Exploring new horizons for 3D laser scanning

Exploring new horizons for 3D laser scanning

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Joseph Arezone
Joseph Arezone
Senior Vice-President and Managing Director
Asia-Pacific, FARO

Offering a range of products to deliver high precision 3D measurement and documentation, FARO Technologies envisions a platform where the laser scanning community in Asia can gather to share, learn and network. Joseph Arezone tells us more about the company’s technology innovations and plans to create awareness about the use of laser scanners in the Asian market

Faro has a wide range of 3D products and solutions. Can you elaborate on them?
FARO develops and markets computer-aided 3D coordinate measurement and imaging devices and software. FARO’s suite of solutions can be broadly categorised into two areas – 3D measurement and 3D documentation.

FARO solutions for 3D measurement include the FaroArm (EDGE, Prime, Fusion and Laser ScanArm), FARO Gage, FARO Laser Tracker (Vantage and ION) and FARO 3D Imager (AMP). Each of these products delivers high precision 3D measurement, whether for inspecting components and assemblies, production planning, reverse engineering, or production and quality assurance.

FARO addresses the 3D documentation market with its FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D. A high-speed 3D laser scanner for detailed measurement and documentation,Focus3D uses laser technology to produce incredibly detailed three-dimensional images of complex environments and geometries in just a few minutes. Focus3D has a wide variety of applications involving visual representation and measurement in areas such as architecture, civil engineering, surveying, asset management, tunnel, mining, industrial plants, archaeology, heritage, forensics investigation and accident sites.

What is FARO’s next technology innovation in terms of 3D solutions? Are you moving to mobile platforms and provide real-time information?
R&D has always been an integral part of FARO culture and FARO continuously invests in innovation, even in downturn years. This enables FARO to emerge much stronger immediately after any economic downturn. Part of the innovation process includes involving our end-users to collect feedback on product development so that the end product will meet and often exceed market expectations. To that end, we are constantly exploring new innovations, including observed industry trends such as mobile and real-time platforms for 3D laser scanning.

When FARO first introduced the Focus3D in October 2010, it ‘disrupted’the 3D laser scanning market with its combination of increased portability, ease of use, high accuracy, speed of measurement and relatively low costs. This attracted many users to adopt 3D laser scanning technology, replacing traditional or older methods and processes.

At present, Focus3Dcan be easily integrated into a mobile scanning system as a vital unit to acquire information (e.g. for a GIS). As mentioned earlier, users have the flexibility to deploy the Focus3D for both static and mobile scanning projects. To top it off, this flexibility does not come at a higher price. In fact, it is much more cost-effective than mobile scanning systems currently available in the market.

Do you think there is a lack of awareness about the use of laser scanners in the Asian market?
There are a multitude of applications for laser scanners, some more widely known than others. Currently, the more common ones include architecture, building information modeling (BIM), civil engineering, forensic science, heritage preservation and surveying. However, there are still many unexplored areas in which a laser scanner can be very useful. As the cost of the technology comes down and applications software evolves to further simplify the user experience, we expect many more markets to be uncovered.

Other than that, we find that there is a lack of laser scanning service providers in Asia. Filling this gap can potentially help more companies achieve desirable outcomes that were previously unattainable, especially for industries in which laser scanners are not yet commonplace. These service providers can offer their expertise, equipment and infrastructure, so that companies new to the technology can explore without investing at the onset.

Earlier, laser scanning technology was perceived to be associated with hefty investments and lengthy training periods. However, that all changed when FARO introduced the Focus3Dand demonstrated that the reverse is true. We find that there is a greater willingness to new technology adoption as well as a greater demand for information and knowledge on technology application.

Can you highlight some of your initiatives to create more awareness about laser scanning technology?
As an industry leader, FARO Technologies envisions a platform where the laser scanning community in Asia can gather to share, learn and network. Currently, we have a substantial pool of users in the Asian market and the timing could not be better.

We are pleased to announce that the next FARO 3D Documentation Conference will be held in Singapore from 25 to 26 April, 2013. Participants can expect sharing sessions chaired by industry experts from around the world, presentations by end users on actual applications in various industries, as well as various application workshops for them to experience hands-on demonstrations. This will be a platform where all stakeholders of the laser scanning industry can come together to network, share information and to expand the market. For more information about the conference, one can visit www.3d-documentation-conference-2013.com.

At the moment, the fastest growing markets are in Asia. How is FARO gearing up to capture the same?
Without a doubt, Asia is the fastest growing market for the geospatial industry, where there is a mixture of developing, industrialised and developed countries. Each country will seek to adopt the most efficient methods to keep up with economic growth and part of that is in ensuring that their respective geospatial infrastructures are in sync with this growth. 3D laser scanners allow rich 3D documentation information to be collected in the quickest manner and because of that, many geospatial industry players will be quick to adopt it.

As the geospatial industry gets diversified, FARO will target the various segments of the industry by providing the right tools for the right job. We plan to do so by monitoring the market closely and providing the most comprehensive solution for each customer.

FARO is aiming at 20-25% growth this year. In the backdrop of unsettling economic conditions, what is your strategy to achieve this target? What is the share of 3D laser scanners out of the total revenues?
FARO has a strong range of products for both the 3D measurement and 3D documentation markets. As a customer-centric company,we provide strong pre-sales consultation and post-sales support.

Even in these unsettling economic conditions, FARO continues to uphold its customer-centric professionalism to sustain growth. To achieve our aim of 20-25% growth, we will continue to roll out new products with breakthrough technology, which will enable customers to increase their productivity and quickly recoup on their investments.

After almost two years since its launch, we are still seeing strong growth in the sale of Focus3D. While we do not disclose specific product sales data, I can say that Focus3D has grown to become one of our key products and will continue to be re-invented and developed to cater to a wider market. We will continue to expand and groom our sales and distribution networks by selecting good and reliable partners, so as to reach and serve our customers even better.