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Photoneo is a leading provider of robotic vision and intelligence. Based on a patented 3D technology, Photoneo developed the world’s highest-resolution and highest-accuracy 3D camera, thus unlocking the full potential of powerful, reliable, and fast machine learning.

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Real-time 3D model creation for automated cleaning & coating of large objects

POSTED 08/09/2022


This virtual case study presents an automation solution for the cleaning and coating of large working areas such as railcars, ships, or huge containers based on real-time 3D model creation and fast robot navigation. These applications include:

  • Blast cleaning – sandblasting, water-jet blasting, etc.
  • Removing rust & old paint
  • Pressure washing
  • Priming
  • Painting
  • And other similar tasks

The above tasks are usually performed manually, which is a tedious, physically challenging, and time-consuming operation. Automation can be done in two ways:

  1. The robot is programmed for every single step of the operation – this solution is inflexible and only applicable if all objects have the same size, shape, and orientation
  2. The robot is navigated through advanced 3D vision that provides a full 3D model of the object and an optimal trajectory for the robot

Solutions that rely on 3D vision are the most sophisticated ones. Yet, standard 3D vision technologies have their shortcomings – the robot navigated by a 3D vision system needs to stop moving to allow the 3D scanner to take a scan. This affects the overall cycle time and efficiency. 

For instance, the Photoneo structured light PhoXi 3D Scanner can be used in these types of applications (check out this TRINITY project), but if you need fast speed without interruption, there is another solution:

The fastest operation and highest efficiency will be achieved if the robot does stop for each scan acquisition – and there is only one technology on the market that can do that.




MotionCam-3D by Photoneo is the only 3D camera that allows you to 3D scan fast-moving objects in high resolution and submillimeter accuracy. Its unique features allow you to create 3D models of large objects in real-time and navigate your robot with precision and reliability to do the blast cleaning or painting tasks for you.

The camera can be used in demanding industrial environments as it is dust-tight and protected against low-pressure jets of water coming from any direction and at any angle. This protection is extremely important in sandblasting and pressure-washing applications.

Here is a summary of what you can get only with MotionCam-3D:

  • Real-time 3D point clouds of moving scenes, now also in color
  • 2 modes of operation:
    • Dynamic mode = resolution of 0.9 Mpx, accuracy of 300 – 1,250 μm
    • Static mode = resolution of 2 Mpx, accuracy of 150 – 900 μm
  • Low-noise 3D point cloud & detailed contours on the edges of the scanned objects
  • Robust performance even when scanning different materials
  • 3D model creation right at the moment of acquisition when combined with the PhoXi 3D Instant Meshing library
  • Industrial robustness = IP65, PoE, thermal calibration
  • Suppression of the effects of ambient light
  • Integrated computing unit = 15 Million points per second

The uniqueness of MotionCam-3D resides in the novel, patented technology of Parallel Structured Light. You can read more about the technology and how it overcomes the limitations of standard 3D sensing technologies in Photoneo's blog article The revolution in machine vision.

Watch this video of 3D scanning large shipping containers using a robot navigated by MotionCam-3D.



MotionCam-3D is the only 3D camera with which you do not need to compromise between the quality and speed of data acquisition. The scanned objects or the camera can move at a speed of 144 km/h (89 m/h) and you will still get supreme resolution and accuracy.

The PhoXi 3D Instant Meshing library enables you to create 3D models in real-time, which increases operation speed and cycle times, efficiency as well as productivity in cleaning and coating operations compared to manual operation or automation solutions deploying standard 3D vision systems.

Would you like to get more information on MotionCam-3D or discuss your projects? Do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].