HxGN RadioPodcast

[PODCAST]: Digitizing Heavy Construction

Learn how the digitisation of the heavy construction industry gives greater transparency on multiple levels of the process in this episode of HxGN RADIO.

Welcome to HxGN Radio. This is your host Veronica Miller. Revolutionizing the world of measurement and survey for nearly 200 years, Leica Geosystems creates complete reality capture solutions for professionals across the world. Known for premium products and innovative solution development, professionals in a diverse mix of industries trust Leica Geosystems for all their geospatial needs. With precise and accurate instruments, sophisticated software, and trusted services, Leica Geosystems delivers value every day to those shaping the future of our world. In today’s episode, we are talking to Johan Arnberg, who is the president of the Machine Control Division at Leica Geosystems about digitizing the heavy construction industry.
VM: Thank you for joining us today.

JA: Thank you Veronica, thank you for having me.
VM: Well let’s start by telling our listeners what Leica Geosystems role in the heavy construction industry is today?
JA: Well Veronica, Leica Geosystems is a global supplier of productivity, quality and efficiency enhancing solutions to the heavy construction industry today. We provide a complete range of solutions for on- and off machine guidance, positioning and visualization in the heavy construction workflow. We are a trusted partner to the construction companies around the world, providing support and training to both machine operators, foremen, project managers and on everything from workflow and data management to both on- and off machine solutions.
VM: Now what do you mean when you say the digitization of the heavy construction industry?
JA: Well Veronica, that’s a really good question. I think we should take a step back and first ask what is characterizing the heavy construction industry today to understand the need for digitizing. The heavy construction industry today represents more than 12% of our GDP and is of course a key industry for our society by providing and maintaining the necessary infrastructure. It is a project based industry where not two projects are identical. This leads to that the decisions on how to execute a project is very much dependent on the local building management. Being complex projects, this results in high levels of inefficiencies , hampered by archaic, excel-heavy processes and high waste of natural resources. And you can say that what’s normal today is overruns of both budgets and timelines are more standard than exceptions in today’s heavy construction industry today. But at the same time the expected demand for investment in infrastructure is growing substantially. This is both for maintaining and renewing existing infrastructure in the industrialized world but is also the creation for new infrastructure in the emerging world. Since the funds are not unlimited to do this, we need to become more efficient in how we plan and execute heavy construction projects. Just to give you an imagination of the potential we are talking about – today we believe that we have a savings potential of up to 35% in the heavy construction industry. And it means, fully utilized, we could produce 50% more for the same investment.
So if we now go back to digitizing and what is going to revolutionize and what is revolutionizing there the construction industry. The basic concept of digitizing is to make the whole worksite “become alive” by “joining the dots”. You connect all the assets, you connect the people on a jobsite by sensors which will allow the contractors and the project managers to communicate the work orders and to receive real-time as-built data back. It’s all alive and with most of the design models now using 3D, new imagery technologies will allow fast checks and constant project adjustments which will result automatically in big productivity gains
VM: And how can Leica Geosystems support this development?
JA: Well I believe that Leica Geosystems has a unique role to play in this industrial transformation. The current offering that we have are of an end-to-end range of machine solutions are complemented by off machine surveying software which is specially developed for the non-surveyors in the construction industry, and customized software solutions to enhance the workflow and processes on a job site. At Hexagon being a leading provider of information technologies. The DNA of Leica Geosystems is to capture, analyze and to present spatial information and this is exactly what the digitization of the heavy construction industry is all about. But then requirements differ from region to region and this is where contractors around the world can rely on us as a trusted partner. We have a global organization of professional support engineers, we are never far away.
VM: Now what benefits are the heavy construction professionals receiving from these efforts?
JA: Well Veronica that’s a lot. By adapting machine control solutions, construction professionals receive a range of vital benefits and added value in their construction projects. The conventional methods are being made more efficient meaning that project tasks are completed in a shorter timeframe, and less use of material due to the accurate positioning. Having the solutions all connected to a centralized analysis applications allow real time modification to be made , with the effect that site project managers can optimize projects in an hour.
Having real time as-built information available additionally provides the benefits that estimations and planning details in the projects become more current. Providing documentation of work done, which is an increasing requirement today within the industry, is collected from all the equipped and connected solutions on the job site and by that you get high quality information the whole time.

VM: Now obviously the goal is to be more proactive than reactive and it seems that digitization gets you there. Can you share any specific projects where Leica Geosystems has used the digitization to increase productivity and efficiency?
JA: Well Veronica by just implementing Machine Control on machines at a job site will provide savings. You normally say be equipping machine control a machine will become between 30-70 percent more productive. So it’s big numbers. To take an example of a specific application there is a new museum that is being built in Oslo on the waterfront. It is an exciting project. It’s a new that’s going to house the collection of Norway’s most famous painter, the expressionist Edward Munch. For this project it was decided to use Leica Geosystems machine control systems for drill rigs on pile driving rigs, and just in this application it was measured that the savings were more 25,000 euros.

JA: And in the construction industry, work is often done 12 hours a day and your work 6 days a week. Without the use of machine control you would normally need two full-time surveyors to do the job, but then by using machine control you can reduce the requirement to one full-time surveyor. The surveyor can enter the theoretical data with a few clicks directly to the machine and from the office. This updated list with measured piles is then sent to the contracting authority to verify what’s been done.

VM: In addition to increasing productivity, efficiency, and saving costs, what else is on the horizon for machine control and Leica Geosystems?

JA: Well, Veronica, we are investing a lot in R&D to further develop the solutions that we offer the construction industry and to adapt them to the different local legislations and requirements. It’s very different from country to country and continent to continent. This includes implementing and adapting new breakthrough technologies that we get from being part of the Hexagon Group. For Leica Geosystems it means that we’ll have a strong and even richer portfolio in the future, and we will continue to play a leading role in the process of digitizing the industry.

VM: Well we look forward to seeing what comes next from machine control and Leica Geosystems. We really appreciate your time today and thank you so much for being our guest.

JA: Thank you Veronica, it was my pleasure.

To our listeners you can learn more about machine control digitization at Tune into more episodes from HxGN Radio on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher Radio. Thanks for listening.