TruePoint created a 3D model of the steel silo, which stood over 110 feet tall.

Case Study: 3D Laser Scanning a Grain Elevator in Michigan

Location: Near Saginaw, Michigan

Task: TruePoint provided high definition laser scanning services at a grain elevator in Michigan to capture the as-is conditions of the site. The client needed an accurate representation of the structural features to perform maintenance upgrades. They wanted specific documentation of the bucket elevator legs, fill conveyor bridges and tower supports.

Challenge: This was a complex site that included the grain elevator, silos, bins, tanks, conveyors and bridges. The area laser scanned was near 180,000 square feet with heights over 110 feet. Traditional means of measuring would be difficult, costly, time consuming and potentially hazardous.

Solutions: The scan technician completed laser scanning in two days utilizing the Leica C10 and Leica P40 laser scanners. Varying the position of the scanners on the ground and between silos, the technician was able to capture this complex site from a variety of angles. Additionally, the scan technician occupied elevated positions and tied those scans to the scans performed at grade. All of the scanning could be safely performed from a distance without climbing the structure and without the need for renting lifts or scaffolding.

Deliverables: The client received Autodesk Recap files of the scans (.rcs file format), black and white TruViews of the site, a 3D AutoCAD Model of the site, and section and plan views of the model laid onto the point cloud data with callouts.

Added Value: TruePoint’s CAD technicians communicated directly with the client to focus on key areas for detailed modeling in order to model exactly what was needed to keep costs down by avoiding unnecessary modeling effort. Using advanced extraction techniques and specialized software TruePoint was able to accurately represent structural features and deliver these to the client.

For laser scanning of grain elevators and other similar storage and processing facilities please contact TruePoint Laser Scanning at or 419-843-7226. For laser scanning in Michigan please contact us at or 734-807-0117.


3D model of the steel elevation shown in Edgewise software.


TruePoint created 2D drawings which included modeled objects and point cloud overlay.


This Navisworks image shows the silos and bridges from ground level.


Point cloud data of the towers.


3D Navisworks screen capture of the bucket elevator legs.


This image captured in Edgewise software shows the two silos and the bucket elevator.


3D screen capture of steel structure showing channels and tubes.