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Why Do Survey Equipment Tolerances Matter When Measuring Floors?

October 11, 2023

Why Do Survey Equipment Tolerances Matter for Measuring Floors? - James Dare -  Flooring Consultant at Face Consultants LtdAs the technologies involved in automated warehousing become more and more advanced, so too must the tools used to measure and assess these floors. James Dare, Flooring Consultant at Face Consultants Ltd, delves into the world of floor surveying and explains why using the correct high precision equipment is a make-or-break factor for surveyors, contractors, integrators, and end users alike.

Introduction

In the up and coming world of automated warehousing, the installations and systems used are becoming more and more sophisticated as new ideas and technologies are developed and deployed. In much the same way, the technologies for surveying floors aim to keep up with this demanding industry.

At Face Consultants and CoGri Group, we are always developing new equipment and software to keep ahead of this fast-paced industry and we continually carry out studies to offer the best service for our clients.

This article will help describe the complexities of measuring floors to tight tolerances and how not opting for the correct equipment can be problematic for surveyors, remedial contractors, flooring contractors, system integrators and end users.

Why is Survey Accuracy Important?

There are three main reasons to ensure your equipment must achieve the required accuracy:

  1. Contractually – Many specifications (whether bespoke to a specific company or system or a global standard such as TR34) require the survey equipment to achieve a certain accuracy. If the accuracy is not achieved, it may lead to complications when being signed off or if there is a missed problem when the system is in operation.
  2. Reducing remedial time & costs – Using a survey method without the required accuracy can actually create “False Errors”. These are errors found when surveying which are not really there. For example, if the tolerance of a floor is 4mm elevation difference over a given gauge length and the floor shows compliance to 3.5mm, if the survey has an accuracy of +/-1mm you have the potential to show a floor profile of 5.5mm which would show as non-compliant. See Figures 1 and 2 showing this phenomenon.
Figure 1: Actual floor profile passing.
Figure 1: Actual floor profile passing.
Figure 2: The same floor profile but the equipment shows a failure.
Figure 2: The same floor profile but the equipment shows a failure.

So, what now?

The floor will either be remediated unnecessarily, or further checks will need to be made over the area using more accurate equipment to confirm if there is an error or not. Both processes take time and, of course, an added cost.

  1. Reducing or eliminating missed errors – much as described above, there is a risk of not only creating errors with false data but also overlooking issues that are actually there. Using the same example as above, with a tolerance of 4mm over a given gauge length and the floor failing at 5.5mm, survey equipment with an accuracy of +/-1mm can show the floor to be compliant at 3.5mm. See Figures 3 and 4 showing this phenomenon.
Figure 3: Actual floor profile failing.
Figure 3: Actual floor profile failing.
Figure 4: The same floor profile but the equipment shows as compliant.
Figure 4: The same floor profile but the equipment shows as compliant.

What happens now?

– Nothing, as it won’t be checked or remediated.

If there is an issue with the floor later down the line and the area is checked using more accurate equipment, then there may be contractual issues as described in point 1.

This question doesn’t only relate to floors but all kinds of services.

After all, you wouldn’t see engineers from a precision engineering workshop leaving their micrometre on the side and instead using a tape measure to measure to 0.05mm! Not only would it be inaccurate, but the client wouldn’t be receiving the part or service they are paying for and rightly expect.

New Floor Surveying Technology

The newest trend coming through the industry for surveying floor surface regularity is 3D scanning.

Although the resolution of a 3D scan can be very good and outputs “pretty pictures”, what is the actual accuracy of a scan and how useful is the data?

Some companies are claiming an accuracy of +/-1mm (although even this may not be good enough in some scenarios), which is tighter than the claims of the scanner company itself when testing in perfect conditions.

From studies in working conditions, using some of the best equipment and processes on the market, the accuracy is more like +/-2mm.

Don’t just take my word for it:

You can read studies conducted and published by the ACI here.

3D Floor Scanning
Figure 5: 3D Floor Scanning.

We are always carrying out studies to develop our understanding of the capabilities of 3D scanning and will be continuously sharing the results from these studies. We strive to be at the forefront once the capabilities of any survey method have proven to be suitable for the industry.

Global Leaders in Floor Testing

CoGri Group and Face Consultants are seen as the global leaders in floor testing and have been for many years. We develop new devices and software to assist in measuring floors.

Face Consultants has a 3D scanning division and is pushing the limits of the equipment and software to get the best results. When we scan floors using this equipment, we do so to get a general idea of the floor profile, determine overlay thicknesses, or investigate large movement in floors from settlement or heave, but not, as yet, to determine compliance with floor flatness specifications.

So, the question should be:
If 3D scanning is considered suitable for measuring tight tolerances by some other companies, why are Face Consultants and CoGri not promoting the use of it for these applications?

Limitations of 3D Scanning for Checking Floor Flatness Compliance

An article written by the CoGri Managing Director can be found in the link below which describes one of the studies carried out to determine the usability of 3D scanning. This is available here.

If you have any questions or want to discuss the topic further, feel free to get in touch at james.dare@cogrigroup.com

James Dare - Flooring Consultant, Face Consultants Ltd

James Dare

James Dare is a Flooring Consultant at Face Consultants Ltd. He has over 14 years experience in the industrial concrete flooring industry involving designing, specifying, testing, constructing and rectifying high tolerance floors for the logistics industry.

Contact James today or follow us on LinkedIn:
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Face Consultants - LinkedIn

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