Peterborough, UK based OAL has been involved in designing, implementing and automating innovative engineering solutions for the world’s food industry for more than 20 years. The company boasts a unique range of competencies, including automation, design, mechanical capabilities and product development. The scope of the company’s in-house skills allied to two decades of in-depth experience means that OAL’s specialists have a thorough understanding of the majority of systems that are used in a food manufacturing facility.
OAL count some of the world’s largest food producing corporations as customers and have delivered a range of projects, including advanced materials handling solutions, to some of the largest installations in the UK. To ensure that the company continues to be regarded as a leader in its chosen field, OAL make regular investments in advanced technology that helps guarantee the quality of its work and enables the efficient completion of its projects.
The requirement to speed-up the laborious measurement and drawing process that takes place prior to embarking on a plant installation, or system modification, recently prompted the purchase of a Focus3D X 30 laser scanner from FARO UK.
Jake Norman, OAL Innovation and Marketing Manager explained “In an ideal world every factory would have accurate, fully dimensioned 2D/3D drawings of every aspect of each facility, so that proposed plant modifications could be easily assessed and defined. In reality, the first steps when considering remodelling a plant to meet the demands of new products, often involves an extremely time-consuming measurement and drawing process.
“We believed that for complex plants these crucial procedures were taking too long and that at times it was difficult to achieve the desired levels of dimensional accuracy. This lack of visual dimensional information often meant that initial discussions related to new layouts, at a senior level, were delayed or made more difficult by relying on inaccurate layouts.
“We have since transformed our measurement and drawing processes with the purchase of a FARO Focus3D X 30 laser scanner.
“The use of our FARO Focus3D purchased from FARO UK for 3D factory scanning, now provides us with fast, precise 2D/3D drawings and layouts. We can now quickly deliver a complete 3D “walk-through” model of the factory with full point measurement to an accuracy of 2mm. Our specialist team can visit a facility and rapidly and precisely scan a single area or the entire site. Depending on facilities’ equipment complexity and size, sometimes we need to make multiple scans.
“At each position the scanner captures an impressive 976,000 measurement points per second in a full 360° data capture. Once multiple scans for a single area have been finished the team completes a post processing routine to register millions of data elements, enabling the creation of a scanned ‘point cloud.’ At this stage a full ‘3D walk through’ of that area is available. We then repeat the process for other areas of the factory under measurement with post processing, including joining individual ‘point clouds’ together, creating a ‘project point cloud’ of the entire site.
“The key benefits of using the Focus3D X 30 include the creation of 3D layouts to the required accuracy, the ability to dimension and annotate any 3D element and to create an accurate, realistic 3D ‘walk through’ of the ‘as installed’ plant.
“Now, all plant remodelling is based on accurate data so the entire design process is much quicker, whilst accurate information is available for optimal reverse engineering. Finally, at the project installation stage, the availability of accurate data ensures that our new parts fit first time.”
Combining the highest-precision scanning technology with true mobility and ease-of-use, the FARO Focus3D X 30 laser scanner, as purchased by OAL, enables fast, straightforward, and accurate measurements of objects and buildings. It precisely records architectural and as-built features, complex structures, production and supply facilities and large-volume components and delivers realistic and true-to-detail scan results.
Paul Woolner, OAL Lead Designer added. “Prior to our laser scanner purchase, we used a laser tape measure to measure facilities prior to designing and installing new plant or modifying existing plant. Although this system was able to provide fairly good results we felt that a laser scanner would be able to considerably improve our accuracy capability and slash the time taken to capture the required results. Now in regular use, our FARO Scanner has delivered in both areas. Also, given the size and complexity of many of the plants that we need to measure, our ability to now remotely scan them, rather than access them physically, is proving much safer.
“Following the on-site training provided by FARO UK staff, our team soon became familiar with the equipment’s basic functions. As the device is very easy to use, through the course of our work we soon became proficient in its more advanced functions. The personnel who had the initial training have been able to pass-on their knowledge to other colleagues, now, 20 OAL staff are able to use the FARO scanner.
“Although the scanner is also used in-house, as it is easy to transport and quick to set-up it is used predominantly onsite. In addition to its practical use, when employed at our customers’ premises’ our FARO equipment gives our customers assurances related to OAL’s professionalism and our quest for high levels of accuracy.”
FARO develops and markets portable CMMs (coordinate measuring machines) and 3D imaging devices to solve dimensional metrology problems. Technology from FARO permits high-precision 3D measurement, imaging and comparison of parts and compound structures within production and quality assurance processes. The devices are used for inspecting components and assemblies, production planning, documenting large volume spaces or structures in 3D, and more. FARO’s 3D measurement technology allows companies to maximize efficiencies and improve processes
The fast and accurate laser scanners Focus3D X Series offers all of the advanced features expect from professional 3D laser scanners – with FARO’s established and well-known level of simplicity. As the smallest and lightest laser scanners on the market the robust and quick to set-up Focus3D X Series are ideal portable measuring tools for both indoor and outdoor applications.