Screw conveyors are customized. It is important for Van Beek’s engineering team to clearly assess the location where the company’s machine will stand. To improve this understanding, Van Beek has a new tool: the 360° camera.

As the name suggests, the camera produces a 360° image of the location. The virtual environment can be seen on a big computer screen and you can ‘look round’ with the mouse or touchscreen.


The camera is an extension for Van Beek’s engineering team. “It is a tool for avoiding errors or ignorance during the development process,” says Joram van der Heijden, sales engineer at Van Beek. “We also see details that are important and we can think with our client.”


Previously Van Beek mainly used the classic tape measure and static photos. “The engineer works everything out and takes into account what he can see in the photos”, says Van der Heijden. “Sometimes you overlook something. You may have missed a couple of angles or not know what is behind an obstacle. We do come up against this.”


After the sale of a screw conveyor, various employees must get to work, from the engineer to the installer. Van der Heijden explains: “It is labour intensive to take several colleagues to site. It is therefore much more practical and efficient to all sit round a computer screen and take a virtual ‘walk’ through the environment.”


An alternative to the 360° camera is to take a 3D scan. This is an expensive technique where you take a laser scan of the environment. The scan is finally converted into a 3D drawing. “This method is very labour intensive, because it takes a long time to take the scan and convert it into a 3D drawing.” According to Van der Heijden the costs may amount to thousands of Euros.

The 360° camera cannot take measure- ments. Previously Van Beek was looking for a technique in which dimensions could be determined from photos. “But these are too inaccurate for our purposes”, says Van der Heijden.


Van Beek does not always use the camera. “We use the camera if the machine has been sold, the dimensions of the location are not known and we have to make a visit to measure up. This method is then part of the purchase package. The technology of the 360° camera is well known to many people, for example on Facebook and for holiday shots. But clients react with surprise and tell us that they have not seen the camera used before in this industry.”