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3DMSI scans the horizon and identifies a fantastic commercial opportunity

Imagine there was a technology that could provide a 3D scan of the interior and exterior of a ship, including its systems, and synchronise that with the data provided by the ship’s own onboard sensors. That is the brilliant concept which 3DMSI plans to bring to market, with the support of an £80,000 grant from the Marine Challenge Fund.

3DMSI stands for 3D Mine Surveying International, a private limited company owned by the Jobling-Purser family. With an office in Penryn, the business was originally built on mine surveying. Over recent years, the company has successfully diversified into architectural surveys and has been employing leading edge technology, such as the use of unmanned aerial drones to gather survey data.

Managing Director, James Jobling-Purser explains more about the way their team works:

“Our USP is that we draught and survey in 3D rather than traditional 2D methods. We collect geospatial data using a high quality laser scanners. The real added value in what we do is with the data processing. Our systems can produce very high quality 3D computer models of almost anything.   Our position in the market is quite unique because of the range of industries we operate in.”

To offer an outstanding service, the company invests heavily in state of the art technology:

“We are the only private company in Cornwall operating a Z+F Imager 5010C laser scanner and producing 3D models. 3DMSI is a laser scan surveying company, as well as a high quality drawing office, using some of the best software available. Each of our surveyors is an expert in their own field. As a result, clients highly value our engineering consultancy skills.”

Their work on architectural scanning sparked an idea for an innovative solution for the marine industry:

“In the UK, Building Information Modelling is already a legal requirement for state buildings. We would like to offer a parallel service for ships and superyachts, one that documents and models the exterior and interior layout along with the engineering systems. Because of the recent legal requirements for the government building sector, we can predict the same will happen in the marine industry, specifically with naval and commercial ships.”

3DMSI believes that its experience and success with modelling buildings can give them a strong first-mover advantage in the marine industry:

“We would like to put together a service that uses the 3D scan data to model a complete ship, including its systems, and pairs this with information from onboard sensors. Once this total scan package is completed, it can be used by design engineers and shipyards to offer a superior service of care to vessels anywhere in the world. We call this project ‘3D AMP.’ This is a research project that commercial shipyards have not yet adopted, but we are certain it is a technology that many will be crying out for very soon.”

Getting to market quickly with a breakthrough solution would greatly improve their chances of commercial success, which is one of the reasons they engaged with the Marine-i team:

“We have undertaken scanning of commercial and private vessels, scanning entire hulls and superstructures of vessels, including their engineering systems. The next critical stage is to combine our internal laser scanning and 3D modelling with the intelligent onboard sensors to produce an active model.

“The grant we have received from Marine-i is a massive boost to our plans. It will enable us to progress to ‘real world’ testing of 3D AMP, together documenting all the correct procedures needed for the optimum use of the system.”

Professor Lars Johanning of the University of Exeter, who leads the Marine-i project, says:

“This is unique and highly skilled work, of the type that will be vital to the long-term growth of the marine industry in Cornwall. In fact, thanks to Marine-i’s involvement, 3DMSI are already seeking to recruit an experienced technical engineer to assist with their system testing. This is a model example of the kind of project that Marine-i  was set up to nurture – strategic, innovative, loaded with growth potential, and in a specialised field of marine technology where Cornwall has a real opportunity to become world leader.”