A family-run surveying firm in the city has added a new dimension to its services after investing in a new £110,000 3D laser scanner.
The new Leica equipment, which was secured with a bank loan of £35,000 and further funding of £75,000, provides a 3D data capture service using LiDAR technology to carry out ‘point cloud’ surveys.
This allows the firm to map virtually anything, from very small industrial components to large-scale buildings, such as the Park Lane Sheraton Hotel, London.
The new technology is much faster than before, allowing the scanning process to take minutes in some cases, instead of days.
Formed in 1988 by Peter Bennett, Digital Surveys Ltd was first set up as a traditional land survey firm. However, the company was taken over by Bennett’s son, Ben, five years ago who has developed its 3D capabilities – making it a market leader in specialist survey and measurement technology.
Past projects include the completion of a 3D scan of Skegness Academy on behalf of project managers _Space Group, work on the barbican at Alnwick Castle, and at the National Rail Museum in York. The firm also has a rolling five-figure agreement with Gateshead-based National Oilwell Varco (NOV) to carry out work on large cement, mud and standpipe manifolds for offshore.
By scanning the manifolds, essential components which are worn can be adjusted. Since the service was introduced at the Team Valley operation, it has also been rolled out to other workshops in the region.
Privately-owned Digital Surveys, which is based at the Toffee Factory in Ouseburn, Newcastle, has a current six-figure turnover, and Bennett predicts that with the continued use of this technology, he can double the firm’s turnover over the next year and create three new jobs in the North East.
With an IT background and a degree in computing, Ben has found his services in demand by asset managers and engineers in new markets such as the petrochemical, environmental and renewable sectors on a global scale.
Recently, he has secured scanning work in Canada and in Houston, Texas, where it is hoped a new office will open later this year.
The new office will add to Digital Surveys existing offices in Aberdeen, its headquarters in the city centre, and satellite office in London.
The firm now has three scanners which use Faro, Leica and Surphaser scanning technology to convert models of buildings into 3D for contractors and architects.
Rob Utton, relationship manager at NatWest’s Darlington branch assisted with the loan.
Bennett said: “As well as allowing us to purchase scanning equipment, the funding has helped us to completely rebrand ourselves.
“Working in a traditional sector, it’s vital for us to have a professional corporate image. Our advice to other firms in the same position is to keep plugging away and push for funding – it is there.”
The firm is recruiting two graduate 3D Modellers to join the team.