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Client Stories: Factory Survey

Factory Survey

Category: Factory Site Layout
Client:   Client Name Witheld
Contract: Survey factory - produce 2D master plan
Status:   Complete
Purpose:  Update layout data for factory's continous improvement programme

Tools Production Line Production Line

Project Partners

Accurate Instruments

This contract required the accurate survey of a Christchurch factory's machinery & process layout.

Keeping on budget required some new technology, and attention to the level-of-detail. The scale of the work was significant, so it was important not to over-do the measurements, but nevertheless leave in enough detail to make each machine recognisable on a 2D plan.

I originally intended using a spool tape-measure, but quickly abandoned this in favour of a fancy 80m laser tape-measure. Brilliant! Having tried this, I'm certainly sticking with this technology from now on. They're a bit like microwave ovens - how did we do without them? There's still a place for regular tapes though, so a combination of the two proved best.

I did spend a bit of time getting to know the instrument. It took some time to get to trust it, as it is less tangible in the way it takes it's measurement with a laser beam. I compared it to the spool tape for starters - (which is right?). I tested how it behaved on the edge of it's range limit, and how it worked in different lighting conditions, and with low battery reserves. In the end, the spool tape was quietly parked, but kept as a reserve tool. I could proceed with confidence.

Before commencement, I was inducted into the Factory's safety procedures and emergency plans. We established where I couldn't go without supervision, such as in pit's, at heights, and where dangerous machinery was operating. Staff were made aware of my role and presence for the duration of the project. All were helpful in filling me in on the purpose of each machine, and coordinating access when necessary.

Measuring a building isn't that different from measuring a small machine. You just need to establish datums. With the site being flat, that meant concentrating on relative horizontal distances. For these to be correct, first it was established how accurate the buildings were to the original site plan, as the walls were to be the main reference. This was so that future users of the data could simply reference the nearest pillar or wall, rather than all the way across to a main datum. Cross checking and triangulating took care of the rest. The end result was estimated to be within -/+ 20mm accuracy on large scales, and -/+ 5mm on smaller scales.

It's a great way to get to know a factory. There wasn't a nook or cranny left that I hadn't crawled into or measured once the work was complete. Of course, the final master plan captured all of this data for use as an excellent planning tool that the planners can confidently use for their continuous improvement drive.