Revisiting the golden age of beer

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The NavVis M6 indoor mobile mapping system plays a key role in an adventurous scanning project to help bring an old brewery back to life

Fermenting a solution

Brau Union is embarking on a program of renovation to breathe new life into the property, but the first decision to take is not an easy one – should the brewery be demolished or rebuilt? To proceed with confidence, the company needed to take complete inventory of the building and its surroundings.

That’s why Brau Union commissioned indoor scanning specialist Looom to digitize the entire building and create as-built drawings. Using the NavVis M6, an Indoor Mobile Mapping System (IMMS) on wheels, a complete digital floorplan would be created to support the client in their planning.

Who put the lights out?

The talented team at Looom were flexible enough to be able to start on the project right away. But during their first inspection of the five-storey building, they noticed an unusual restriction – a complete absence of electricity.

Alex Lindert, Looom project manager

“Our indoor mapping specialists were faced with completely new challenges,” explains Looom project manager Alex Lindert. “Almost every area of the area to be scanned was without electricity. So not only did we have no light, but we also had no functioning sockets!”

Undaunted, the team set out with pen and paper to form a plan of action. They laid more than 300 metres of extension cable and from a full trailer they installed LED lights. Now with the building properly lit, the scanning could start in earnest.

“In just five working days, two specialists with two NavVis M6 devices scanned an area of around 45,000 m2 in the old brewery,” says Lindert. “An incredible achievement, because the poor lighting conditions, tons of old furniture, dirt, cobwebs, heat in the attic and cold in the basement were a real challenge for our team.”

Also of value was the 6D SLAM (simultaneous localisation and mapping) technology in NavVis M6, which automatically compensates for differences in height. “Sometimes there was no level ground in the site,” Lindert says. “The rubble caused a few shocks, but we managed to continue scanning without a problem.”


Last orders

Looom captured a total of 57 individual scans with registration carried out in the browser-based software, NavVis IndoorViewer, to deliver a high quality 8.9 GB point cloud, comprising billions of points. Together with over 5,000 panoramic HD images, it was now possible to completely digitise the premises, creating an accurate digital copy of all five floors of the brewery building. This includes as-built floor plans and sections created with the help of the highquality point cloud.

NavVis IndoorViewer also gave the building owners remote access to the digital assets – completely independent of location – from any lightweight device.

“The building owners can now comfortably survey all areas on a laptop or tablet, they can mark points, highlight individual rooms and carry out exact planning,” says Lindert.

“Because the building is so old, some of its walls are still extremely thick, often more than one metre,” adds Lindert. “The question therefore arises as to whether it is more cost-effective to renovate and rebuild the building, but leave the basic structure intact, or demolish it completely.”

The owners still need to make that decision but, as Lindert concludes, with highly detailed construction documentation and the information readily available to all stakeholders, “Nothing stands in the way of a successful revitalisation for the site.”

What to do with an empty brewery? This is the conundrum faced by Brau Union in Linz, Austria. The brewing company has a historic site in its property portfolio, the Poschach Brewery built in 1836 by Franz Lehner, which has been vacant and abandoned since 1981. While at the beginning of the 20th century the brewery was producing around 100,000 hectolitres of beer a year, today the surrounding area has a greater need for modern office space.

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