3D Competitive Advantage
Kapur and Associates, is a multi-discipline, consulting engineering firm with four offices in Wisconsin and one in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1981, the firm ranges in size from 150 – 200 people and is partially employee owned with approximately 1/3 being involved with survey.
Kapur has been growing steadily over the past couple of years performing heavy construction layout, road topos, DOT work, site survey and energy – related projects, not just in the Midwest, but all over the country. In addition, they have become known for their 3D laser scanning capability. Here’s some insight in how they were able to accomplish that.
Their first terrestrial scanner was purchased about eight years ago. The firm currently owns three scanners, including two RIEGL VZ 400’s. Kapur quickly realized the potential of the technology and began to develop a reputation for being able to provide high quality, 3D laser scanning services.
Kapur built their 3D laser scanning business through a gradual buildup to the point now where they have a sustainable backlog of projects. Over the years, they have developed a wide variety of experience with site, highway and industrial plant experience. At the same time, they have kept their eye on the business end of scanning, which can sometimes get lost in the data processing. They realize that they have to manage servers, staff and the deliverables, not just point clouds and scanners.
Sean Warther has been working with 3D laser scanning for the past seven years and has been involved with Kapur’s most challenging 3D projects. The following is a small sample of these projects.
The first is the Hoan Bridge, a 2-mile-long structure that spans the entranceway to Milwaukee’s inner harbor while providing a critical link in the cities’ transportation network. The Wisconsin DOT hired Kapur to scan the superstructure for a major rehab project. This ongoing project has resulted in more than 1500 static scans and data extraction services for roughly a 4-year period.
Also in Milwaukee, Kapur was selected to document the existing conditions on 30 bridges of varying type. This information was used to analyze a number of potential conflicts with clearance.
Kapur’s use of 3D scanning is not limited to major infrastructure projects. They routinely use the RIEGL scanners on site design projects to document existing conditions. Sean noted, “Our designers like to work with a combination of photos and point clouds to get a better understanding of the site. They don’t have to guess about the shape of a tree, they can make measurements on it in the point cloud and see it in 3D.”
On the plant side, Kapur has done a number of projects involving the scanning of large assembly lines. These required 200 to 300 scans per plant to create floor plans that were being used for fire suppression and to look for conflicts in moving equipment in and out. Sean recalled, “We tried to use a lightweight scanner, but found that the vibration in the plants was too much. We did not have any problems with the RIEGL’s.”
On a Final Note
As we have seen, not only is RIEGL’s world class hardware technology enabling Kapur to increase their productivity on a wide range of projects but on the software side, Ri-SCAN Pro is making it much easier for field crews to know that they have collected all of the needed data before they leave the field. “The software allows us to register the scans in the field as we are working,” Sean noted.
Sean followed up, “We can import the control at the start, collect the data and before we leave the field, we can look at multiple scans, check the residuals, see the standard deviation and know that we have the desired accuracy.”
In closing, Sean noted, “Our early investment in RIEGL hardware and software technology has allowed us to develop a 3D competency that gives us a significant competitive advantage.”