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Smart technology investment yields dividends

by Ofentse Sefolo
Smart technology investment yields dividends

Zutari has recently invested in an ultra-modern piece of technology which they feel could become a game changer in terms of how estimations and project budgets are prepared. WALLS&ROOFS spoke to Louis de Klerk, lead Reality Capture at Zutari, to discuss the technology and how it will disrupt the way of doing business in South Africa.

Louis de Klerk, lead Reality Capture at Zutari.

Zutari recently acquired the Leica BLK2GO handheld imaging laser scanner, believed to be one of only two currently available in South Africa. The scanner is an example of innovative technology known as simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM).

The handheld scanner essentially digitises a building during a walkthrough by a single person, as opposed to having an entire team on site who is then at risk. Attaching a 360-degrees camera to the scanner allows for a visual inspection of a building by remote experts.

Not only is it a quick digital tool to assist with condition assessment, repairs and maintenance, but it also allows for “as built” plans to be produced, especially where such plans are unavailable. This makes it possible for a developer to receive municipal approval for any extensions or even to construct another building on the same site.

De Klerk commented that they spent almost 18 months reviewing their options and suppliers before finally making the decision to invest in the BLK2GO, a mobile scanner by Leica Geosystems. This ultra-lightweight, small and completely mobile scanner delivers unrivalled scanning accuracy, which now makes the previously tedious and time-consuming site inspection a quick, safe and, importantly, an accurate data and information driven process.

How it works
The BLK2GO is currently one of only two models in the country, and has proven that it will indeed change the way that developers and engineers scan project sites now and in the future.

It is easy to use, and it only takes five minutes with the BLK2GO to familiarise oneself with its functionality – thanks to its user-friendly features, all operated via a single button.

The BLK2GO comprises four cameras, three mobile and one static, which allows its user to scan a space while walking around. Thanks to the BLK2GO’s unique Leica dome, points shoot out at an impressive 420 000 points per second, allowing its user to complete accurate measurements in seconds. Using its pioneering SLAM technology, the BLK2GO can perform simultaneous location mapping, with its GrandSLAM technology making it completely mobile.

Back at the office, the BLK2GO software is totally compatible with most of the current industry’s most popular programmes. It provides a comprehensive view of the area scanned, rather than a guesstimate, as has always been the case in the past.

The device’s accuracy, ease of use and compatibility are what sets it apart from other models, as well as the fact that it has a fourth camera enabling photos of the site, while scanning is a game changer.

Immediate access to accurate and relevant information
“Having the accuracy and much-needed data at the beginning of a project is where the BLK2GO value makes a real difference, as it brings certainty in terms of costing and scope of work, without having to make changes afterwards as in the past.

Engineers now have access to accuracy, which is enabling them to get the most from their site visit in terms of measurements, calculations on furniture and fittings. De Klerk says: “This is one of the big wins as it allows them to de-risk the process.”

Cost saving
De Klerk says that being able to send a person to an environment such as a healthcare facility where upgrades are needed, can now happen within minutes.

Cost-saving benefits are real both in terms of time and money. During a recent pilot to assess the BLK2GO’s efficiency, De Klerk noted that 45 000 industrial spaces could be rapidly scanned within six hours, compared to the 25 days if other stationery terrestrial scanners were used. This is a massive saving, and one can see how the benefits will keep delivering a return on investment in this technology for both Zutari and its clients.

Fit-for-purpose technology
The application of such innovative technology is important for Zutari to continue to meet the changing needs of its clients in the Covid-19 era.

For more information on these and other technological innovations, visit www.zutari.com.

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