Innovative Solutions: Laser Scanning & Alignment
In early 2017, Miron had the opportunity to work with Belmark Inc. on a press replacement project. The project utilized the latest in laser scanning and laser alignment (as opposed to traditional optics technology), decreasing the actual installation time by 40-percent when compared to traditional methods.
Belmark is an innovative packaging, printing, and labeling solutions provider serving a diverse range of industries. Founded in 1977 and based in De Pere, Wisconsin, Belmark assists customers in the design and construction of pressure-sensitive labels, flexible packaging products, and folding cartons.
Miron was engaged to assist Belmark with the removal of an existing in-line, color label printing press and reinstallation of a new, faster press. The project will be delivered in 2 phases. Phase 1 was completed in early spring 2017. Ultimately, the goal for this phase of the project was to remove one press and install a new replacement press.
Scheduling Challenges at the Very Start
This project faced a challenging schedule in large part because existing design documentation wasn’t readily available along with extremely stringent requirements by the local municipality regarding design considerations for the building, structure, foundations, electrical and power distribution, OEM-supplied equipment, HVAC systems, equipment locations and internal OEM design documentation.
In early January 2017, Miron began working to obtain engineering and installation documentation required for local permits. Obtaining this information in a timely manner did not match the scheduled delivery of equipment. Therefore, Miron diligently worked to align the local municipality requirements and required design and engineering documents with the delivery of the equipment and the installation schedule. Demolition could not start until all permits were acquired. Extensive pre-planning and critical-path scheduling ensured Miron could meet the installation dates. The timeframe was tight, but the new equipment literally showed up the day after the old equipment was removed.
Technology Solutions – Faster, Higher Quality Installation
Laser scanning, which was conducted in mid-January 2017, was the first major contributor to the project’s success. In order to expedite capturing and documenting existing building conditions, Miron laser scanned the entire facility. Typically, field verifying and capturing existing conditions can be a time consuming, laborious, and expensive process. With this laser scanning technology, an entire scan of the facility and the press equipment was complete in less than two days, with much more detailed accuracy.
This laser scan identified the existing conditions including what portions of the plant were going to be altered and/or demolished. The scan was shared with the municipality to facilitate the permitting process, and Miron worked closely with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to acquire the 3D equipment models and design/installation documentation. These OEM-provided models depicted a perfect visual representation of the equipment to be delivered on site. Miron’s virtual construction team then inserted these 3D equipment models into the compiled facility model so the team could visualize the placement of the equipment. Through multiple interactive coordination meetings, the team was able to identify the ideal fit of the equipment within the existing facility. These coordination meetings were truly collaborative; the Owner, Miron, OEM, engineering partner and trade partners actively participated. As a result, the municipality approval process (normally a two-to-three weeks process), was completed in an afternoon.
With the integration of the laser scan and the 3D model, the team
- identified the ideal location for the equipment including detailed utility connections,
- determined existing building constraints, and
- more efficiently produced dimensions that would eventually be used for installation.
The actual installation commenced in February 2017. This is where all of the aforementioned pre-planning and use of all of these new technologies were put to the test. Miron’s team of alignment specialists used laser tracker technology to precisely position, set, and install the equipment based upon the original laser scan and 3D model information previously produced. After the equipment was set, the laser tracker was also used to align all of the press rolls and confirm the equipment was within accepted tolerances. In addition to installing and aligning the equipment, the team utilized the laser tracker to capture specific existing conditions, which were imported back into the 3D virtual model. This confirmed the accuracy of the equipment installation and its placement within the 3D model, which will serve as the final as-built for the project. Belmark originally planned for a four-day installation; the actual install was complete in just two days.
Throughout this process, the project team used a diverse range of software to facilitate efficient file conversion and sharing, and overall improve the quality, speed, and accuracy of this equipment installation. The technology also permitted the team to collaborate in the 3D model, allowing them to visualize the entire process, as well as integrate that information into the laser tracker for installation and alignment purposes.
According to John Ambrosius, Plant Engineer & Maintenance Systems Manager for Belmark Inc., this entire process of virtual process integration (VPI) and the use of laser scanning technologies is incredibly impressive. Based on his experience with similar projects, this installation would have typically taken four to five days to complete. Using these technologies, this project was completed in two days, 40-50 percent time savings from the original installation schedule. Miron provided Belmark with pre-construction expertise, as well as a skilled team to manage the equipment alignment and layout on their equipment installation project.
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