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Harnessing 3D Scanning and Modelling for Plant Asset Integrity

June 12, 2023

A Journey from Terrestrial Scanning to AR/VR

The future of plant asset integrity rests firmly in the hands of technology. Among the numerous innovations shaping the field, 3D scanning and modeling have emerged as a potent tools for revolutionizing asset management in plant environments. This blog delves into how terrestrial 3D scanning and modeling techniques are being leveraged to bolster asset integrity, incorporating aspects like isometrics, Piping and instrumentation Diagrams (P&ID), and value-added elements such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR).

Terrestrial Scanning to AR/VR, image
Terrestrial Scanning to AR/VR

Terrestrial 3D scanning, a technology that uses lasers to capture the precise dimensions and layout of physical spaces has already shown its impact in a multitude of sectors. When employed in plant environments, this scanning technology enables engineers and managers to obtain a detailed understanding of plant infrastructure without resorting to the manual and time-consuming practices of traditional measurement methods. From intricate machinery to expansive floor plans, terrestrial 3D scanning presents an effective method for capturing high-resolution data that can be used to design, analyze, and maintain plant assets.

Terrestrial 3D scanning, image
Terrestrial 3D scanning

  • The application of 3d scanning and 3d modeling provides a comprehensive picture of plant integrity.
  • 3D scanning technology gathers detailed scan data, capturing the precise dimensions and layout of the plant.
  • 3D modeling software is then used to construct a virtual representation, a digital twin of the plant.
  • The virtual model serves as a replica of the plant, enabling engineers to examine the infrastructure in a digital environment.
  • By utilizing the digital twin, potential issues can be detected early on, allowing for proactive maintenance and optimization.
  • Engineers can analyze the virtual model to identify areas of concern, plan modifications, and optimize plant operations,
3D scanned data capturing 2d layout of the plant, images
3D scanned data capturing 2d layout of the plant

Within these 3D models, aspects like isometrics and P&ID play significant roles. Isometrics, referring to the three-dimensional representation of piping systems, come to life in these digital replicas. They provide valuable visual information about the plant's piping systems, including the size, length, and location of the pipes. On the other hand, P&IDs, schematic illustrations of the functional relationship among system components, become more interactive and accessible in the 3D environment. These graphical representations offer insights into the operation, maintenance, and safety protocols of the plant, thereby augmenting the integrity of plant assets.

3D representation of piping systems, image
3D representation of piping systems

The immersive experience of these 3D models is further enhanced by the integration of AR/VR technologies. With AR, digital data overlays onto the real-world environment, thereby providing workers with immediate access to critical information about the plant's assets at the site. From overlaying P&IDs onto the actual equipment for quick reference to providing guided instructions for maintenance procedures, AR significantly streamlines workflows and enhances operational efficiency. In contrast, VR offers an immersive simulation of the plant environment. By donning VR headsets, staff can navigate the virtual model of the plant, interact with its components, and perform safety drills or training exercises in a risk-free setting. This not only improves the understanding of plant operations but also prepares teams for emergency situations, fostering a proactive approach toward plant asset integrity.


the amalgamation of terrestrial 3D scanning, 3D modeling, isometrics, P&ID, and AR/VR technologies herald a new era for plant asset integrity management. By fostering accurate documentation, efficient workflows, and proactive maintenance strategies, these technologies empower plant environments to optimize their operations and safeguard their assets. The future of plant asset integrity is not just about preserving the past-it's about innovatively leveraging technology to secure the future.

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