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07/12/2019

Leica BLK360: Digital measurement precision at the touch of a button

Point Cloud data of the Kempton Vocational School Center

Based in Kempten, the Gronert Engineering office specializes in surveying and geodata services, and their clients are mainly building owners and architects. Their offerings include classic services such as the preparation of qualified site plans in accordance with the Building Presentation Ordinance, draft measurements for spatial planning, flood protection, road construction, renovation or bridge construction, and much more. Jürgen Gronert, owner of Gronert Engineering, also carries out special assignments such as monitoring of still and moving waters with echo sounder and GPS devices, or structural underwater investigations with the help of divers.

Dipl.-Ing. Jürgen Gronert is a consulting engineer, a member of the Bavarian Chamber of Engineers for Construction and of the engineering association “Geoinformation und Vermessung.”


COMPLEX TASKS DETERMINE INVESTMENT IN THE LEICA BLK360

As an owner-managed engineering office with several freelance employees, Jürgen Gronert faces the daily challenge of running work processes as efficiently as possible while also producing the highest quality deliverables. Meanwhile, technical progress with digital 3D scanning is currently making its way into construction and building management. In order to meet the requirements of current tenders in the construction industry and to stand out from the competition, Gronert had been thinking about purchasing a 3D laser scanner for some time.

The final decision to purchase a 3D laser scanner was made based on the short-term acceptance of a major tendered project; with 50,000 square metres, the area of the Kempten Vocational School Centre – divided into 4 buildings with 800 rooms on up to 5 floors, two underground car parks and a sports hall – was to be measured precisely and evaluated for renovation or demolition as promptly as possible.

"Due to the size and complexity of the survey area, the creation of the various as-built plans using a 3D laser scanner was an obvious option," says Gronert. After intensive research on 3D laser scanners, Gronert purchased the BLK360 from Leica Geosystems. The engineer was convinced by the comprehensive geometric data capturing and the high data density in combination with fast measuring speed. In addition to the instrument’s measuring precision, the range of data processing options and the speed and ease of use of the device made the BLK360 a perfect fit for the job.

Gronert Engineering values all these benefits and can therefore reduce the number of people dedicated to field measurements. With the BLK360, all measurements can be carried out by a single person at the touch of a button, making work much easier and saving time for Jürgen Gronert.

BENEFIT: OPTIMIZATION OF WORK PROCESSES AND EASE OF USE

To make the 3D inventory plan for the Kempten Vocational School Centre a reality, the engineers fully integrated the BLK360 into their daily work process. In the first phase, this required scanning work directly at the school centre. At the touch of a button, the compact laser scanner recorded 360° HDR spherical images and 360,000 points per second. The BLK360 was often used for 8 hours a day to deliver up to 100 scans per day to the engineering office.

In the second phase, these scans were processed with the help of Autodesk® ReCap™ Pro software and the final 3D images were used to create a 3D model. Thanks to the BLK360’s data management and exporting capabilities, Gronert’s clients are able to access project data quickly and easily, including visual 3D point clouds, during every phase of the project. "These images can be used to create multidimensional as-built or facade plans, sections and floor plans, or to calculate three-dimensional models or visualizations," explains Jürgen Gronert. "This is also a huge benefit for all third parties involved in the overall project, such as architects, specialist engineers, craftsmen, and facility managers.”

Classroom Point Cloud Scan

COMPARISON: PREVIOUS MEASUREMENT PROCESSES VS. 3D REALITY CAPTURE

An engineer’s daily routine and working processes have changed to the extent that many traditional measurement methods are now supplemented or even replaced by the BLK360 laser scanner. In the past, professionals needed to visit construction sites multiple times to ensure the accuracy of all measurements. With the help of the BLK360 and the associated reality capture software, recurring visits to construction sites are now a thing of the past – not only for the engineers, but also architects, tradesmen, or facility managers, or other third-party construction personnel. All object measurements needed for follow-up work during refurbishment and renovation, or for maintenance and servicing, can now be carried out digitally using the 3D model and the spherical panoramic images produced by the BLK360.

The use of automated laser scanners like the BLK360 also saves a lot of time for professionals. "With conventional, manual measurement processes, a project of this size would have required approximately six months. By using the BLK360, the time required for this project was considerably reduced – the overall measurement could be carried out in just six weeks," says Gronert.

RESULTS AND FUTURE PROJECTS

The BLK360 compact laser scanner delivered high-precision and complete measurement data of all relevant structures and spaces. This fact was crucial in the decision to demolish or renovate the Kempten Vocational School Centre. After measurements were taken and analyzed, the decision was made to carry out a general renovation of the building. The project will cost over 100 million euros, including an extension to the technical college. The final decision was made by the Zweckverband Berufliches Schulzentrumand and the city of Kempten, and it’s expected that the general renovation will be complete by 2030.

From now on, Jürgen Gronert will integrate the Leica BLK360 imaging laser scanner into every future project, including five pending surveying projects. His customers appreciate the precision and the prompt delivery of results, and it simplifies and streamlines working processes for the whole team. He also appreciates the compact transport size and weight of the 3D laser scanner—at 165mm x 100mm and weighing 1kg, it can easily fit in a backpack or carry-on suitcase­.

Since I purchased the Leica BLK360, I have been extremely flexible. The equipment fits into a small, lightweight bag so I’m now always carrying the device with me in the car. In short, the overall workflow has changed a lot with the BLK360 – we can not only work faster, but also more precisely, saving time and costs for all parties involved.

Not only did Jürgen Gronert find the BLK360 to be the right laser scanner for his firm’s projects, but he was also supported by the Leica Geosystems service team, whose assistance and tips helped the engineers execute the project with 100% precision and satisfaction from the start. The purchasing dealer, Scanner2Go, quickly provided additional BLK360 rental scanners for the major project, including practical training, so that the team was able to rapidly increase the speed, efficiency, and accuracy of their work.

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