A Guide to Harnessing the Power of LIDAR Technology to Create Accurate Digital Twins for Increased Manufacturing Efficiency
As more manufacturers align to the digital world and start to appreciate the benefits of digitising their operations by developing digital twins, we have found a greater demand for our services in helping to put the key foundations for such projects in place.
Digital twins help you to strategize, create, develop, and test alternate manufacturing solutions in the virtual world, without risk to the companies’ core day-to-day business operations.
As a company we support businesses on their digital journey in two ways. Firstly, through our consultative approach which can help clients review their current operations and introduce new processes, flows, optimise production and reduce any bottlenecks in the business. Secondly by the initial data capture of their existing operation for use in digital twinning, using large volume 3D data capture technology, such as Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR).
Leveraging cutting-edge technology like LIDAR and digital twins is essential for businesses to maintain a competitive edge. For those in the manufacturing industry, understanding the importance of digital twins and the role of LIDAR systems can make all the difference.
Here we provide a top-level introduction to digital twins and LIDAR systems for both experienced professionals and novices alike. We will also discuss how photogrammetry can be combined with LIDAR data to improve accuracy and explore the critical aspects that clients should consider when using this technology.
So, firstly what are Digital Twins, LIDAR, and photogrammetry?
What is a Digital Twin in Manufacturing?
A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical asset, process, or system, which enables real-time monitoring, analysis, and optimisation of its counterpart. Digital twins are widely used in manufacturing, infrastructure management, and other industries to improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and facilitate informed decision-making.
The benefit of digital twins is that you can review potential new processes, systems, and equipment for your business, in a virtual environment via your digital twin, before having to move such planning into the physical real world. This therefore allows you to fine tune your ideas, reducing subsequent disruption as the ideas are adopted into the business’ operations.
LIDAR Systems explained.
LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is a remote sensing technology that uses laser light to measure distances and capture highly accurate 3D data. LIDAR systems can generate precise digital representations of various environments, making them ideal for creating digital twins of manufacturing facilities and other complex spaces. There are a range of LIDAR systems, and it is crucial that the right system is selected for the specific project. Selecting the wrong system can leave you with additional cost in the downstream processing of the scan data.
LIDAR and Photogrammetry Integration
While LIDAR is highly effective on its own, it can be combined with photogrammetry to further enhance the accuracy and detail of a digital twin. Photogrammetry is the science of obtaining reliable measurements from photographs, often used to create 3D models of objects or environments.
By integrating LIDAR and photogrammetry data, you can achieve a more comprehensive and precise digital twin that accurately represents the physical characteristics of the facility. We have used photogrammetry for years in combination with our 3D structured light systems when used for inspection and metrology. Now we can further utilise this technology in different ways and for very different requirements.
It is key to understand how the Downstream Data will be used.
Capturing data with LIDAR and photogrammetry is a skill, and it is crucial to understand how the downstream data will be utilised in the client’s project.
One of the first thing we discuss with clients is how they will ultimately use the data. This is to understand their downstream requirements and will include important aspects such as the accuracy and resolution they need, whether they require colour scan data etc.
If our clients are intending to process the data themselves, it is essential that we understand how to best deliver that data, ensuring that it is a manageable data set, and in the correct format for your uses.
The true value of a digital twin lies in its ability to facilitate process optimisation, predictive maintenance, and informed decision-making for stakeholders.
Here we have listed a few additional points that may help, although they are not exhaustive.
Key Points for Clients to Consider with LIDAR Digital Twins
When employing LIDAR technology to create digital twins, clients should consider the following:
- Data accuracy and resolution: Ensure that the LIDAR system and photogrammetry techniques to be used provide the necessary accuracy and resolution for your specific needs.
- Real-time data collection: The ability to capture and update data in real-time is essential for maintaining an up-to-date digital twin.
- Visualisation and collaboration: A digital twin should enable easy visualisation, sharing, and collaboration of the project amongst stakeholders.
- Predictive maintenance capabilities: The data from the digital twin can be utilised to anticipate maintenance needs and reduce downtime.
- LIDAR for large volume scanning: LIDAR is an ideal choice for scanning large areas or complex environments, as it can capture detailed 3D data quickly and accurately.
- Choosing the right LIDAR system: A wide range of LIDAR systems are available, each with different specifications and capabilities. The appropriate LIDAR system should be selected, based on the physical environment and size of the area to be scanned, and the desired output quality.
Embracing LIDAR technology for creating accurate digital twins and conducting large volume scanning is an investment that can revolutionise your manufacturing processes, optimise workflows, and enhance productivity.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the benefits of adopting digital twins, then please contact us or call to discuss things further with our team.
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