3D scanning nightmares
3D scanning services - not always as easy as it seems
Providing 3D scanning services is a great job and affords one many wonderful experiences. You get to see parts of the country and the world that most people would be able to, especially the inner workings of many fabulous American companies. But not every 3D scan is a walk in the park. There is a sinister side to the industry, one that we don’t talk about much.
At Arrival 3D we pride ourselves in taking the utmost safety precautions when performing onsite 3D scanning. This includes safety training and utilization of PPE (personal protective equipment) and just using smart work practices. We have never had an accident but sometimes the area that needs to be scanned just happens to be in a location that causes the mind to wonder – what if? For example, scanning in the vicinity of a nuclear reactor core. Of course, the facility has all safety precautions in place, and dosimeters in use clearly show we are in no danger. But with the recent showing of the Chernobyl television drama, it doesn’t take much to imagine what could happen, the stuff of nightmares.
We are often called to provide 3d scanning services in buildings that have been re-purposed. One such example was a theater at a mall that had closed some time back, which was set to be re-opened as a trampoline park. There was no power to the building, so our scanning technician had two conduct two days of scanning in pitch black. Now, two days in a pitch black environment can cause the mind to wander. Shadows cast on the wall, catching side glimpses of movement, was that someone walking over there? It takes a disciplined mind to make it through such a scan without freaking out. Another situation was the scanning of a hospital basement where there were stored many gurneys and hospital beds with sheets covering them. Now a hospital is a place of healing but as we know, also a place where many souls pass from this life to the next. If one believes in ghosts, a hospital basement is probably a place you would possibly find one.
If I had my way, everything that needed to be scanned would be no higher than 8 ft off the ground. But we know that is not the case. Wind turbine nacelles, power plant boiler units, material transfer towers, and really tall buildings all have engineering needs, and benefit from 3D scanning. One of our scanning technicians is slightly acrophobic. Despite the safety of harnesses, man-lifts, catwalk and hand rails, there is still that terrifying sensation of peering down from great heights, imagining what a fall from such height would be like. Its only human nature to avoid such situations.
As a 3D scanning services that comes to you, we make full use of our great airline system in the USA. But as great as our airlines are, there are times that travel is not so great. Times like when you spend days carefully packing for the job and arrive onsite, but your bag didn’t make it. Or being stuck in a “stopover” city overnight due to an airplane crew not showing up, or just having your flight cancelled altogether. While I guess there is nothing unique about our bad experiences with the airlines, they can be nightmares all the same. And when a 3D scan is on the line the stakes can be higher. For example, some plants shut down just for the purposes of the scan. Or they may have a narrow window of opportunity to scan for other reasons. When the schedule gets missed, people get upset.
When we scan a plant or factory, we can do it without disrupting operations. The process is very unintrusive, and we can usually place the scanner tripod where it is needed without getting in anybody’s way. When we do need to get in the way, it is usually only for a few minutes. But scanning an operational facility also means working in close proximity with other people and forklifts. We had one instance where a technician turned his back on a scanner and before he knew it, a forklift had backed into it. In case you were wondering, the forklift won. Our poor scanner now sits on the shelf defunct. But thanks to our great customer who took responsibility, its replacement is out staring down forklifts of its own.