Is Reality Capture the Next Step in Digital Twinning?
Numerous industrial automation companies presented digital technologies at the Reality Capture Network Conference (RCN), running 13-14 October.
Laser scanning technology has been around for about 50 years but has recently boomed in the industrial automation industry. The solutions showcased at the event aim to help the industrial sector, including laser scanning, drones/UAV, point clouds, building information modeling (BIM), virtual reality (VR), survey control, 3D modeling/digital twin, and more.
Cintoo Cloud specializes in developing collaboration and user access management tools for the oil and gas, manufacturing, and energy industries, specifically in BIM and Industry 4.0. According to Dominique Pouliquen, Cintoo’s CEO, over 80% of Cintoo’s clients are located in North America.
The company’s digital solutions provide rapid access to various collaboration, measurement, and analysis tools designed to ensure that decision-making is based on an accurate picture of the as-built situation to avoid unscheduled downtime and related financial losses.
EETech Media and Marketing’s Director of Engineering, Dale Wilson, trying out Cintoo’s VR technology.
Cintoo Cloud’s flagship solutions comprise terrestrial laser scanning and digital twins technologies. These tools can then digitalize scan and BIM / CAD processes further by introducing cloud-based workflows, thus multiplying the collaborative opportunities for specific applications.
Pouliquen explained that for data to become cloud-compatible, Cintoo turns the point cloud data into mesh surfaces because point cloud can be unreliable. The mesh helps compress the data, and can easily be reversed back into point clouds without losing accuracy, if necessary. This technology is patent-pending in the U.S.
Cintoo’s goal is to make Cintoo Cloud “the single hub and unique source of trusted data.” Another aspect of Cintoo Cloud is VR, which utilizes mesh-streaming technology. Pouliquen compared mesh-streaming to streaming video on Netflix. Instead of downloading and mesh and waiting for it to render, Cintoo can stream the meshes in real-time and augment the scan data (e.g., adding equipment).
The Cintoo Cloud and VR can help with predictive maintenance and safety checks by simulating the equipment in 3D before sending an engineer into the field. “It’s all about making sure the environment is secure,” noted Pouliquen.
In addition to environmental security, Cintoo also cares about cybersecurity. On top of a high level of security on par with Microsoft Azure, the company also runs penetration tests every six months.
ClearEdge3D also focuses on digital solutions for industrial automation, particularly automated feature extraction, laser scanning, and 3D modeling.
A design created using EdgeWise. Video used courtesy of ClearEdge3D
At RCN, the company presented its EdgeWise as-built modeling platform, which uses advanced algorithms to automate repetitive scan-to-BIM workflows. EdgeWise can model as-built pipes, walls, cable trays, ducts, structural elements, conduit, and from both mobile and terrestrial point clouds.
According to ClearEdge, EdgeWise is significantly faster than traditional manual modeling techniques, as well as more accurate thanks to advanced QA tools that enable accuracy verification of the fit.
The solution also features cloud capabilities to enable the export points of objects not modeled in EdgeWise (e.g., machinery). The software is reportedly fully integrated with all major design platforms, allowing firms to bring intelligent models and families into Revit, Plant3D, PDMS, and more.
U.S. CAD’s portfolio of mechanical, electrical, & plumbing (MEP) solutions and services are designed to help companies in several project areas. The business provides four different types of software designed to facilitate digitalization efforts worldwide.
The first two are Autodesk Revit and Autodesk BIM 360. While they are both built for BIM applications, Revit enables professionals to design, build, and maintain higher-quality, more energy-efficient buildings.
BIM 360, on the other hand, specializes in enabling engineers to connect data and processes from design through construction and operations.
In addition to the Autodesk products, U.S. CAD also offers BIM PRO, a cloud-based plug-in solution for Autodesk Revit, as well as FAB PRO, a cloud-based fabrication shop management solution.
The Reality Capture Network Conference
One of the panel discussions at RCN 2021.
Control Automation attended the conference in their headquarters location of Boise, Idaho, between 13-14 October. RCN brought together hundreds of professionals interested in the digitalization of manufacturing and construction.
RCN featured over 25 sessions, comprised of presentations, panel discussions, and more. Several industry-leading hardware and software vendors attended the in-person event, including Cintoo Cloud, ClearEdge3D, and U.S. CAD. Other attendees included survey and laser-based companies such as Leica, Nexus3D, and OMICRON. In the following days, Control Automation will continue to highlight more companies that attended RCN.
What do you expect to see from RCN 2022?