Like most industries, Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) and manufacturing have struggled during the pandemic, as the prolonged shutdown continues to hamper construction and production. Given the limited ability to be on site or operate at full capacity, the Aerospace and Automotive sectors in particular have been adversely impacted. The ongoing challenges related to supply chains have only exacerbated the situation. The encouraging news, however, is that with vaccines now in distribution, there is guarded optimism that a global recovery is on the horizon. In fact, Morgan Stanley forecasts a 6% growth in the global GDP this year, and the US stock market, a leading indicator of future economic growth, recently hit a record high. As the global economy begins to roar back, there are indications that construction and manufacturing activity may approach pre-pandemic levels by the year end. As these industries effectively navigate the new normal, leveraging the advantages brought to light through 3D reality data and emerging technologies like Digital Twin is enabling them to adapt even more quickly.
There is little doubt that the pandemic accelerated the need for more digital solutions across construction and manufacturing. This unanticipated health crisis, which essentially halted travel worldwide, has clearly hastened the need for remote collaboration. As projects and production move forward, and decisions and routine inspections are made, the need to share accurate real-time 3D data that can be accessed remotely has never been greater.
As it is the digital transformation to Industry 4.0 was under way prior to the Covid outbreak, with many efficient solutions for designing, building and managing projects coming to the market. A few years ago, the design stage was a much more complex process, with little ability to understand the entire project lifecycle from afar. That’s not the case today. Smart technology now allows the use of 3D point Cloud data to provide a highly accurate as-built picture of all operations, which means that projects and production can be managed from anywhere.
Gathering real-time data using advanced hardware and software workflows, combined with remote sharing of the final output with project owners, is fast becoming the expectation. Prefab modular construction in a controlled factory environment is another example of the digital transformation that continues to yield economies of scale.
Information powering decisions
Digitalizing facilities for remote management provides total visibility to anything being built in the field and leads to great efficiencies, apart from ensuring quality control across all operations and avoiding costly rework. Moreover, autonomous routines are increasingly possible by way of mobile and robotic platforms that utilize the latest reality capture solutions to monitor daily progress.
For AEC professionals, the latest virtual capabilities have allowed managers and engineers to remotely share data over the Cloud to make fast, informed decisions. With the development and implementation of quality assurance and control software, project owners can continuously monitor the building lifecycle progression in real-time. This process, in conjunction with 3D reality data capture, provides the ability to verify that the BIM workflow aligns with actual proposed build in the field. Standards can be executed throughout every step of the project and managers can determine what is within tolerance at any given stage. Up-to-date information means decisions can be made before any hidden errors compound change orders in the field, providing significant yields in time, resources and performance.
In manufacturing, new model introductions that once took years are being accelerated. Most production tasks can now be done with little physical contact with the actual facility. Large capital cost industries like Automotive and Aerospace with large physical footprints can literally manage their entire workflows — from offices to operations and production — by accessing a high-accuracy 3D Digital Twin tool that allows them to selectively use and share this information with internal stakeholders as well as critical suppliers, and ultimately reduce time to market and cost.
Innovation shaping next-generation workflows
The new FARO Focus Swift is the first fully integrated indoor mobile mapping solution. Designed to accomplish largearea as-built capturing tasks with minimal time and effort, this lightweight and highly portable extension of our Focus laser scanner delivers better data faster, enabling AEC industry professionals to balance between accuracy and efficiency. Depending on accuracy requirements, Swift is capable of taking mobile scans of large complex areas up to 10 times faster than traditional static scans. Users can directly import these datasets into any CAD system to simplify their modeling plan with automated processes and optimize their scan-to-BIM workflow.
The latest release of FARO WebShare Software supports large manufacturing enterprises by giving them the ability to view, manage and migrate their facilities more rapidly as a result of being able to broadly share the right data with the right stakeholders.
The WebShare Enterprise feature allows data to be stored on a company’s private server or Cloud infrastructure, ensuring full control over the security of its 3D reality data and a fast and easy way to provide access and share project management workflows. The Enterprise feature also offers single sign-on (SSO) support to simplify the log-on process and avoid managing multiple passwords. A key component of a smart factory is its Digital Twin — a comprehensive 3D digital copy of the facility. Our recent acquisition of Advanced Technical Solutions (ATS) — a Sweden-based leader in 3D Digital Twin solution technology with a proprietary traceable 3D system that enables highly accurate and repeatable 3D scans within our WebShare platform — bolsters our ability to improve customers’ decision time, with 10x faster 3D imaging at up to 1mm accuracy. Our vision is to help accelerate the adoption of this technology, particularly in the construction and manufacturing space, through the ability to operate and maintain buildings and facilities with 3D reality data as part of a Digital Twin. This capability will also enhance safety and provide an early line of sight when repairs and updates need to be made.