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The value of 3D laser scanning for superyacht refits

The BYD Group discusses how 3D laser scanning can offer many different uses during a refit project…

Spain’s BYD Group recently completed its 200th laser scan of a yacht – a milestone that saw 73m Lürssen Coral Ocean undergo a detailed exterior scan prior to extensive refit work. The company first invested in 3D laser scanning technology in 2004 and it has since proved to be a great success.

“At that time, we started using it on projects where getting measurements was a real nightmare and not precise, as taking measurements on a boat can be very difficult due to the non-planar shapes of the boat,” explains Tià Simó, co-founder and partner at BYD Group.

“Also, having the peace of mind that measurements are accurate is something that, without 3D laser scanning, is almost impossible, and that’s why most work needed to be done on the yacht. Nowadays, we are fully confident with our ability to build parts away from the boat in a factory with perfect conditions and then assemble them on board.”

From checking that the hulls of sailing yachts are fair to mapping the VIP cabin of a large motoryacht prior to refit, the technology has multiple possible uses. In 2019, BYD mapped the entire J-Class fleet for rating purposes. The accuracy of BYD’s scanning was also key in designing an extension to the hull of carbon racing yacht Jethou.

Laser scanning can also play an important role in a successful refit project, with BYD’s major clients including 74m Cocoa Bean and 47.5m Nostalgia. In both cases, the aim was to precisely measure the dimensions of a specific area of the boat ahead of refit work. On Cocoa Bean, the measurements were around the funnels and the forward front face of the superstructure for a new sundeck Jacuzzi, while the transom scan for Nostalgia was in preparation for extending the yacht.

“The main benefit of 3D laser scanning ahead of a refit is having accurate data during the redesign phase, which will mean that everything designed will work on the production phase...”

“The main benefit of 3D laser scanning ahead of a refit is having accurate data during the redesign phase, which will mean that everything designed will work on the production phase,” adds Simó. “It also allows jobs to be decentralised, rather than doing all works on site with limited space and resources. It can be used for steelworks, railings, machinery spaces, interior spaces, furniture, ceiling panels, windscreens and almost anything else.”

BYD can deploy three devices for a laser scan, including two long-range Faro Focus scanners capable of accuracy down to 1mm from as far away as 330m. This small device is able to measure nearly a million points every second. The other device is a detailed Go! Spark scanner, accurate to 0.05mm.

“We perform around 20 different scans from different positions, each of which acquires some 10.9 million points,” says Simó. “After processing, optimising and deleting non-usable data, as well as redundant points created by the cradle or the rigging, the hull of a 40m sailing yacht results in around 10 million points.

“3D scanning is a hugely skilled job, with very precise setup required for accurate results. The equipment is portable, so the scan can be carried out wherever the boat lies, but the biggest investment is back in the office after the scan. Post processing is critical to obtaining a precise image and must be done by a professional.”

Scan times vary from a quick 30 minutes for a 1m-diameter propeller, to about eight hours for the full hull of a 40m yacht. An interior cabin can be accurately mapped in about 45 minutes. The only limit to the size of an object to be scanned is the 330m range of the long-range laser.

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The value of 3D laser scanning for superyacht refits

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