Even if it’s hard to believe, some production facilities have been optimized and rebuilt so often that there is no reliable documentation of the current state – even in large corporations. A company that wants to modernize such a facility needs up-to-date, precise data.

Author: Johannes Raub

Everyone is familiar with the initial situation: production is to be expanded by a new variation and parts of the production process need to be replaced by new machines and robots. The question is: What is actually currently in use? This was exactly the question for a German car manufacturer for a plant abroad. He needed documentation and data that he could enter into his design software Catia V5 and RobCAD.

There are basically several ways to access this data:

  1. Make assumptions or estimations instead of measuring:
    This can be done quickly, but is inaccurate and of course involves risks that can ultimately become very expensive. It’s not recommended.
  2. Manual measuring:
    Employees take a tour of the plant on site, measure all necessary production equipment and take photos. However, this approach also has its disadvantages: it ties up resources, which is expensive and time consuming, and it is susceptible to errors. In practice, for example, photographs are incomplete or difficult to allocate retrospectively, and some measurements are missing or lack information. In order to correct such errors, employees have to travel again, which leads to additional costs.
  3. 3D scan by laser
    With this method, a complete plant or factory can be scanned by 3D scans. This generates a complete 3D model that can be further processed in all common 3D applications. This procedure has many advantages: The complete capture as a 3D object also enables the response of questions that arise later; the dimensioning is done automatically and seamlessly. The 3D scan is also applicable for inaccessible areas; even complex 3D surfaces are no problem. This method can be universally applied to complete production lines, individual machines or devices. In terms of time and cost, the 3D scan is also attractive because it ties up few resources and can be done quickly.

The first output of the 3D scan is a point cloud. With a special viewer, the customer can look at the exact conditions on site at any time and move virtually through the plant without having to be on-site.

This is the result of a raw 3D scan. A complete 3D model of the production process is created by post-processing.

However, the major advantages of planning the new production facility will only be realized by post-processing the data of EDAG-PS employees. This is done partly automatically and partly manually. The employees generate either polygon models or 3D-objects from the point data, which can be used for construction and virtual commissioning.

The customer’s cooperation with us has many advantages: We can apply all our knowledge in 3D scans because we know what is important for the acquisition. As a long-time partner in the automotive industry, we do not only know what has to be captured during the scan, but also how it has to be modeled afterwards and therefore help our customer to save a lot of time during post-processing. In addition, we use all common (and sometimes very expensive) CAD systems and can always supply the data in formats which best meet the target system of the customer.


There are many advantages in capturing the current state with a 3D scan. On the one hand, it creates an ample and detailed database that would otherwise only be possible with immense effort. It also establishes the basis for comprehensive quality assurance and documentation, especially after commissioning. The 3D scan also minimizes follow-up costs, as disruptive factors can be detected and avoided at an early stage.

In addition, the information is available very quickly after the 3D scan and the project can be processed much faster. The customer does not have to assign his own employees for the data entry, as the 3D scan is carried out completely by EDAG-PS employees.


The 3D scan can be used not only for large objects, but also for complex tools that cannot be replaced. In this situation, a 3D scan can supply all the data and then use a surface model and CAD software to redesign and manufacture the required object.


With the 3D scan, EDAG PS customers have a high-efficient measuring method at their disposal to capture existing production facilities comprehensively and optimize them for new products. The 3D scan is also faster, better in quality and more cost-effective than previous recording methods. For the customer mentioned above, it was thus possible to change the manufacturing process of a new product in a short period of time and successfully launch it into operation.

Do you have a similar application? Then contact me: johannes.raub@edag-ps.com.

On our reference page you can also get a first impression of projects we have already successfully implemented together with our customers.