HomeNewsNewsletterArchivesAuthorsJobsVideoDirectoryTwitterEvents
Register to receive the LiDAR MAG Newsletter  
advertisement

eNewsletter

News

remove subscribe

LiDAR Magazine Today


 

follow us on Twitter 

Sponsored By


TAS Lidar Content
TAS Content
Videos
Meet the Authors
Check out our fine lineup of writers. Each an expert in his or her field.
Sponsored By


Partner Sites

American Surveyor

machinecontrolonline 

lbszone.com

GISuser.com

GeoJobs.biz

GeoLearn

 

Spatial Media LLC properties

Associates

ASPRS

Connect

LinkedIn Group
twitter
youtube
facebook group
rss

Home   LiDARmag     

In This Issue
• On the Road  • Points & Pixels  • Pixel Perfection  • On the Road  • UAS Mapping  • 3D Printing  • Visualizing Point Clouds  • Hybrid Remote Sensing  • Multiple Returns  • Landslide Analysis  • El Niño  • Resolution v Precision  • Tipping Point
Articles   View Cover    Click HERE for the PageFlip full version of the magazine.
RECENT LiDAR MAG UPDATES
senseFly Brings Drone Education to Esri User Conference
Teledyne Optech Brings Full Spectrum of Remote Sensing Technology to Esri UC 2017
Global Mapper SDK and LiDAR Module SDK v18.2 Released
Quanergy is Named to MIT Technology Review’s Annual 50 Smartest Companies List
RIEGL to Exhibit and Present at Esri IMF and Esri UC
CompassCom to Debut Enhanced CompassTrac Enterprise Mobile Resource Management Solution at Esri User Conference
8 Woolpert UAS Pilots Earn North Carolina Commercial Permits
Big Success for First Pan-European Drone Conference and Trade Fair
Orbit GT and WSP Group, Sweden Update Gold Reseller Status
Woolpert’s Zoltek Named to Florida ASPRS Board
Global Mapper LiDAR Module v18.2 Now Available with New Hydro-Flattening Capability
Renishaw Releases Updated Void Scanner Cavity Monitoring System
Indoor Reality Announces New Website Launch
Quantum Spatial Acquires Aerial Photo Collection from Assets of Air Flight Services
INTERGEO: Digital Image Evaluation Heading for New Markets
Survey and Mapping Company Partners with Leading Unmanned and Manned Flight Service Experts
Spanish Language Version of Global Mapper Now Available
Cepton Launches its High-Performance LiDAR Solutions
Orbit GT Releases UAS Mapping v17.1 with Cloud Upload Feature at UAV Expo, Brussels
GEO Jobe to Share "The Power of GIS, Simplified" at the 2017 International Esri User Conference
Orbit GT Updates 3D Mapping Cloud with Sharing Capabilities
Carlson Software Adds Point Cloud Viewing in Free Precision 3D 2017 LandXML Viewer
Teledyne Optech Environmental Monitoring Capabilities Highlighted at Two Conferences
Orbit GT and Geotecnologias, Costa Rica, Sign Reseller Agreement
Blue Marble to Conduct LiDAR Workshop and User Group Meeting in Conjunction with the Esri UC in San Diego
Maser Consulting Hires Christopher M. Siebern as Senior Geospatial Survey Manager
BIMRAY UAV Cell Tower Surveys Provide Complete Inspection, Structural Analyses and 3D CAD Modeling
UK’s Biggest Geospatial Event Reports Record Attendance for 2017
Drone Hero Finalists to Battle It Out In Brussels
RIEGL Receives JALBTCX Technical Award
 
Industry Pioneers: Christoph Fröhlich Print E-mail
Written by Gene Roe   
Saturday, 12 April 2014

A 644Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

In the Beginning
There must have been something about the business environment in Germany in the 1990's that encouraged the development of not one, but two of the world's leading 3D laser scanner manufacturers. Not only did Bernd Becker launch what would become the innovative line of FARO scanners, but Christoph Fröhlich was busy following an amazingly similar path (for those who recall) leveraging his industrial automation Ph.D. research into a prototype of a laser scanner. The one major difference with Christoph's story is that by the time he was finishing his Ph.D. his father had already built Zoller + Fröhlich into a highly successful manufacturing business.

Let's go back some 50 years to 1963 when schoolmates Hans Zoller and Hans Fröhlich started Z + F in a former coal cellar with the idea of creating individual control systems. Right from the beginning, the newly founded electrical engineering company put a strong emphasis on promoting innovation, developing new ideas and creatively solving problems. Christoph notes, "It has always had a straight forward looking philosophy which is based on a solid educational foundation."

In 1966 the company moved to a new building in Wangen/Allgäu that is still the headquarters of Z + F. Building switch cabinets was the basis for the invention of the insulated wire end ferrule in 1969. This design is used all over the world for solderless connections in wire harnessing. They are still produced as well as improved in Wangen/Allgäu.

Today Z + F has more than 200 employees in Germany and is managed by the second generation of the Fröhlich family. Zoller + Fröhlich is an internationally operating company and cooperates with dealers in more than 40 countries. There are also permanent subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, the United States and Italy, which employ a total of about 50 people, but it was Christoph who got them into the laser scanning business, although it he did not start out with that intent.

Research and Development
While pursuing his PhD in the early 1990's at the Technical University in Munich, Christoph focused his research on developing a robotic vehicle that could navigate the shop floor production lines without being tied to physical guides or tracks. This involved the development of a 2D, phase-shift based laser scanner that showed some technical promise. Yet, it was purely out of personal interest, not business development that Christoph removed the sensor from the vehicle one day and began scanning building facades.

Christoph remembers, "After completing my academic studies in 1994 I started to work at Zoller + Fröhlich full time. I was writing my doctoral research study and in 1996, when I finished my studies, I became the manager of the company together with my father." He continued, "It was actually my university professor who thought that the scanner had a wider potential that was worth exploring and my father agreed, giving me the freedom to develop it further as a sideline to my other work for the company."

In the beginning it was really difficult to establish laser scanning in the company. It took about 2 ½ years to develop the first working model. The first project was the high speed measurement and inspection of railway tracks, first in Germany and then in Switzerland where it was applied to tunneling work. This was followed by a research project with the CarnegieMellon University in the USA.

Christoph recalls, "This established its market potential, and with the help of some former students from the University--and many late evenings over coffee, we went on to develop the world's first optical 3D laser measurement system for the documentation of the "as built" situation."

Market Success
Launched in 1996, the scanner was initially applied to production line applications in the automotive industry (as was Bernd Becker's), a market in which Z+F was already well entrenched. However, because of the all-purpose nature of the scanner and successor models, with data capture rates rising from 500 pixels/sec to more than one million, the laser scanners have been adopted for everything from risk analysis to cultural heritage and from forensic science to architectural design.

"In 2002 we launched the IMAGER® 5003," recalls Christoph. He continued, "In the beginning of 2003 Leica offered to sell our scanners as an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) version under their name. At that time almost nobody had known of Z+F as a manufacturer of laser scanners. In 2006 we had our breakthrough with the IMAGER® 5006. That was the first laser scanner in the world which was "stand alone" i.e. it did not require external , batteries, laptop, control box, etc.--it was all integrated into one case."

At the end of 2012 Z+F launched the first HDR- color scanner worldwide--the IMAGER® 5010C. This device scans colored laser point clouds, even in difficult lighting conditions using an integrated CCD camera. Additionally Z+F recently launched a new high speed 2D laser scanner--the Z+F PROFILER® 9012. This model also offers to serve the area of tunnel- and road surveying, and many other mobile scanning applications. All the manufacturing work is done in-house as it always has.

Family is Most Important
As far as the people who influenced Christoph, he notes, "From the beginning my father, Hans Fröhlich gave me support with my idea to establish laser scanning in the company. Until today I'm getting backing from my mother and my sister Cathrin. Nowadays she's working at Zoller + Fröhlich together with me, which is a perfect combination as she takes care of all business related topics, giving me time to focus on technical aspects." Outside of work Christoph enjoys watching football (Bayern Munich), cooking and fishing.

When asked for his assessment of the current state of the laser scanning/ LiDAR industry Christoph answered, "I think the laser scanning industry is still growing. We constantly try to improve our products in order to maintain our leading position in the market. Today it's not just about building faster and more accurate laser scanners, nowadays we need to make the process easier and more productive for the user and to make new techniques available to them."

In terms of the most pressing issues within the industry Christoph thinks there is a need for qualified experts with field experience, the need to develop more and new technologies and that quality needs to be strengthened.

"At first many people were thinking laser scanning is a strange idea," recalls Christoph. "The only backing I got was from my family. Of course, I'm happy that we are in the position in which we are today, and we could celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2013. I consider it a very important task in my life to continue to run the business with my family. There are still more ideas as we have many goals we want to achieve!"

I am sure the next 50 years will be even more exciting.

Gene Roe is the Managing Editor and Co-Founder of LiDAR Magazine.

A 644Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

 
< Prev   Next >

 
From the Editor: A Glance Back and Look Ahead to 2017!
Welcome to the 2017 January/February edition of LiDAR Magazine. As the first issue of 2017, it's a great time to look back over the year that was and take a peak ahead to what the coming year has in store for the LiDAR, mapping and geospatial business. 2016 was a very good year for ....
Read the Article
P and Pixels 
Points & Pixels
Severe Minibus Accident Documented for Crush Analysis... The Shining - in 3D... Leica BLK360 Imaging Laser Scanner and Autodesk ReCap 360 Pro App... Trimble Unveils SX10.... Scanning efficiency for complex structures... Acuity Technologies... New AEC Salary Report ...
Read the Article
Vicki Lukas 
The 3D Elevation Program and America's Infrastructure
Infrastructure--the physical framework of transportation, energy, communications, water supply, and other systems--and construction management--the overall planning, coordination, and control of a project from beginning to end--are critical to the Nation's prosperity ....
Read the Article
Brent Gelhar 
Roadway Inspection - Different Surfaces, Different Requirements
Since mobile mapping data collection systems first emerged several decades ago, there have been many advances in the technologies employed. The original visual inspection methods were automated at first with the advent of video camera technology. The most recent ....
Read the Article
John Stenmark, PS 
Indoor Mobile Mapping Takes Off at LAX
Airports are key components of the global transportation infrastructure. They are complex, expensive investments that require tight management. In order to achieve efficient operations and optimized return on investment, it's ....
Read the Article
Lies Steel 
Mobile Mapping Project in Belgium Combines 360° Images & LiDAR
In January 2017 IMAGE-V, the consortium formed by Teccon and Sweco Belgium, published the last data set of Flanders in 3D LIDAR and high resolution 360° images. This concluded the 2-year project for the Flemish authorities in which the entire road network of Flanders ....
Read the Article
Dr. David F. Maune 
Why ASPRS is Key to Geospatial Professional Development
I started my geospatial career as a First Lieutenant in Army topographic engineer units in the early 1960s when stereo photogrammetry was still performed with analog Multiplex projectors. It could take 8 hours to perform relative orientation for a single pair of stereo aerial photos ....
Read the Article
Scott Peterson, GISP 
Mobile LiDAR and Orbit GT - Providing the User with the Best Tools
Michael Baker International possesses the most comprehensive asset data collection capabilities in the industry. To help our clients maximize their resources Michael Baker has implemented a web-based solution on our BEAST environment (Baker Enterprise Architecture for Spatial ....
Read the Article
Lewis Graham 
Random Points: Out of Control?
I used part of my Thanksgiving holiday to catch up on some industry reading. What I find is rather disturbing. The offending information is primarily coming from overview articles in online sources regarding small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) and their data collection ....
Read the Article

 

Share this page with your favorite social networks! 

deliciousrssnewsletterlinkedinfacebooktwitter

LiDARmag Exclusive Online-only Article ticker
Featured LiDAR MAG Events
List Your Event Here
please
contact LiDAR

Google
 
LiDAR MAG TOP NEWS


Teledyne Optech
To Be at ESRI UC

GOT NEWS? Send To
press [at] lidarmag.com
INTERGEO TV
Online Internet Content

Sponsor


White Papers
Careers

post a job
Reach our audience of Professional land surveyors and Geo-Technology professionals with your career ad. Feel free to contact us if you need additional information.

News Feeds

 
Subscribe to LiDAR MAG updates via friendfeed

Need Help? See this RSS Tutorial






©Spatial Media LLC - All rights reserved / Privacy Statement
Spatial Media LLC
905 W 7th St #331
Frederick MD 21701
301-620-0784
301-695-1538 - fax