High-tech laser scanner helps construct panels for VC’s Emerging Technology Complex
Wayne Wagner, product development specialist with Firestone Building Products, explains how the Leica Geosystems C10 laser measuring device works. The device is being used to construct interior panels for Victoria College’s Emerging Technology Complex.
Wayne Wagner, product development specialist with Firestone Building Products, explains how the Leica Geosystems C10 laser measuring device works. The device is being used to construct interior panels for Victoria College’s Emerging Technology Complex.

It’s no bigger than a piece of carry-on luggage, but the Leica Geosystems C10 laser measuring device can map buildings and locations in three dimensions and in such detail as to include fingerprints on panel steel.

The device is used to construct interior panels for Victoria College’s Emerging Technology Complex.

“By using the UNA-SCAN digital field dimension tool to measure the building, it allows us to manufacture the metal wall panels to fit precisely,” said Wayne Wagner, product development specialist with Firestone Building Products.”

The high-definition, high-accuracy mapping and surveying device emits a rapidly pulsing laser beam and automatically rotates around its vertical axis. This results in a systematic sweep of the beam over the area. When the beam hits an object, some of its energy bounces back to the scanner. A timer uses that to calculate the distance from the object to the scanner.

For each distance measure, additional data is recorded. Multiple scans are then stitched or registered together. The resulting scan is a 3-D coordinate measurement. Matching photos help add color and texture to the scanned area. Using a camera built into the scanner or an external camera, photos can be automatically merged using scan data. Scans can also be geo-referenced to local coordinate systems just like conventional surveys.

The device is moved to different vantage points for different scans.

The operator positions the scanner, pushes a button and lets the scanner do the work, Wagner said.

“It really eliminates multiple trips to the job site to resolve measurement issues,” he said.

A small screen at the rear of the machine displays a three-dimensional image in two dimensions. Plugin software allows the transfer of data from the scanner to a laptop.

White globes resembling light fixtures are placed at different points of the room and used as targets or reference points.
“I use one type of target to be consistent,” Wagner reported. “That way, you mitigate error.”

“It measured the Emerging Technology Center accurately,” Wagner said. “This tells what the room measurements really are. We scan the whole thing and build the panels.”

Dr. Larry Garrett, VC’s executive director of special projects, said it was appropriate to see this process used in building VC’s Emerging Technology Complex.

“It shows the kind of sophistication that technology has brought to the construction industry, and why VC is working to train the workforce in both traditional and technological skills,” Garrett said. “There’s still plenty of demand for traditional trades like carpentry, plumbing, and masonry, but on any job you see these craftsmen also working with laser measurement and GPS locators. You will find electricians and HVAC technicians running around here with a hard hat, a tool belt, and a laptop.”

Published: Wednesday, 10 December 2014
 

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