on May 23rd, 2023

Laser technology has come a long way since its inception in the early 1960s, from being a science fiction fantasy to becoming an integral part of various fields. It has dabbled into the realms of manufacturing, healthcare, communications, aerospace, and entertainment. Let’s look at its role in construction.

The construction industry has been transformed by using lasers, which have become an indispensable tool for engineers. With the use of lasers, engineers and construction workers can ensure that structures are built to the correct specifications, reducing errors and saving time and money.

Laser technology has been making a huge impact in engineering.

Did you know?

The first working laser, created by American physicist Theodore Maiman in 1960, was initially developed as a tool for scientific research and experimentation.

Maiman’s laser used a ruby crystal as the laser medium, and its primary purpose was to generate a focused, high-intensity beam of light that could be used to study the properties of materials and perform precision measurements.

Different uses of lasers in construction

Laser scanning provides a robust method for surveying inaccessible surfaces as well as complex geometries. It collects surface data using a laser scanner, which captures the precise distance of densely scanned points over a given object at rapid speed.

This process is commonly referred to as a point cloud survey or light detection and ranging (LIDAR). LIDAR has become invaluable for surveying existing properties for retrofitting and refurbishment.

Helicopters and drones can use laser scanning to record the exact details of topography, existing structures, and townscapes. The data captured by LIDAR can be used to generate 3D images that can be converted for use in 3D computer-aided design (CAD) modeling or building information modeling (BIM).

For example, in 2021 the public institution responsible for the conservation and restoration of Notre Dame de Paris utilized reality capture technologies to generate data before the fire incident to construct a 3D BIM model of the Notre Dame Cathedral. Later, the company utilized recent reality capture laser scans to create 3D models of the Cathedral after the fire, which were compared to the pre-fire models.

Lasers are extremely precise and accurate, which makes them ideal for leveling and alignment tasks in construction. Laser levels can project a precise level or alignment line across long distances, making it easier to ensure that construction elements are level and in the correct position.

A blog titled, “Prospects of Laser Technology in Engineering Machinery” says, “Compared to other thermal cutting methods like flame and plasma, laser cutting can achieve higher precision with smaller slits due to its large energy output per unit area.”

This is particularly useful in construction projects where precise measurements and alignments are crucial, such as when building foundations or installing walls and ceilings.

Laser cutting and drilling tools can also be used in construction to cut and bore precise holes in a range of materials, including concrete, steel, and wood. This is especially useful when working with materials that are difficult to cut or bore using traditional tools. Lasers can make precise cuts with minimal damage to surrounding areas, which reduces waste and saves time.

Grading and excavation are also important tasks in construction, and laser grading and excavation systems use lasers to guide heavy equipment, such as bulldozers and excavators, to create precise slopes and grades in earthworks and other construction projects. This technology is particularly useful for creating precise slopes and grades in large-scale projects, such as highways, bridges, and dams.

Lasers can be used in building automation systems to control lighting, HVAC systems, and other building systems. This can help reduce energy consumption and improve building efficiency.

Lasers can even be used for repairing and resurfacing concrete and pavement surfaces. By heating and melting the surface, lasers create a strong bond between the old and new materials, making the repaired surface more durable and longer lasting. This technology is particularly useful for repairing damaged surfaces in high-traffic areas, such as roads and bridges.

Incorporating laser technology into your construction processes will prove beneficial.

One of the latest developments in laser technology for construction is the use of augmented reality (AR) systems. AR systems use laser projection technology to superimpose digital information onto real-world environments.

AR systems can provide workers with real-time information about construction plans, safety hazards, and other important details. This can improve worker safety and efficiency and help to reduce errors and rework.

In November 2022, Argyle.Build created an app with the same name in which they are running its newest build (Tiger Corn) on its oldest hardware, the Hololens 2. Argyle is an AR system that is used to discover site problems before they happen.

Benefits of using laser technology in construction

One significant advantage is precision and accuracy, as laser technology allows for highly accurate measurements and leveling, ensuring that construction projects are precise and meet required tolerances.

This leads to increased efficiency as construction teams can work more efficiently, reducing the time needed to complete tasks and improving overall project timelines.

Moreover, laser technology enhances safety by providing accurate measurements and leveling, reducing the risk of accidents on construction sites.
Another benefit of laser technology in construction is reduced waste. It helps to ensure that construction materials are used efficiently, minimizing the need for rework or adjustments.

This results in cost savings, as improving accuracy, efficiency, and reducing waste can help to save costs and improve the overall profitability of construction projects.

Finally, laser technology can help to create 3D models of construction sites, providing a clear visualization of the project and facilitating better decision-making.

In a recent conversation with Karoline Figueiredo, a doctoral candidate, and EIT lecturer, she said, “Laser technology has been a game-changer in engineering, enabling us to achieve higher levels of precision and control in our projects. The potential for laser technology is limitless, from developing innovative materials to enhancing renewable energy sources and inventing entirely new manufacturing processes. And, since we continue to explore new possibilities and push the boundaries of engineering, lasers will undoubtedly play an essential role in shaping the future of our society.”

Lasers are versatile tools that can be used in a variety of construction applications to improve accuracy, efficiency, and safety. As laser technology continues to develop, we will likely see even more innovative uses for lasers in the construction industry.


Restoring the Notre Dame Cathedral: A digital project

Prospects of Laser Technology in Engineering Machinery

2022 Augmented Reality App for Construction – Argyle

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