Three-dimensional factory layout with UAV scan

Ready for take-off: UAV standing in factory hall. (Photo: IPH)

IPH | In future, factory layouts can be created a lot faster and at a more favourable price: On its flight across a factory, a UAV shall scan all the installations, storage areas and machines and create a three-dimensional model. This is one of the research topics of the Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover (IPH) gGmbH.

To withstand the increased cost pressure on the global market, producing companies have to adapt their strategies. Innovations in factory planning are a decisive factor for an increased efficiency, flexibility and changeability. However, factory planning processes are normally very complex and resource-intensive - a motivation for the Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover (IPH) gGmbH to develop an easily applicable low-cost method for three-dimensional factory layout scans.

The idea: A UAV flies semi-autonomously across the factory facilities. The data scanned by the drone can be depicted as three-dimensional point clouds representing certain objects in the factory. In this way, the program steadily expands a database and keeps learning. The created three-dimensional model can be modified virtually to identify the most efficient layout.

The researchers' aim is to develop UAVs that can fly autonomously across a factory to scan the layout. Algorithms could then use the data to create three-dimensional layout plans.

by Dominik Melcher

Image gallery for this article

  • Ready for take-off: UAV standing in factory hall. (Photo: IPH)
  • UAV equipped with sensors and cameras. (Photo: IPH)
  • The drone’s eye: Action camera scans factory. (Photo: IPH)
  • Clear pictures with stabiliser at the camera. (Photo: IPH)
  • Drone flies across factory facilities and scans the whole factory. (Source: IPH)

Video for this article

  • In future, factory layouts can be created a lot faster and at a more favourable price. So far, it takes weeks or even months to record the layout - that means to measure all machines, storage areas and routes and create a ground plot.
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