Pipe radius estimation using Kinect range cameras

Mohammad Nahangi, Thomas Czerniawski, Carl T. Haas, Scott Walbridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


In the heavy construction industry, pipe spool assembly is geometrically complex and suboptimal fabrication processes inevitably lead to fabrication errors and costly rework. In an attempt to mitigate fabrication risks and improve product quality, computer aided tools are being developed to provide an additional layer of control. In this paper, the data acquisition capabilities of two low-cost range cameras are investigated for the eventual purpose of pipe fitting process monitoring in a smart fabrication facility environment. Range images of various pipes are systematically taken at varying distances from the sensor. By using the proposed radius estimation algorithm, the utility of the data for accurate geometrical pipe feature detection is evaluated by a radius feature metric. Results show that the algorithm reliably extracts radius information from point clouds representing piping. In conjunction with the algorithm, the low-cost range camera hardware was able to characterize pipes, of radius ranging from 2.41 cm to 8.78 cm at a distance from the sensor ranging from 0.5 m to 3.75 m, with an average error of 18% for Kinect 1 and 10% for Kinect 2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-205
Number of pages9
JournalAutomation in construction
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Assembly control
  • Curvature
  • Fabrication control
  • Kinect
  • Pipe spool
  • Radius
  • Visual sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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