How Reality Capture Technologies Are Changing the New Energy Economy
Jul 21, 2023
Recent advancements in reality capture technology, also known as 3D scanning or reality modeling, have resulted in faster processing speeds and more accurate data capture. These developments have made it an essential tool for the renewable energy industry, where precision and efficiency are vital to success.
By utilizing reality capture technology, developers and construction personnel can remotely access detailed 3D models of an environment, limiting the deployment of physical survey teams. This approach saves time, reduces costs, improves safety, and provides more accurate data to inform decision-making processes.
What Is Reality Capture?
Reality capture technology is a recent development in the engineering and construction industry that enables the creation of accurate 3D models of existing environments and objects. This technology uses specialized equipment such as laser scanners, high-resolution cameras, and drones to capture detailed data points in their surroundings. Advanced software then processes and analyzes this data to generate precise 3D models that can be utilized for planning, design, maintenance, and other purposes.
Failure to adopt reality capture technology can negatively affect companies, including reduced efficiency, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness. For example, an energy company that relies solely on conventional surveying methods may miss changes in terrain, pre-existing infrastructure, or other essential details. This could impact the planning, construction, and maintenance process, increasing expenses, delays, and safety hazards.
Moreover, with the ability to capture and analyze data in real time, companies may gain opportunities to optimize their operations and reduce their ecological footprint. Companies not taking advantage of reality capture technology risk falling behind their competitors in these critical areas.
For years, the primary reason for implementing reality capture technology has been to reduce rework during construction by providing accurate as-is information that improves the design process. By streamlining data collection and reducing reliance on manual measurement methods, companies can reduce the potential for errors and the risk to workers.
Benefits of Reality Capture Technologies
Reality capture technology is transforming the energy industry by enabling greater efficiency and safety. Here are four of the most significant benefits of reality capture technology:
1. Enhanced accuracy and precision
Because reality capture technologies facilitate the creation of highly accurate 3D models, they can increase planning and design accuracy, ultimately minimizing errors and improving operational efficiency. For example, to identify potential obstacles and optimize equipment placement, energy companies can use reality capture technology to create digital models of oil fields or processing plants. In this way, they can maximize their operations and minimize downtime.
2. Rapid data collection and processing
The quick and efficient data collection that reality capture technology enables can also speed up surveying and planning. For example, a drone equipped with a lidar sensor can quickly capture data on an oil field, refinery, or other large areas in hours. By contrast, traditional surveying methods could take days or even weeks to gather this data.
3. Remote access to data
With reality capture technology, engineers and technicians can remotely access and analyze data, reducing the need for on-site visits. Because energy companies can use the technology to monitor the performance of their assets remotely, they can identify issues and optimize operations from any location.
4. Improved safety
By reducing the need for workers to enter hazardous or hard-to-reach areas, reality capture technology improves safety and reduces the risk of accidents. Drones equipped with cameras and sensors can inspect refinery processing units, distillation columns, and other hard-to-access energy installation areas without endangering workers.
Reality capture technology is transforming the energy industry, creating digital assets that allow companies to be safer, more efficient, environmentally friendly, competitive, and compliant. By using this technology, companies can reduce costs, improve accuracy, and accelerate the transition to a new energy economy.
Ready to reap the benefits of reality capture? CTG’s Digital Transformation Solutions for the energy industry can get you there. Start our partnership today.
Chad Alessi is an experienced leader in the energy industry with over 20 years of experience in oil and gas operations, engineering, project management, and operations consulting. He has held various leadership positions throughout his career, including Director of Operations for Williams Energy and senior engineer and supervisor of operations at Kinder Morgan. During his time in IT consulting, Chad was instrumental in driving IT transformation in the company's regulated pipeline and gas processing business units. He holds a BS in Chemical Engineering, an MBA from the University of Alabama, an MS in Information Systems with a concentration in Information Security from Syracuse University, and post-graduate certifications in leadership, full stack development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. Chad is known for his strong work ethic, integrity, resourcefulness, and service-based leadership, which he attributes to his time in the US Marine Corps.