Case studies

Our collaboration projects between the public sector, industry and academia bring a real impact to Scotland.


CADHERENT: Using Data To Explain Engineering Procedures Clearly

Cadherent supports engineering projects in sectors including oil and gas, construction and civil engineering, food, renewables, recycling and defence. It delivers sophisticated engineering design and visualisation services for clients’ projects in Europe, West Africa, Asia Pacific, Middle East, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. It can customise its services to clients’ individual needs. The specialist company has been headquartered in Aberdeen since it was established in 2006.

The Data Lab and OGIC facilitated Cadherent to develop an Augmented Reality procedural package, which uses the 3D point cloud obtained from 3D scanning, and performs object recognition without relying upon any markers; technology that is unique to the market.

What Cadherent Does

Cadherent delivers technologically sophisticated solutions spanning:

  • Project Management – workpacks, procedures, installation, supervision, verification.
  • Engineering Design – structural / mechanical/ piping analysis and design calculations.
  • Technical Draughting – general arrangements, fabrication drawings, red-line markups, P&ID and isometrics, subsea field layouts, sequence drawings.
  • Survey – 3D laser scanning, dimensional control, land / topographic surveys, construction setting out, measured buildings, boundary surveys, UAV and mobile mapping.
  • Visualisation – CGI animations, interactive & augmented reality (AR) presentations, industrial AR applications, technical illustrations, motion graphics.

Cadherent models use visualisation software to create realistic images and animations to help test concepts and procedures effectively. They allow tools to be shown in clear and detailed ways in what would have been obscured environments and locations.

Using data to create realistic images and animations to
provide effortless clarity and efficient engineering projects, saving time for
clients, which translates into monetary savings.

David Thomson, Managing Director, Cadherent



Cadherent identified an opportunity to provide a fully functional guiding system for the oil and gas industry. It proposed that an Augmented Reality (AR) procedural package could remove ambiguity when performing potentially high risk procedures. This would allow users to work with 3D visual models on tablet or heads-up devices.


Cadherent engaged with the Oil & Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC) and The Data Lab to support the development of the AR Procedural Guide system and selected Robert Gordon University as its academic partner. The RGU team took the project through proof of concept demonstrating potential usage, benefits and the technical feasibility of the platform.

Portable cameras were used to identify and classify equipment. This helps create a 3D model, which could be loaded onto the visualisation software and used to undertake a simulation of the delicate procedures. The resulting system has the added advantage of negating language barriers.

The project involves several important key research areas for the School of Computing including machine vision, data representation and data analytics. Throughout the project we developed, tested and successfully evaluated key algorithms in these domains.

Dr. Eyad Elyan, School of Computing Science and Digital Media, Robert Gordon University


Stena Drilling

Stena Drilling is one of the world’s most prominent independent drilling rig operators. The company operates globally from its head office in Aberdeen.


Cadherent was tasked with engineering the design of a large structure on-board the Stena Carron and Stena Drillmax drilling vessels. The structure will accommodate new heavy drilling equipment but all structural interfaces need to be accurately designed to ensure a clash free installation.


Cadherent carried out detailed 3D laser scans of the existing structures and installation area, which will accommodate the new heavy drilling equipment. The engineering design team undertook structural modifications using the surveys as “as built” data by integrating with the latest computer aided design (CAD) packages and specialist software. This allowed them to ensure the new structure remained clash free.

On completion of survey fieldwork the data was returned to Cadherent head office for processing and interrogation by the engineering design team.

After the design phase the survey team went on site to the drilling rig to set-out the primary structure. Using proven survey techniques, they continually monitored the 65Te structure throughout its assembly, confirming that the new structure fitted within the constraints identified during scanning.


  • By undertaking the initial laser scan, all critical interfacing points were captured with high accuracy and in full detail leading to a more precise alignment, avoiding clashes.
  • Using modelling software, the engineering design team could virtually visit the site for measurements at any stage in the project.
  • A target control system was established to allow any future vessel surveys to seamlessly integrate with the captured data.
  • Easy to clash-check scan data with local equipment, structure and design model.
  • Controlling the setting out of the primary structure was critical to ensure correct alignment for the interface with secondary steelwork.
  • This process reduced the number of people and time required to complete this project and reduced rig downtime. In this instance, instead of two people taking two weeks, only one person was required and the work was completed in a day because the scans enabled a first time, first fit. This represented significant savings for the company.

Cadherent’s use of 3D scans allows for the manipulation of designs using visualisation software to create an efficient engineering project. This enables them to minimize mistakes and reduces human interface thus saving significant operational downtime. This could provide major savings to the operators and establishes Cadherent as an ongoing and trusted supplier of effective and efficient design solutions.