Optimised processes with 3D laser scanning

Bringing Digital to Life 25 February 2016 Stefan Soost

State-of-the-art technology and innovative methodologies can deliver significant financial benefits, says Lau Jensen, Head of 3DLaser Scanning & Survey at Ramboll Oil & Gas.

4 min

One of the main trends in the oil and gas industry is the considerable amount of relentlessly on-going brownfield modification works. Modifications and expansions are typically initiated to adapt a facility to increasing/decreasing production, carry out lifetime extension or keep the facility up to date with recent safety requirements. The sustainability of the data that is being used for operation, maintenance and facility expansions is critical to the success of all brownfield projects.

In order to accommodate these costly and timely processes, market leaders in the field use 3D laser scanning, which both optimises processes and increases human safety offshore. Ramboll, for example, has worked with 3D laser scanning and 3D surveying both onshore and offshore since the late 1990s.

The technology enables the creation of ‘as built’ assets digitally, thus safeguarding against geometrical errors and ensuring new designs are precisely tailored to fit existing layouts. Using 3D scanning is thus a risk management tool that eliminates risks throughout the entire project phase from design to installation.

The benefits of 3D laser scanning

3D surveying is ideal for facilitating quicker implementation of projects allowing for substantial financial benefits. The scans can be used for clash checks, controlling new components before their assembly and enable quicker assembly with fewer problems, less hot work, shorter downtime and less offshore man hours for offshore projects. Moreover, the human errors that invariably follow from traditional survey methods are reduced to a minimum with 3D laser scanning. In this way 3D surveying has a risk mitigation factor in projects.

The survey process itself is also made safe by state-of-the-art equipment. Total stations are utilised for carrying out dimension control surveys both offshore and onshore, which allows crews to attain measurements within millimetre accuracy and at the same time avoiding human interface. We have performed dimension control survey projects on offshore facilities, like deck extension surveys, best fit analysis for prefabricated decks, spool surveys showing flange face tilt and bolt orientations.

The company is one of just a few globally to own explosion proof (EX proof) laser scanners. Having EX rated equipment at their disposal allows teams to carry out surveys while the facility is in operation, which means avoiding costly shutdown periods while adhering to the strictest safety requirements. 

Fine-tuning performance

Ramboll has worked with 3D laser scanning and surveying since the late 1990s and their comprehensive hands-on experience with 3D technology has enabled them to fine-tune all processes in performing 3D laser scanning and surveys offshore as well as onshore.

The combination of a uniquely developed in-house methodology and acquisition of highly advanced equipment allows the most competitive providers to carry out large-scale offshore and onshore laser scanning projects by engaging only one- or two-man scanning crews. Time expenditure has also been reduced significantly over recent years in comparison to traditional methods of laser scanning.