pipes exactly where they need and ensure they’ll tie together.” Roelvert got his first ship-scanning opportunity five months after South Africa’s first lockdown was lifted. And he was undeniably giddy. Buoyed by Success An aspiring surveyor launches his own business scanning ships By Mary Jo Wagner

The 28,000-ton bulk carrier, Melina, sits in the Durban port. Photo: Danie Roelvert, Pinpoint 3D

“I love ships,” he says. “They’re so majestic. The engineering is awe- some. I’ve always wanted to go to the engine room and see how it works. So when I got a call from a guy who said he found my name online and had a client who needed a ship scanned in a South African port in Saldanha, I said, ‘I can absolutely do it’ even though I’d never done it before. I provided 89 as-found scans for new design work and it was amazing. First time in the engine room, meeting the captain, and seeing how everything works. It was a dream come true.” Roelvert is typically only given a few days' warning from operators who need vessels scanned so he needs to be ready to work at a mo- ment’s notice. Marine architects and designers provide him with draw- ings of the ship’s layout and circle in red the specific areas or pieces A final result of point cloud data captured of the MV Intrepid post-processed with Trimble RealWorks software. Photo: Danie Roelvert, Pinpoint 3D


March 2022 csengineermag.com

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