Precision that Saves Time and Money: Smart 3D Design

Cost SavingsEngineering Solutions

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then 3D laser scanning and modeling are worth at least a thousand measurements.

That’s because 3D laser scanning creates a precise, real-space image by combining digitally mapped “point clouds” and photos of an area like a production line, tank house, or wastewater treatment system. 

And then with 3D building information modeling (BIM), designers can draw plans to fit the exact measurements and specs required for the project.

ICC has all your production and manufacturing design needs covered—including smart  3Dmodel design.  

 “It gives us a very real and, more importantly, accurate image of the space we’re designing in,” says ICC Inc, 3D Designer Emily Wetherell. “We can see potential obstacles to our design, and we can draw designs that we know will fit the space without having to go back out to the site for more measurements.”

Making Possible the Seemingly Impossible

It’s also a great tool for impossible-looking spaces. 

For example, a major brewery wanted to add more pipes and valves in a specific area that looked too tight to the human eye. After performing a 3D laser scan of the area, ICC’s design engineers were able to determine that there was just enough room to make the additions without any demolition of the existing space. 

“It was very, very tight, and it was difficult to install because of the tight space, but because of the 3D image and design modeling, we knew it was possible and so the install was a success,” says Wetherell.

Speeding Turnaround Projects

This precision is critical for a multinational chemical refiner ICC consults for and other production facilities that work around the clock. Every hour a plant is shut down for upgrades is an hour of lost revenue. Using 3D laser scanning and modeling, ICC is able to ensure that upgrades are completed with minimal downtime.  

For greenfield projects, 3D laser scanning isn’t necessary, but 3D modeling allows clients to virtually walk through the design in a way that’s simply not possible with 2D renderings. ICC designers prepare a 3D presentation and/or a video “tour” of the design so clients can experience the design and work with ICC’s design engineers on any changes they’d like to make.

Cutting the Cost of Change

“One thing you can say about production engineering is that there will always be changes,” says Wetherell. “And that’s the beauty of 3D design. We can make sure every element of the design, down to the last pipe fitting, is exactly what the client wants before any construction begins, and we can do it much more quickly and at a lower cost.”

When our major distillery client needed a new facility, ICC eliminated financial risk and potential project delays by using its Smart 3D design modeling. The result was a brand new state-of-the-art 34,500 square-foot distillery capable of producing 500,000 gallons of original proof rye whiskey (”The Good Stuff”) annually. Designed and built at an 18% lower total cost of ownership than similar distilleries, the construction took only 12 month from groundbreaking to the first distillation.  The final plant is able to accommodate 229,000 gallons of process water, stillage, and distillate simultaneously.

“Doing the design in 3D is so beneficial because you only have to draw it once, and then you can manipulate it endlessly,” says Wetherell. “It reduces errors, eliminates construction surprises, lowers operational hazards, and can be revisited to help in visualizing opportunities for future expansions.”

Engineering Now with Future in Mind

ICC has designed over $1 billion in Smart 3D projects and is one of the leaders in computer-based model engineering for the process industry because scan and design teams work together in collaboration with clients. As a result, ICC’s Smart 3D:

  • Shortens project timelines by up to 50% 
  • Reduces reliance on field contractors
  • Lowers onsite construction risk and cost
  • Improves installation quality 
  • Maintains better control of contract growth
  • Saves up to 25% on total project costs

 “We design every system that goes out our doors to be highly functional now and in the future, engineering migration paths into the system so that our clients are already one step ahead when they decide to expand their operations,” says ICC Inc. Vice-President Alex Alexandrov.

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