Every successful project starts with a framework. A vision statement. A blueprint. The editors of Engineered Systems are proud to present The Blueprint — a monthly Q&A interview with HVACR engineering’s leading voices. These one-on-one discussions will examine the trade’s history, current industry trends, the factors shaping the sector’s future, and more.
FARO is a global source for 3D measurement, imaging, and realization technology for 3D metrology; architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC); and public safety analytics.
The manufacturer’s corporate headquarters are located in Lake Mary, Florida; its European (EMEA) and Asian head offices are located in Stuttgart, Germany and Singapore, respectively; and it has branch locations throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia.
Recently, Jessica Hale, senior spokesperson with FARO, sat down with Herb Woerpel, editor-in-chief of Engineered Systems, to discuss the company’s latest innovations, how its technologies can help those in the field overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, and more.
Engineered Systems: Please introduce yourself to our audience.
Jessica Hale: My name is Jessica Hale and I’m a senior spokesperson for FARO Technologies Inc. I work out of the company’s corporate headquarters in Orlando, Florida. I also hold a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Central Florida and have more than 12 years of experience serving in similar roles.
Engineered Systems: For those who are unfamiliar with FARO Technologies, can you please give a brief rundown of exactly what it is the company does?
Hale: FARO is a global source for 3D measurement, imaging, and realization technology for 3D metrology; architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC); and public safety analytics. For 40 years, FARO has provided solutions that enable customers to quickly and easily measure their world and then use that data to make smarter decisions faster. FARO continues to be a pioneer in bridging the digital and physical worlds through data-driven reliable accuracy, precision, and immediacy. The company develops and manufactures leading-edge solutions that enable high-precision 3D capture, measurement, and analysis. We create unique value and support operational excellence for our customers by enabling faster, more accurate, compelling and useable 3D documentation; accelerating execution timelines; minimizing in field 3D documentation and measurement times; shrinking margin impacting scrap and rework costs; and reducing development risk.
Engineered Systems: Can you give a few examples of how a mechanical engineering firm can best use 3D measurement, imaging, and realization technology in its daily practice?
Hale: We can help capture, analyze, and interpret the existing conditions of complex geometries, such as industrial facilities or structural sites, in a short time frame. FARO laser scanners and engineering software solutions support efficient documentation and modeling of site conditions, which includes, piping, steel, and building or infrastructure elements. Utilizing FARO laser scanning allows engineers to accurately survey, estimate, and determine the current and future lifespan and integrity of structures such as bridges, industrial facilities, petroleum tanks, and towers. By comparing and updating the 3D CAD models to existing conditions, repairs and retrofits are executed more effectively while minimizing downtime. Precise and complete capturing of existing conditions is required as a foundation for engineering design or retrofit tasks. FARO laser scanning solutions allow engineers to respect existing conditions for both tasks. FARO provides suitable documentation packages to determine tie-in points, centerlines, or collisions for industrial maintenance and planning or to extract building and MEP components.
Engineered Systems: FARO has had some pretty exciting announcements lately – the most recent being the acquisition of ATS AB. Tell us a bit more about that company and what made this a good fit within the FARO portfolio?
Hale: Founded in 1990, ATS has had particular success in the automotive space where the firm has agreements in place with several well-known global automotive manufacturers. The acquisition will integrate ATS software and the proprietary Traceable 3D system, which enables highly accurate and repeatable 3D scans into the FARO Webshare Cloud platform. ATS’ system connects the physical to the digital world and is expected to bolster FARO’s ability to improve customers’ time to decision with 10-times faster 3D imaging at up to 1-mm accuracy.
Our president and CEO, Michael Burger, was recently quoted as saying, “We believe this acquisition enables FARO with differentiated accuracy and speed, which we believe will accelerate the adoption of digital twin technology. High accuracy 3D digital twin simulations allow capital intensive industries such as automotive and aerospace to meaningfully reduce their time to market and cost. I welcome the ATS team into FARO and believe they will help accelerate our strategic objective of increasing cloud based subscription offerings in this sizable market.”
Engineered Systems: Over the last three months, FARO has also released several new technologies, including the Trek and the Gage FAROArm. Tell us a bit more about these products.
Hale: Trek is a fully autonomous 3D mobile scanning integration built in collaboration with the Massachusetts-based robotics firm Boston Dynamics. The innovative solution combines the cutting-edge scanning speed and accuracy of the FARO FocusS Laser Scanner with Spot, a quadruped robot capable of remote and autonomous data capture in challenging environments.
Ideal for general contractors and construction managers to verify production and quality on job sites, Trek leverages Spot’s Autowalk feature to create a repeatable automated scanning workflow. This allows for streamlined data collection and improved efficiency. The information collected is the same each time, ensuring enhanced analysis and reporting. Autowalk automates the inspection process after operators initially program the route walking alongside the robot. Relying on sophisticated sensors, Spot is then able to repeat that same route autonomously and even makes minor adjustments to complete the job.
The FARO Gage is an affordable and accurate 3D portable coordinate measurement machine (CMM). Ideal for small and medium-sized businesses performing high-accuracy tasks, the Gage is the most intuitive, ergonomic, and versatile articulated portable FaroArm®, enabling machine shops to perform their most demanding 3D inspections in record time.
The all-in-one-solution also reduces calibration costs and minimizes clutter, replacing traditional hand tools, such as calipers, micrometers, and height gauges, while providing 20% more reach than the previous-generation Gage arm. Lightweight and portable but with the precision of a lab instrument and the ruggedness of a shop floor device, the Gage sets up in seconds, reduces inspection time, and delivers quality results with exceptional flexibility, resulting in increased speed and productivity.
Engineered Systems: Data is as abundant as it’s ever been in the AEC industry. What data should mechanical engineers focus on, and how can that be collected and fostered using FARO’s innovations?
Hale: Simple, traceable communication between all project participants begins with the use of standard file types and widely used platforms. FARO workflows are compatible with widely used third party hardware and software.
FARO’s cloud services take collaboration to the next level, offering real-time access to the latest 3D reality data for worldwide project management and BIM workflows. This service allows reality data of unlimited size and independent of their source to be stored, viewed, evaluated, and shared with all collaborators anywhere and anytime. All common industry standard formats, such as *.rcp, *.pod, *.xyz, and *.e57, are available for downloading 3D reality data are supported, enabling seamless, collaborative Scan-to-BIM workflows directly in Autodesk® and Bentley Pointools portfolio or any other CAD and BIM software.
A cloud-based hosting solution for easy and secure sharing of reality data amongst project partners eliminates the need of transferring massive data using hard drives, USB sticks, or third-party cloud storages. It’s easy to learn, simple to use, and offers fast access to data for all partners worldwide using a web browser. Various viewing modes provide an impressive visualization of uploaded data and an easy orientation for project exploration. Users may take, edit, and share measurements; add annotations; organize data using categories and reference tags; or add links to external data sources. Sharing information immediately with partners results in efficient project management based on one identical level of knowledge. Download functionality enables time-saving workflows through exporting sections and whole projects directly into any preferred design system for tasks such as construction QC and as-built modelling.
A simple, but sophisticated project and user management permits authorization and unlimited number of users, giving them customizable access rights and user permissions without the need of having an independent account. FARO provides the IT infrastructure, eliminating the need for installing, running, and maintaining Internet servers.
Engineered Systems: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of our professional and personal lives. What impact has the pandemic had on FARO’s operations?
Hale: FARO has seen little disruption from the pandemic; its supply chain continues to function and its manufacturing operations continue. While many employees now work remotely, the company continues to operate at a normal level.
Engineered Systems: Can FARO’s technologies play any role in helping to curb the spread of COVID-19?
Hale: FARO’s products and technologies allow for customers to continue their work while not in the job site or in the office. This technology also helps to reduce the number of hours spent on site or the number of people needed helping to reduce the spread.
Engineered Systems: The BIM and CAD technologies FARO creates have come a long way in a little bit of time. What’s next? How do you anticipate these technologies “leveling up” over the next decade?
Hale: While what is next remains to be seen, you can count on FARO continuing to listen to our customers’ needs and innovating going forward.
Engineered Systems: If you could relay one message to consulting and/or specifying engineers, what would it be?
Hale: FARO’s laser scanning solutions provide engineers from multiple industries the ability to efficiently capture, manage, and analyze real-world conditions to better plan, verify, and maintain construction sites and industrial facilities. All of this can now be done in a remote environment to stay as productive as possible.
Engineered Systems: Anything else the engineers reading this need to know?
Hale: we offer a great deal of information on our website. For more information, visit https://constructionbim.faro.com/en/engineering.