Democratization of 3D laser scanning

3D laser scanning service providers have always had one big advantage with their business: the equipment is very expensive. This made the barrier to entry higher for anyone who is considering entering the market and starting a 3D laser scanning services company. For the last ten to fifteen years, the prices for 3D laser scanners have consistently ranged from $50,000 to $125,000 to get a commercial quality unit such as a Faro Focus 3D or a Leica Scanstation. But this year things have started to change, and change fast. When it comes to laser scanning prices, the bottom has dropped out. Suddenly, we have a 3D laser scanner from Leica called the BLK360 selling for just over $15,000. There are offerings from Faro in the low $20K’s. Thus begins the era of “democratization” of 3D laser scanning.

Democratization, according to Wikipedia, is the process by which access to technology rapidly continues to become more accessible to more people. We have seen it happen with 3D printers and many other technologies. 3D laser scanners are becoming affordable enough for companies to purchase the hardware rather than hire the service. However, there’s a catch.

The cheaper 3D laser scanners such as the BLK360 do not have the long range that the more expensive units have, so there are limits to the situations in which they are useful. They also require software and accessory purchases that probably would have been included with a more expensive scanner. So the democratization process is still just in the beginning stages. But I don’t think anyone can deny that it is inevitable.

While the low-cost 3D laser scanners are definitely a new milestone, before rushing out and buying that hot deal, consider this. 3D laser scanning is not an easy button and requires good planning and execution to be successful. If performed incorrectly, one could potentially end up with large quantites of scans that are either useless or unreliable. Even worse, they could contain inaccuracies while appearing perfectly normal and accurate to the user. So at least for the time being, in many cases the wise decision is to turn to an experienced 3D laser scanning services company to make sure your scanning project is done right. That is why we recommend that you call Arrival 3D at 866-687-7784 for all of your 3D laser scanning needs.

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