In oil and gas work, speed and safety are paramount. In a demanding industry, companies need to know they can rely on their products to get the job done correctly and on time while ensuring their employees’ safety.

Advanced techniques like 3D laser scanning offer ideal solutions. A 3D laser scanning system works by using a laser setup around an area and tracing the paths of the lasers as they operate. The information from all the lasers comes together rapidly in a sophisticated 3D point cloud, and facilities can often have modeling information ready for use very quickly. Companies can use 3D laser scanning for oil storage tanks to verify their configuration and safety, for instance, or develop new projects.

This guide discusses the applications of 3D laser scanning for oil companies and offers advice on working with a solutions provider for the best 3D laser and modeling software implementation.

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Applications for 3D Laser Scanning in the Oil and Gas Industry

The use of 3D laser scanning makes numerous applications quicker and easier. Below are a few of the most common oil and gas applications for laser scanning and an explanation of how 3D laser scanning can benefit them:

  • Equipment inspections: In a challenging industry like oil and gas, keeping equipment in good working order is imperative for safety. Techniques like 3D laser scanning make inspections easier. A facility that needs to modify its equipment and then make sure the modified machines are safe for use can employ 3D laser scanning to create a detailed map based on the lasers’ flight paths. The map will show areas of potential problems or deviations from company standards.
  • Tank strapping: Tank strapping involves verifying the continued roundness of large storage facilities. It measures the fluids in storage tanks to help calibrate the tank dimensions and capacity. The 3D laser scanner easily maps the liquid in the tank so facilities can determine whether all the details are in order and the tank can store flammable petroleum products safely.
  • Volume verification: Volume verification is sometimes a component of tank strapping, and facilities may also use it merely to assess their tanks’ capacity. A 3D laser scanner helps by creating an accurate depiction of the fluid levels in a full tank.
  • Secondary containment verification: Secondary containment systems exist to keep spills from reaching the environment. A 2015 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report found that, in hydraulic fracturing, 64% of spills reach the surrounding soil, and 7% contaminate nearby surface water. Secondary containment helps lower these figures. A 3D laser scanner is useful in secondary containment volume verification and overflow detection to help facilities ensure they can contain any spilled hazardous materials and prevent environmental contamination.
  • Maintenance: The use of 3D laser modeling for petroleum companies can help with a site’s upkeep by providing accurate sizing and fit data. A company can use laser scanning on its existing equipment to gain accurate data about its measurements and determine whether replacement parts will fit correctly. An oil and gas facility can also take frequent scans of its equipment and compare them to one another to determine whether problematic degradation or erosion has taken place.
  • Expanding a facility: If your oil and gas facility plans to expand its footprint, 3D laser scanning can help with the planning. In this scenario, 3D laser scanning can create an exact, detailed model of your current facility’s layout. You can then use this model to accurately plan the new design and speed up the development timeframe.

Benefits of 3D Laser Scanning for Oil and Gas

The use of 3D laser scanning offers a few important benefits for oil and gas companies:

Benefits of 3D Laser Scanning for Oil and Gas

  • Speed: Generally, 3D laser scanning is much faster than other methods of assessment. The scanning will likely take no more than a day — a much shorter time frame than if workers had to measure and collect information manually. The data becomes available shortly after that, and facilities can use the collected data to complete their projects without pushing out their timelines too far.
  • Safety: Across two years, starting in January 2015, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded 602 injury incidents in the oil and gas industry, which ledincidents leading to 481 hospitalizations and 166 amputations. Using 3D laser scanning improves safety in an oil and gas facility by keeping employees out of harm’s way. If workers must manually walk, crawl or climb to hazardous areas to take measurements, they put their physical safety at risk. Setting up a series of lasers to send beams of light into those same areas helps keep employees secure, and it allows a company to send its teams the message that it values their workplace safety and well-being.
  • Convenience: Apart from streamlining measurement taking by making it faster, 3D laser scanning also provides convenience by minimizing travel and rework. Many oil and gas sites are hours away from the main facilities, so making multiple trips for extensive measurements would eat up substantial time. With 3D scanning, employees can travel once, set up the laser system, gather data and then perform analysis back at the main offices. And the high accuracy and precision of 3D laser scannings mean employees won’t have to make multiple trips to re-collect faulty data.

Advantages of Using Trimble 3D Laser Scanners and Trimble RealWorks

Why should businesses use Trimble 3D laser scanners and Trimble RealWorks? These tools offer a few advantages in 3D scanning for oil and gas companies:

  • Extensive measurement ranges: Some scanners like the Trimble TX8 laser scanner can collect data over a full 360 degrees and measure a million points per second. These capabilities help companies get the wealth of data they need for accurate, informed analysis and planning.
  • Long-range capacity: Many Trimble scanners have a tremendous scanning range. This capability helps save time by reducing the need for multiple setups from different locations.
  • Workflow designed for tank strapping: Trimble RealWorks offers a workflow tailored specifically to tank strapping. For example, a company might use RealWorks’ functionalities to run a tank verticality report and observe several areas out of the minimum established tolerance. They can then quickly make adjustments to improve the reliability of their storage.
  • Sophisticated processing and analysis: Trimble RealWorks allows for sophisticated point cloud processing and analysis. It integrates 3D point and survey data for an exceptionally high degree of accuracy and precision and an extensive array of data that companies can use to inform their deliverables.
  • Total solutions: Oil and gas companies can use Trimble RealWorks at all stages of their projects. Trimble RealWorks allows companies to collect and analyze data as well as to model and develop deliverables, and it can use data from just about any source.

Why Choose BuildingPoint West for 3D Scanning Services?

Why should oil and gas companies make BuildingPoint West their source for 3D laser scanning? Working with us means you’ll gain support in several areas:

  • Certified sales and support staff: Our knowledgeable, certified sales and support team members have the training, knowledge and boots-on-the-ground industry experience to help with 3D laser scanning for oil and gas applications.
  • Assistance with training and transition: Integrating new solutions into established processes can be challenging. BuildingPoint West smooths the transition by providing training to assist your staff members in learning to use the new lasers and associated software.
  • Sixty years of experience: At BuildingPoint West, we have more than 60 years of experience bringing layout solutions to construction professionals. We can help you succeed in even your most challenging 3D laser scanning applications.

Contact BuildingPoint West for 3D Laser Scanning Services

To make your processes safer and more efficient with 3D laser scanning for oil and gas applications, contact BuildingPoint West. Our scanners are rugged and dependable enough to stand up to the industry’s rigors, and our 3D modeling software will give you the insights you need to move forward with new projects or confirm current equipment’s soundness.

Contact us today to purchase 3D laser scanning solutions or learn more.

Contact BuildingPoint West for 3D Laser Scanning Services