Sinclair Wyoming Refinery FCCU 3D Laser Scanning & Modeling Project Showcases Laser Scanning Capabilities
In February 2016, WLC Engineering and Surveying (WLC) was awarded the Wyoming Engineering Society (WES) 2015 Survey Project of the Year for the 3D laser scan and model of the Sinclair Wyoming Refining Company’s (Sinclair) Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) at its Sinclair, Wyo. refinery. This project created the first updated model since the initial design plans in the 1940s that will enable engineers to design accurate piping and structure improvements off‐site for easy installation and minimal in‐field changes. The award was presented at the 2016 WES Annual Conference.
WLC’s scanner used laser technology to produce incredibly detailed, photorealistic, three‐dimensional images of the complex environment in only a few minutes. During this project, WLC performed 931 scans on the 12‐ story facility to collect 41 billion points in all.
“The amount of data and the accuracy of the model enables engineers to create almost exact designs of improvements to the FCCU,” said Don Davis, Corporate President for WLC Engineering and Surveying. “The complexities of this project were immense and included complying with Sinclair’s stringent safety requirements; weather and environment discrepancies on different floors of the open structure; the ability to access all areas needed to create an accurate model of the 12‐story facility; and managing the 2.7 terabytes of data that the scans produced. Still, WLC was able to develop a project plan to mitigate each issue and deliver a precise and usable model.”
3D laser scanning has become a preferred method of survey data collection for this process and piping facet of the refinery because of the amount of accurate and precise data collected in a short time period. The data supports precise design and installation, requires very little field engineering at delivery, reduces change orders, and provides the owner huge cost savings.
In addition to the entry form and letter, the WES Survey Project of the Year submittal requires applicants to answer project specific questions, provide images to support the description, and develop a panel that summarizes and showcase the project through imagery and text. The five rating guidelines include meeting and exceeding the needs of the owner and users; technical value to the engineering or surveying profession; social/economic considerations; new application of existing techniques/originality/innovation; and complexity. The president’s committee judged the entries and made a recommendation to the WES President, who ultimately makes the decision.