3D Clash Analysis of Package Distribution Center Retrofit Avoids Construction Delays

PrecisionPoint3D Coordination Services, Case Studies & Testimonials


Our 3D Clash Analysis Helps Stop Retrofit Problems In Their Tracks

An international shipping company avoided considerable downtime during an interior retrofit with our 3D Clash Analysis

…at one of its package distribution hubs by hiring PrecisionPoint to perform a 3D clash analysis of the new conveyor design through our 3D Coordination service. We started with a 3D point cloud of the existing facility collected by our in-house 3D scanning experts. Next, we combined the point cloud with a 3D model of the new material handling system. This revealed nearly 100 design clashes that were resolved well before construction would began.

3D Clash Analysis and 3D Coordination Services

With 250,000 square feet of interior space, the facility serves as a regional hub. Here, packages destined for ground delivery are sorted and distributed. Packages come in by the truckload on one end. Then, they run through a complex maze of conveyor belts. Finally, they are sorted by destination before being loaded onto the correct trucks on the other side.

3D Clash Analysis Starts with Strong 3D Laser Scans and Modeling Data

Our first job was to 3D laser scan the entire inside of the facility and existing material handling system. Using two FARO Focus3D laser scanners, we captured nearly 700 scans. Fortunately, our crew had handled complex jobs of this size before. Thus, they completed the work in just six days despite the fact the building operated non-stop.

Careful point cloud verification and registration onsite ensured no spaces were missed within the complex maze of conveyors.

The point cloud registration was verified by a survey control network established inside the building. It would be used to geo-reference the 3D scans to the existing building coordinate system and elevation datum.

Back at our Carmel, Ind., headquarters, we processed and registered the scans into unified point clouds. Subsequently, we proceeded to extract and 3D model the existing material handling system and its support structures from the point cloud. 3D modeling was performed using Revit and Autodesk’s new ReCap software.

Included in this process, was the critical task of modeling the ‘clearance boxes’ above the belts. Each conveyor surface had an invisible clearance envelope space above it which could not be obstructed so that packages of a maximum size could pass through cleanly.

The 3D point clouds were instrumental in determining potential package clearance issues.

We used EdgeWise MEP to automatically extract mechanical pipes and electrical conduits in the facility.

3D Modeling with Point Cloud DataOnce the 3D BIM had been created in Revit with positional accuracy of conveyor locations meeting the +/- 0.25-inch specifications, the project moved into the 3D Coordination phase.

PrecisionPoint received a 2D digital drawing of the newly designed conveyor belt network expansion. We converted this into a 3D model in Revit.

Next, we imported the proposed 3D model, the existing 3D BIM and the point cloud into Navisworks for clash analysis.

The software pinpointed almost 100 instances where the proposed conveyor network would clash with the existing conveyors, supports or other interior structures. We reviewed each clash with the clients engineering team during a web-ex presentation. The clashes were quickly redesigned, and construction on the retrofit moved forward as planned.

“The entire project took us five months and saved the client considerable money and hassle,” said Hanna. “When a shipping company shuts down one of its major hubs for a retrofit, it must re-open precisely on schedule, which leaves very little time to encounter unexpected design problems during installation. The 3D Coordination project was well worth their investment.”