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In pictures | Five new infrastructure innovations

8 January 2019

CM takes a look at some of the latest digital innovations and technical challenges on groundworks and infrastructure projects.

Remote sensors on Royal College of Music groundworks

Shoring specialist Groundforce is using a wireless monitoring system for real-time measurement of static loads and potential movements on Gilbert-Ash’s Royal College of Music project.

The complex scheme involves constructing a 7m-deep basement and extension in the central courtyard.

Groundforce’s FlatMesh technology uses wireless nodes attached to the hydraulic struts supporting the basement excavation, which pass their signal to a 3G gateway module, providing alerts about any unwanted movement in surrounding structures.

Piling specialist uses VR to monitor live projects

Ground engineer Aarsleff has developed a virtual reality (VR) app with software house Luminous which allows the contractor and clients to check project progress remotely.

The app uses 3D simulation and data mapping to bring project drawings to life, which helps estimators with project proposals and allows technical staff to determine appropriate rig type and assess surrounding conditions without ever having to step foot on site.

Drones survey 230km of HS2 route

One of the largest drone surveying jobs in the world has covered 230km of the HS2 route from London to Birmingham in just three weeks. Tech firm SenSat, licensed through the government’s drone pathfinder programme, carried out digital topographical surveys using drones fitted with high resolution cameras.

These generate thousands of photos which are stitched together into point clouds (pictured). The data, accurate to within 15mm, will be used to plan enabling works.

A14 earthworks uses digital digging tech

The Costain-Skanska-Balfour Beatty team on the £1.5bn A14 improvement project is using machine control technology for the earthworks. Specialist earthmover Walters is shifting 12 million cu m of material with help from Topcon’s Sitelink3D system, which is installed on its excavators and dozers.

This provides operators with a site model on an in-cab display which connects with Walters’ office, allowing remote monitoring, design changes, data exchange, reporting and analytics. 

Skanska cuts emissions 98% in ‘electric site’ pilot

Skanska and Volvo Construction Equipment have achieved a 98% reduction in CO2 emissions on an “electric site” trial.

Running for 10 weeks at a quarry near Gothenburg in Sweden, the pilot used eight autonomous, battery-powered load carriers, a hybrid wheel loader and cable-connected hybrid excavator, plus machine control and logistics management systems.

The results also showed a 70% drop in energy use and a 40% reduction in operator costs.

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