Roelvert started on the lowest deck of the engine room and worked his way up, mindful of the sway of the ship and the heat of the room. He positioned the scanner to both capture the particular elements highlighted by the client and an extended boundary for proper scan overlap. For each set up, he collected a full-color scan and a set of corresponding photos in about two minutes––a few scans requiring exceptional detail took four minutes. After each scan, he reviewed the 3D image using Trimble Perspective software on his T10 tablet to confirm that he clearly recorded the important assets positions and that there was enough overlap to connect scans together. Within six hours, Roelvert captured 82 scans with data quality that was well within precision requirements. “Clients typically require density and accuracy specifications relevant to a particular scanner that has become popular for engine rooms,” says Roelvert. “With that scanner, it takes about 5.5 min per set up for a color scan. With the X7 the same density and quality of data requires about 2.5 min set up. So it saves you a lot of time and I get more data detail.” Although Roelvert says final registration and refinement can be done on a tablet on site with the X7, he prefers to post-process the data using Trimble RealWorks, a software solution specifically designed for point cloud processing and analysis. Loading his registered scans into the software, he used automated cleaning tools to eliminate any extraneous noise and then rendered the 3D dataset into a complete colorized model of the ship’s engine room and control room. “I won’t use any software other than RealWorks for post processing scanning data,” says Roelvert. “It’s clean up and registration tools are excellent and it renders data beautifully. I actually look forward to processing data with it.” Off the ships, Roelvert has taken the X7 on other projects to further experiment with the technology. Last October, for example, he used the laser scanner for an excavation project in the Johannesburg central business district. After demolishing a building and excavating 30 m down, crews inserted piling on the sides for reinforcement. Roelvert’s client needed to know how much available space there was for under- ground parking and other elements. He set up at the bottom and collected full dome scans of all sides of the open space. Then he elevated a tripod about 3-meters high and set the scanner on top to capture the surface. In one hour, he acquired 12 full color scans. Although Roelvert welcomes all the new opportunities that continue to come his way, he feels most fortunate that he can combine his two passions — ships and laser scanning — and make a living from it. For Roelvert, timing has indeed been everything.
of equipment they want scanned. It’s Roelvert’s job then to figure out how to capture that information to create one complete model of the entire area of interest. Since that first ship-scanning assignment, Roelvert has scanned several more ships in South Africa and West Africa, including an offshore fuel tanker in Togo, which challenged his motion-sickness vulnerabilities, and a bulk carrier in the South African port of Durban, which tested his technical skills. The various assignments have given him the op- portunity to utilize different scanners for different jobs, experience that has helped him determine which technology best suits his business. “The Trimble X7 is the best all-rounder scanner,” says Roelvert. “It has speed, good quality data, efficiency, and most importantly, versatil - ity. I want to be able to put it in a backpack and fly off, and the X7 is perfect for that. Its on-site registration is incredibly valuable and saves me significant time. And its software solutions enable me to load project data such as a design file, and after scanning a particular asset, I can immediately see if that planned equipment will fit or if there are obstructions that might be a problem. That data depth is really valuable for the client.” Confined space scanning For the Durban project in April 2021, Roelvert was tasked with scan- ning six areas of interest (AOI) across three decks of the engine and control rooms of the Melvina, a 28,000-ton bulk carrier. Of critical importance was capturing specific flange positions and connecting pipes targeted for replacement. “Because you’re in a confined and congested space, you can eas - ily not capture enough detail on the important elements,” he says. “The scanner’s in-field registration option ensures that I capture all the important pipes, flanges, and pumps, which is critical for clients because parts are prefabricated while the ship is in transit and then installed at its next port. So if data is inaccurate, that can be costly.” In addition to ship scanning, Roelvert is using the Trimble X7 for other applications such as capturing as-is information for upgrades at a pump station. Photo: Danie Roelvert, Pinpoint 3D
MARY JO WAGNER is a Freelance Writer, Editor, and Media Consultant based in Vancouver, BC. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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