Laser Scanning Makes Quick Work of Abatement System Installation at Glass Packaging Plant

Plant BL Glass

3D technology helps Borton-Lawson tackle long-distance plant retrofit with complete confidence.


Squeezing a new abatement system into an existing glass container manufacturing plant is no small task for any engineering firm. Take on the project in a plant more than 1,000 miles away from your main office, with the knowledge that the abatement system would be prefabricated and shipped from another location and would need to fit precisely as designed into a very tight space, and the challenge increases substantially

James Kovalik, PLS, technology manager for Borton-Lawson, headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, PA, knew exactly how to get the job done in the most efficient way possible. “The more data the better, and the Leica ScanStation laser scanner is the best at capturing ‘the full picture,’” he said. “I knew 3D laser scanning with our Leica ScanStation paired with 3D design would allow for the prefabrication of parts offsite with a guaranteed fit.”


Fast, Accurate and Safe Plant Documentation


Kovalik, who has been using a Leica ScanStation since October 2013, is often called in to document existing conditions for Borton-Lawson’s retrofit projects. The top-rated engineering firm relies heavily on real-world 3D as-builts to identify project constraints, develop system layouts, and establish the overall project scope and budget.  Kovalik and his team started out using a Leica ScanStation C10 with Leica Cyclone software and recently added a Leica ScanStation P40 to their technology arsenal. “Laser scanning is fast, accurate and comprehensive, and Leica Geosystems’ reputation for equipment and data quality as well as the range of capture gives us confidence in our work,” Kovalik explains. “A lot of our projects are so complex that there would really be no other way to collect the data we need.”

Borton-Lawson’s reputation for excellence, accuracy and speed is a primary reason it receives so much repeat business from its clients, even those located some distance away. 

For the glass packaging plant project, obtaining accurate measurements was especially daunting. The tie-in points at the existing exhaust duct were difficult to access and were at temperatures over 600 degrees F. Additionally, the glass furnace stacks, or chimneys, were guyed to locations on the ground that interfered with the new abatement system layout. 

“The Leica ScanStation allowed us to quickly, accurately and safely get the measurements of the tie-in points and incorporate these with the rest of the site,” Kovalik said. “The laser scanner even picked up the guy locations accurately, which allowed us to design temporary supports so the construction did not have to be interrupted.”



Plant BL Glass 

A Perfect Fit Installation


Within three days, Kovalik had captured the entire installation site with the Leica ScanStation C10 and returned with the data to the Borton-Lawson’s Wilkes-Barre office.  The team used Leica Cyclone software to quickly and easily register the point clouds and then transferred the data to the firm’s plant design software for modeling and engineering design. All clash detection between the design and actual field conditions was done within the point clouds and models, without the need to return to the jobsite. 

“Without laser scanning, we would have to visit the plant to gather additional data as the layout was refined,” said Kovalik. “The volume of data we collected through laser scanning eliminated at least two additional return trips to the project site, saving approximately $20,000 on our costs for the project.” 

The resulting 2D and 3D bidding and construction documents enabled the abatement system to be prefabricated for a precise fit and installed on the foundations as designed. “We were able to apply our experience, skill and technology to achieve a successful outcome on this complex project,” Kovalik said. “The accurate 3D as-builts acquired with laser scanning were invaluable.”



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