Cost entry-point for scanning vs. tape measure

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Cost entry-point for scanning vs. tape measure

Postby cadcoke5 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:01 pm

I have kept an eye on the 3D scanning industry for over two decades, hoping the cost would eventually come down enough to use it in my industry. We would need to scan warehouse facilities and the office spaces in them. Typical sizes are a max of 150ft Square. Accuracy +/- 1" is sufficient.

I came across the Zeb Rivo and Zeb 1 scanners by GeoSLAM. My notes must be messed up, because I have the base scanners, Zeb1 at $2,500 and the Zeb Revo at $$2,360 . But, the Revo is the more expensive machine, so perhaps I just reversed the prices.

Both of these scanners require proprietary software to create the point cloud. You can purchase the unit with the software. The Revo is $4,500 for the Revo, and the Zeb1 is $3,500. Or alternatively, to save up-front money, you can choose to use their cloud service for the processing, at some price per scan (though the dealer has not gotten back to me with an estimated price on that).

But, their system only gives you the point cloud. You also need specialized software to do anything useful with the point cloud. PointCab was recommended to me. It costs $3,500 USD.

In regards to cloud software tied to a piece of hardware, this is obviously a major gamble. If the vendor goes under, or some other problem prevents you from accessing the cloud, you are stuck with a very expensive door-stop. So, cloud processing is off the table, from my perspective.

So, the entry point for scanning hardware and the necessary software seems to be $7,000.

2nd issue, is the actual cost/benefit ratio.

I work in an industry that needs to install large equipment into existing warehouse facilities, and we often need to do an as-built of the space. Occasionally, the space is somewhat convoluted or has large equipment in the way, making manual efforts more difficult. I am evaluating if the idea of a laser scan or other comparable technology is comparable in price to sending out a guy with a tape measure. That guy is normally an engineer, since of course, he has to go to the site and get familiar with it anyway. On a few occasions we have had to send him back out for a missed measurement. And sometimes there were details that would be nice to have had, but we get by without it.

In some ways, a facility scan gives you too much information. 2D drawings are a simplification of the real-world object. Walls are nearly always drawn straight, and corners are perpendicular. It takes time to convert a scan into a 2D drawing that follows the norm.

I had hoped that Google's project Tango would make an even lower price entry-point, and it would so cheap and easy enough to use, that we might just mail the equipment to the customer, and have them do the scan.

Automatic photo-registration of the scan, coupled with a set of VR goggles might have permitted the engineer to take a virtual tour of the facility. Though, for large projects, the human element of a real face-to-face meeting with the engineer is required at some point. But, for overseas projects, I would hope to be able to keep the engineer down to just a single trip.

But, I have been told that Tango is just not accurate enough at the warehouse scale. Moreover, the software to do what I want, is still in the world of the university research project, rather than a real-world product.

The Zeb Rivo seems to be fairly easy to use, but not something I would send to a customer. Nor does it currently have the photo registration and VR integration to use it as I would hope.

My current thinking is that the $7,000 for hardware/software, plus the CAD time to do the work is probably not worth it for us. The software/hardware cost would probably need to be under $3,000 to even consider it.

Any other thoughts on this?
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Re: Cost entry-point for scanning vs. tape measure

Postby sersab » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:06 am

cadcoke5 wrote:I came across the Zeb Rivo and Zeb 1 scanners by GeoSLAM. My notes must be messed up, because I have the base scanners, Zeb1 at $2,500 and the Zeb Revo at $$2,360 . But, the Revo is the more expensive machine, so perhaps I just reversed the prices.

Joe, are you sure about these prices? They don't sound right to me.
I think they are much more expensive then this.

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Re: Cost entry-point for scanning vs. tape measure

Postby landmeterbeuckx » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:03 pm

I think he gives the prices of a real disto instead of a zeb. :D
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Re: Cost entry-point for scanning vs. tape measure

Postby KDersch » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:08 pm

The work practices of your company sound pretty similar to some of our projects. FARO has recently released some shorter ranger scanners that I think around around $20,000. SCENE is another $6,000 I believe. This would get you the very basics needed besides spheres and computer hardware.

We generally work in NavisWorks and compare our proposed work directly to the pointcloud to verify layout conditions and constraints. We utilize PointSense when necessary to draw 2D plans and section cuts from the data in a pretty efficient manner. The issue we run into, as you mentioned, is that 2D drawings are a simplification of the real world where walls are not plumb or perpendicular and floors are not flat. We always need to draw a line in the sand as to what we can accept or not accept for inaccuracy on a project.
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Re: Cost entry-point for scanning vs. tape measure

Postby Brett » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:22 pm

Hi Joe,

The Zeb is more expensive than the proces you have in your notes. I'm sure one of the US distributors will be in touch with you once they have seen your post.

For your required accuracy I can recommend the Revo & Pointcab combination. The main factor you will save money on will be the site time. You will be on site for hours rather than days when measuring big buildings.

With the Zebcam too you won't need to revisit site for those missed dims.
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Re: Cost entry-point for scanning vs. tape measure

Postby tbwester » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:15 pm

Joe check out matterport scanners. that is your cheapest option, but it will still run you 5-6k all-in. They are good to within 1%, x/y - not exactly sure of your use-case, but it may be good enough.

Zeb units go new for ~40k, used you could probably find cheaper, but still will be well above 7k.
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Re: Cost entry-point for scanning vs. tape measure

Postby Christophe21 » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:49 am

MMMh it's a point of view.

Now you should consider what is the cost of representing reality and truth.

Before, every one who need drawing of a building have to go "on site" to check the validity of measure in drawings and plans before start making machine or constructions.
Now you're on a real representative dimensioning system and this able to check interferences between your model of installation and terrain reality. this is "priceless".

Also the scan you make can be shared for other purpose, commercial or presentation, so for me scan are upper added value to a simple "tape measuring 2D conversion".

This today cannot be financially analysed (for my point of view)

Generating 3D models from 3D point cloud is a new type of work requiring new knowledges.
Give this to people who it's the essential purpose and I'm sure you will redeem your investments and discover new ways of working with.
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