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North-east firm accelerates launch of remote 3D scanning service

Aberdeen-based 3D scanning specialists, Viewport3, are set to roll out a new remote data capture service for the energy sector, giving them the capability to collect and process 3D data from offshore via remote working arrangements.

While this service has been in development, the firm have seen a spike in demand recently, as the drive to reduce the number of personnel working offshore continues apace combined with travel restrictions in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The technique involves providing divers and ROV personnel with instructions for the task along with remote support, allowing them to collect the data and submit to Viewport3 for processing and analysis. The firm has previously worked on a number of these remote projects around the world, particularly on occasions where travel restrictions and logistical challenges have prevented them being on site for the scanning.

Over the course of the development phase, Viewport3 have significantly refined the service in order to ensure customers are capable of retrieving the correct data. For example, it became apparent that written instructions alone weren’t sufficient, so the firm created site-specific video and graphical workflows that demonstrate the method to collect all the required information.

Co-director of Viewport3, Richard Drennan, explains further: “Each project we embark on is the result of a 2-way conversation with our customers – they need answers to a specific question, which we can provide by scanning the relevant object, and processing the data into a 3D model and typically also a detailed but simple dimensional report. This remote service is no different. While it isn’t appropriate in every single set of circumstances, or for all accuracy requirements, there are many instances where we determine that the best camera for an urgent 3D scanning task, is the one you have available to you at the time.

“Remote capture adds value across the board. We are in the unique position of being able to use cameras that are currently fitted to the ROV, or which divers have otherwise readily available, meaning we can get to work very quickly. The volume and quality of the information we can retrieve remotely can save our customers multiple offshore campaign days and streamline future inspection tasks.

As the only firm in the UK 3D scanning sector which offers a legacy video data processing and reverse engineering service, Viewport3 can process and interrogate data acquired from any source, in addition to their own. They have developed work-flows that can effectively process this legacy data, clean it and create 3D models to make it more accessible, inclusive and understandable.

Co-director, Chris Harvey adds: “Oilfield and marine operators are in possession of a valuable untapped resource in their back-catalogue of legacy digital video and stills. Once we have digitally processed these, our customers can review the information in 3D, and make business critical decisions about asset integrity, without the need for an offshore campaign. This is advantageous at the best of times, but particularly so during this period of uncertainly and restriction of movement.

“There have been instances where we’ve answered every one of the client’s questions, based on video taken years ago. We work hard to ensure that complex data-sets and analysis results are simple to understand and aid inclusive project discussions at all levels. All of our project outputs are customer-defined and issued in a manner that answers the questions clearly and promotes increased understanding of technical challenges.”

Viewport3 specialise in providing 3D scanning and reverse engineering services - using digital cameras to obtain technical grade point-cloud data, which the firm then processes into 3D to produce straightforward reports and outputs. Since 2018, Viewport3 conservatively estimate £10m in savings for field operators by deploying high-end 3D scanning techniques.

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