PMC would like to welcome Ian Barker-Cortrecht to our growing team of laser scanning experts across the United States!
Ian joins us with an engineering background with a degree in Product Design from the School of Architecture and Allied Arts at the University of Oregon. Since college, Ian’s transitioned between Manufacturing and 3D Laser scanning and has worked as both a field tech and project manager. Outside of his career, Ian builds snowboards and surfboards. “I enjoy the creative process whether that is finding creative solutions at work or designing boards.”
We took a few minutes to sit down with Ian and pick his brain about all of these exciting changes!
How did you get into Laser Scanning?
I was aware of it through product design, mostly for Q/C or reverse engineering. When a field tech opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance and went from there.
What do you enjoy most about working in this industry?
I enjoy the problem solving aspect. We have an amazing technology that can be applied in a variety of ways depending on the needs of the customer.
Where do you see the future of this industry heading?
I believe mobile scanning and more automated data capture are where we’re headed, as well as Smart BIM and Intelligent Models on the back end.
Any new/upcoming projects you’re looking forward to?
I’m just getting my feet under me, but the Harvester project is one I’m excited to be part of. It will be on of the larger projects I’ve worked on both in size and complexity.
What excites you most about working with PMC?
Most of my previous scanning jobs have been siloed with respect to BIM. Working at a company that integrates both well is exciting.
BIM, or Building Information Modeling, provides the most detailed asset information to ensure collaborative, yet efficient, planning, design, construction, and maintenance for buildings of all sizes. In this blog, we’ll discover what BIM is, its benefits, and Building Information Modeling practical uses. We will also explore Asset Information Models (AIM) and how they can support ongoing management of enterprise building management and operations.
So, what is Building Information Modeling? BIM?
Across the globe, Building Information Modeling (BIM) is used as the standard approach of creating and managing information for a built asset. Highly detailed asset information is used to create 3D (AIM) models with information gathered from site audit, 3D Laser Scanning, Photogrammetry, or Reality Capture. That information is used to create a digital twin rich with metadata to provide asset owners, designers, developers, planners, and property managers with detailed facts about building assets. From the planning and design phase of a project, throughout construction, and well into an assets operational lifecycle, BIM is without a doubt the most effective & efficient way to retain asset information.
What to do with this information?
The information mentioned above isn’t just for record keeping; it is actionable in many instances. BIM receives praise in providing data for renovation projects of existing buildings. BIM/AIM models are built using intelligent objects that retain metadata specific to that unique object, respectively. These intelligent objects are able to store data in such a way that if a single element is changed for one object, the entire model can reflect those changes. This allows collaboration to occur throughout the entire development project permitting architects, designers, engineers, contractors, construction crews, and project managers to remain coordinated on their specific tasks & roles. Additionally, quality building data can save you time, reduce cost, and improve site safety.
Additionally, BIM data has uses in leisure and future thinking technology. These models provide all of the necessary metadata to build foundations for video game models and can provide lifelike details to in-game graphics. If we really want to look into future technology, it’s hard to ignore the applications BIM/AIM provides for Virtual Reality walkthroughs. Imagine strapping on your latest VR headset and walking through a building that is in early construction phases, or touring a wedding venue without leaving your living room. This technology begs the question “how will BIM play a role in the Metaverse?” PMC is already looking in that direction as we have already completed projects for these types of implications.
Always distinguish clearly between a SIMUL8® Label (what some other software, simulation textbooks, and technical articles call an “attribute”) and a SIMUL8® Information Store (what some other software, simulation textbooks, and technical articles call a “variable”). A Label belongs to an Entity (Work Item); each Work Item has its own copy of the Label. For example, if refrigerators are being manufactured, and some have “freezer on top” and some have “freezer on bottom,” a Label may be used to distinguish the Work Items. An Information Store belongs to the model as a whole, and has only one value. For example, the number of refrigerators with “freezer on top” produced so far during the model run would be implemented as an Information Store.
2. Changeover & Downtime
Although changeover time and downtime are both non-value-added time, they should be modeled separately and differently. Downtime is related to quality and durability of equipment, and to the care with which the equipment is maintained. Changeover time is related to lot sizes – larger lot sizes reduce changeover time but increase inventory problems (overstock of model A and stockout of model B). Smaller lot sizes reverse this tradeoff, and simulation modeling and analysis can be highly effective at finding the “sweet spot” for lot size. In SIMUL8®, Activity Properties/Efficiency is the route to downtime specification, whereas Activity Properties/Routing In/Change Over is the route to changeover specification.
3. Various Model Types
Continuing, consider the example of the two models of refrigerators. If a Label “Freezer” is used to specify the location of the freezer, and a machine needs changeover time whenever the incoming refrigerator has “freezer on bottom” whereas the previous refrigerator cycling through the machine had “freezer on top” (or vice versa), at Activity Properties/Routing In/Change Over, the modeler will click the When Label Changes option, click Detail and select “Freezer” from the list of Labels.
4. Understanding Scheduled Maintenance
SIMUL8® can also distinguish between downtime (characteristically unplanned and occurring stochastically) and scheduled maintenance (planned for specific times). Clicking on the Data and Rules toolbar, then Scheduled Maintenance, allows specification of scheduled maintenance (start time, end time, repetition interval, and Resources (e.g., workers, special equipment) required. Only one Resource can be thus specified as required. However, Visual Logic can be set to run when the scheduled maintenance begins and when it ends; that Visual Logic could be used to require and free additional Resources. A seemingly open issue: If an Activity (e.g., a machine) is down when scheduled maintenance is to begin, how does SIMUL8® handle the situation?
5. Get familiar with The Resource Matrix Tool
The Resource Matrix is accessible from the Data and Rules toolbar. It appears as a matrix with Activities as the rows and Resources as the column. The modeler can then specify, for example, that the Xray Activity requires one Technician. The modeler is allowed to enter, for example, “1-3” in this matrix – either 1 or 2 Technicians will be required. Open question raised with SIMUL8® — if the modeler enters “1-3”, will 1, 2, or 3 Technicians be required, with probability ⅓ for each possibility? Or some other method of choosing?
3D Laser Scanning uses cutting edge technology to build “point clouds” to create digital representations oh physical assets. With these point clouds, we are able to extract surface data from an object to build its digital twin. Digital Twins can be built from a tangible object of any size, from a coffee machine to a 50,000-square-foot warehouse and everything in between. With today’s technology, there is no project too large or small; the possibilities are limitless.
How Does It Work?
There are many different types of Laser Scanning machines to choose from. However, they all operate using similar methods. First, a scanner uses a laser beam which is reflected off an object and back to the scanner, similar to sonar or echolocation in the animal kingdom. As a result, the distance can be measured down to the millimeter as the returning signals phase shift back to the machine
Simultaneously, a mirror deflects the laser beam at a vertical angle onto the same object. When using a tripod laser scanner, the scanner rotates 360° horizontally to record horizontal angles & distances. These angles are being recorded to also capture the distance between objects.
From wearable laser scanners, tripod scanners, or drone based scanners, each job can be very different. PMC uses a variety of these options to best suit the job at hand.
Why 3D Laser Scanning?
Point clouds are obtained using non-contact & non-destructive technology, so damage to your assets is virtually impossible. As a result, Digital Twins can be optimized for historical accuracy, inspection of surfaces, and reverse engineering & part scanning. 3D Laser Scanning is the best way to obtain highly detailed information with minimal intrusion. Additionally, there is no disruption to productivity while scanning is performed.
Times are hard for many companies. Everywhere you look, there are postings for talent wanted in all types of technology positions ranging from Web Developers, Project Managers, Business Analysts, as well as Engineers.
As you know, your company relies on having the right resources in place to perform the tasks needed to operate efficiently. But without employees there to provide goods or services for your customers, production grinds to a halt, and with it, so does company income and any hope of profitability.
Unfortunately, you have no real control over the job market and candidates looking for work, and when they may or may not come knocking on your door for a job opportunity.
However, you can be prepared for it.
A flexible staffing strategy enables you to overcome these types of obstacles, which are becoming all too commonplace in the current competitive business climate.
With a well-implemented flexible staffing strategy, you will be able to set your company up for success in multiple ways, making it a critical strategy for any organization that needs to have temporary workers.
What Is a Flexible Staffing Strategy?
Before we can discuss the numerous advantages that a flexible staffing strategy may offer you, we need to get on the same page about what flexible staffing is.
Flexible staffing entails many different approaches to hiring non-permanent employees to fill specific roles that your company needs.
For example, employees that you hire from a temporary agency would qualify as flexible or contingent staffing. You needn’t keep them as permanent team members and they’re not on your company’s payroll as employees.
Staff that are hired as 1099 contractors, freelancers hired for individual jobs, and anyone else that isn’t on your company’s official payroll all fit under the flexible staffing umbrella.
Why Use a Flexible Staffing Strategy?
Many businesses have done just fine hiring employees the old-fashioned way, and there is nothing wrong with this approach, so long as it’s working. But today, finding employees is proving to be more difficult than ever, and finding the right people with the right skill set is even harder.
A flexible staffing strategy allows you to circumvent these problems by hiring people on an as-needed basis, or with a contingency that allows you to dismiss them much faster, much more conveniently, and much less disruptively than you would be able to fire a poorly performing full-time employee.
There are many times that flexible staffing can be a lifesaver.
A great example is when you just need a temporary fill-in. Maybe one of your key employees is out on maternity leave and another employee is recovering from a major surgery. You don’t want to replace them, but your business can’t go without that position being filled.
So, you hire a temporary replacement for the duration of the project that is needed to complete the work. Your business won’t suffer from the absence of your employee, and your employee will rest easy knowing their job is waiting for them when they return.
What about all of these recent surges and recessions in business? Many companies are feeling it. Should you just keep hiring and firing teams of employees to meet the demand as it rises and falls?
A much better option would be to hire temporary staff (Consultants) as 1099 contractors that you can easily let go when the demand dies down. Best of all, they may still be around for you to hire on another occasion in the future if/when the demand rises again. Many of the temporary workers such as semi-retired people actually prefer not to work for very long stretches of time and prefer short assignments.
Benefits of a Flexible Staffing Strategy
We’ve discussed a few of the times that a flexible staffing strategy can have some major advantages over simply hiring full-time direct employees, but the benefits of flexible staffing go beyond just saving your company’s backside in a pinch.
Have you ever thought you found the perfect employee with all the right credentials and a killer attitude, just to see them fail miserably and turn out to be the exact opposite of what you hoped?
This is one of the major problems with hiring employees. You’re essentially going on first impressions and the word of other people. With a flexible staffing strategy, however, you can instead hire that potential employee on a trial basis. After a short period of time (usually 6 to 12 months), you can convert them to a full-time permanent employment once they’ve proven to be the exemplary employee you had hoped for, or terminate the contract when the project work has ended or the temporary employee is no longer needed.
Another consideration is the major savings that a company stands to see from hiring flexible help as temporary employees instead of direct employees. Regulations have made it very costly to keep employees on payrolls under reduced workloads, but you can get around a lot of that wasted money by hiring flexible staffing that can work when you need them.
You might also find that some of the best and brightest potential assets for your company might not be available or willing to work as full-time employees. Some of the best workers you could hire might only be available if you’re willing to have them work as a consultant who wants the flexibility to work on specific types of project engagements that fall within their skill set. A big reason for this is the flexibility to pick and choose projects that are meaningful to them that fit their lifestyle needs.
A flexible staffing plan can be thought of as akin to insurance. It makes it much easier for you to fill the gaps in your staffing schedule without going through the costs and hassles of hiring new employees. If you have a good flexible staffing plan in place, then you’ve got at least some level of protection if you’re experiencing staff shortages, as is becoming more common every day.
As technology and culture continue to evolve, companies must also learn to change with the times. Just as the Sears Roebuck catalog went out of the fashion and the giant brick-and-mortar retailers behind them, companies that don’t change with the times will get left behind.
Flexible staffing is the answer for modern employers. The benefits your company could see from implementing a flexible staffing plan are many, including better workers, faster assignment of appropriate workers to tasks, monetary savings, and fewer problems with absentee workers or talent shortages in general. You can even use flexible staffing to help hire the best workers who might not fit into a standard work schedule or hire workers on a trial basis to make sure they’re a great fit for your company.
Times are changing, and flexible staffing ensures that your business has the ability to change with them.