3D printing technology is now bringing back the use of 3D models of process units. Having a 3D model has many benefits, including a more than ten-fold improvement in efficiency in doing model reviews, versus reviewing the model on the computer.
In the past, 3D models were created by assembling plastic pieces, which was very time consuming and expensive. As a result, the practice was largely abandoned as 3D CAD models were developed. Now, 3D physical models can be produced economically from 3D CAD models or laser scan data. The models a produced by a continuous print; they are not assemblies of printed parts.
Becht’s Laser Scanning division recently acquired a 3D printer and has already created several models for our clients. 3D printing of process units has several advantages throughout the design and construction phases, as well as continuing into ongoing operations. 3D plastic models make it easier for owners to visualize what is being designed versus traditional methods such as reviewing plans and elevations.
During detailed design, operations, maintenance and construction are able to view, from every angle, an exact replica of the unit prior to construction. Moreover, interferences that may arise in the field can be identified using the 3D print and corrected prior to construction.
During actual construction, planners can save time by having the exact scaled replica of the unit to review, as opposed to reviewing stacks of drawings and a 3D CAD model.
After startup of the project, a 3D printed model can be utilized by operations as training aids. Turnaround planning can also benefit by having a truly accurate as-built model to refer to in regards to planning upgrades, inspections, or repairs.
Process units of any size and complexity can be printed. A large unit can be printed as a number of modules as the photo of a sample illustrates. For more information or to receive a quote