A team of experts from Exelon PowerLabs went to the Conowingo Dam in Maryland to scan the inside of the hydroelectric power plant to map out this famous structure using 3-D laser scanning technology. The Conowingo dam was constructed in 1928 on the Susquehanna River and was the largest power plant that had ever been built at that time.

Today it is considered one of the largest non-federal hydroelectric dams in the United States.  With 11 active turbines in the plant, the water running through the turbines acts as a fuel to these generators and has helped produce a great amount of energy to the region. The dam successfully produces 1.6 million megawatt hours of electricity annually.

Exelon PowerLab’s lab technician, David Schurr and senior IT analyst, Samm Carbo made the venture to scan this famous establishment. With their diverse skill set, they were able to map the first and second floor of the plant in the turbine room.

The NavVis M6 laser scanning device used for this project uses 3 lidar sensors as well as a SLAM unit. SLAM stands for simultaneous location and mapping. Together, the lidar sensors and SLAM unit work together to build a map by determining the location and distance of nearby objects. This is especially beneficial as the results of the scan can be used for design and engineering work leveraging this scan data. With the use of lidar technology, the scanner can gather more information and triangulate much more accurately in a short period of time. With the lidar down at the base, it makes it easier to move and pivot the scanner in order to get the reference points needed such as getting the shape and dimensions of a window. Since this scanner is collecting a voluminous amount of data, the processing itself can take time.

The PowerLabs team then extracted the data points that were collected during the scan to create a 3-D map which can serve as a blueprint.  With this scan, the information can then be transformed to do many things for the Conowingo Dam. Whether it’s choosing it to be converted into a virtual reality simulation for job training purposes or a tool for calculating improvements for the facility, the sky’s the limit. When it comes to Exelon PowerLabs’ customer’s scanned data, that information remains confidential and secure for them to use however they choose.

Through technological advancement, Exelon PowerLabs produced an accurate 3-D mapping of this hydroelectric plant. The Conowingo Dam can use this information for future design and engineering changes, training, and more.

If you’d like more information on laser scanning, please contact Tom Wait at Thomas.Wait@exeloncorp.com.