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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Where the 3D Model Drives Field Equipment: Interview with Bentley Systems

January 25th, 2018 by Susan Smith

Harry Vitelli, senior vice president, Construction and Field, Project Delivery and Eric Law, senior director, Product Management at Bentley Systems spoke with AECCafe Voice at the Bentley Year In Infrastructure Thought Leadership Conference in Singapore in October, 2017.

China Construction Sixth Engineering Division, Tianjin University of Technology, Tianjin Tianhe-Cloud Building Engineering Technology Co., Ltd – Sanya New Airport Reclamation Project – Sanya, Hainan, China

Bentley and TopCon teamed up to help construction industry professionals to learn best practices in constructioneering, a process of managing and integrating survey, engineering, and construction data, to streamline construction workflows and improve project delivery.

Constructioneering enables engineers to begin work with an accurate 3D model of current construction site conditions (as captured by Topcon’s UAS photogrammetry and laser scanners) which then can be processed into engineering-ready 3D reality meshes (by Bentley’s ContextCapture software). Cloud services convey the engineers’ work directly to construction processes in the field.

Eric Law: Construction process automating the workflows, what we’re doing is going after design build teams and helping them to pursue projects better, by using reality modeling, drones, and ContextCapture.

We’re automating workflows with TopCon and Bentley to move data throughout their process. So, this way I can take a drone, fly a site, capture the site, use Bentley’s ConceptStation to develop essential designs, get my client to buy off on a design. I can say here’s a budget concept, pick an option then take it to detailed design. In detailed design, we can actually move it back to TopCon and out to the field where it is driving machines. We can take the design all the way back to the equipment on the field, where we’re doing surveying stakes, redoing drawings, all that redundant stuff. By working with TopCon we’re streamlining that workflow process. It’s a really big step forward for the industry. Everyone talks about inefficiency in construction and one of the things we’re doing is how do we improve that design and construction, how do we get rid of data loss and move data across the process. We’re going to be educating in the Academy on how constructioneering can help the design and build teams better execute their budgets. We’ve put together the Constructioneering Academy and take these workflows out to the audience and educate them on how they can leverage this in their projects. It’s a great way of combining technology, education, working together as a collaborative team in the industry.

Harry Vitelli: Ray O’Connor, president and CEO of Topcon Positioning Group, talked about bringing designers and engineers together. The way Eric was describing, you have designers and engineers putting their data into this concept of a Connected data environment and then TopCon comes into the connected data environment with their software for doing machine control. Our general idea is that this connected data environment is another big megatrend here. This is the place where everyone comes together as part of a connected project and the great thing is, it lives in the cloud so it’s completely federated. So, if an EPC or GC wants to have a TopCon machine come in, they allow all the security privileges, so this is how the workflow comes together. This is Bentley’s unique contribution to this workflow, where ProjectWise lives in this workflow. Without that, the civil or design contractor or GC would have to put one of these together for themselves.

AECCafe Voice: This wouldn’t work without ConnectEdition, correct?

HV: Yes.

AECCafe Voice: What kind of information is this machine control going to get out of here?

HV: It will get all the grade elevations, all the geometry and dimensions. What machine control actually means is to actually go out and tell where to cut, how much to cut out, and so TopCon takes the design and they look at it, and say they have to cut and go down 10 feet, a major cut. What they’ll say I’m going to do it at 12 inch lifts, so the machine knows it’s going to take out 12 inches for each tier. And the machine will make ten passes of each area to get down to that level. The operator in the cab knows exactly where he is, sees his progress, and then they feed that back to track progress on the job site as well.

Then we can fly drones over the jobsite to track quantity of dirt that’s removed from that area. This way the contractor can keep tabs of their progress and how well their operators are performing on the project.

AECCafe Voice: Wouldn’t they know how much dirt they’re taking out?

HV: Usually they know approximately how much dirt they are taking out.

When you fly the drone overhead it’s got a much more detailed accuracy. Some of the drone flyovers are on a daily basis to see their progress and check quality as well, to make sure machines are doing their job and the operators too so this it’s a quality and quantity check. It’s an automated process. There was one company I saw who could drop a drone (small size) in a box and you hook up electricity and internet to it and tell it to run a pattern every day. It pops out of the box and runs the jobsite every day. It takes the pictures and we can take those meshes and do quantity calculations and find out how much dirt was extracted. And they can also compare their mesh with the design. If they have changes with the design they can push those out to the field.

EL: We’re developing some videos and website to show it off. Our goal is to go after design build civil teams who are going to get the biggest value from it and educate them about how to best get their projects faster.

HV: Trends for project collaboration. ProjectWise 365: What we’re finding is a lot of our users for ProjectWise – which is the heart of all this – are using Office 365. It’s not just Word, PowerPoint and Excel anymore, it’s a lot of technology in there. There’s a big investment in those technologies and they are very relevant to project delivery workflows.  We’re putting an engineering layer on the top of Office 365. What I mean by that is if you have documents for standard operating procedure sitting in SharePoint they need to go out as part of the transmittal or part of tender management to another company. We can take that data from SharePoint, leave it in SharePoint to reference it and make it part of the transmittal or submittal, or we can make it part of the construction management workflow where change orders are going in. Microsoft Flow is part of 365 as well. We can create some really interesting workflows. We wrote a connector off of Office 365 to ProjectWise so that way if there’s a lot of lot of data being stored in ProjectWise that enables collaboration to happen as well.  We want to make those Office 365 technologies very relevant for project collaboration. Instead of each user coming up with it on their own, we’ve made it part of this connected data environment.

AECCafe Voice: You’re just doing the engineering layer and then you can access everything underneath it?

HV: Exactly. Navigator Web is another service as part of this connected data environment. You can take a DGN or DWG file and share it with someone outside your company without them having to have the original. Folks viewing the model may not have the Revit or OpenRoads or the version they need, so you upload that file in the Connected data environment and convert it into an iModel. Then we’re able to display it right inside a web browser.

So, the user who needs to contribute to a BIM review doesn’t have to have the offering tools. All they need is a competent web browser and internet connection, so that’s another capability we announced called Navigator Web but it’s basically BIM review inside a web browser. And this Connected data environment has a lot of services in it.

And if it’s an iModel it can be updated.

In press release about Navigator Web. We’ve now added we now have bidding and tendering solutions part of portfolio solutions more value and capabilities so they don’t have to go to different solutions and take data out of the environment. That is a great one so they can do digital bids, qualification, solicitation and receive the bids. Announced this morning as well eBid Systems acquisition.

Almost all your constituents will acquire some construction services and the process of doing that isn’t easy, because you want to make it a fair and equitable bid. You will say I need to buy X and you have ten or 15 vendors applying for it. That workflow has typically been done by phone calls, email, paper. Bids have to be in by a certain time of day, this helps them implement that process. The reason we acquired eBid is a lot of the data for engineering construction services is in a Bentley product, typically ProjectWise, so it extends all the data that’s in the common data environment out to the workflow.

AECCafe Voice: Is the Siemens partnership going to affect you in any way?

Yes, Siemens does a lot of machine equipment for construction, electrical stuff, so we look at them on the asset management side. How do you pursue a piece of electrical equipment and track it through the design process and Bentley design and construction?

And the operator. How can we leverage the data and work together between the two companies? Siemens has the manuals and warranties, materials and equipment asset management. We do a lot of work with them in our work packaging area. Their process drives the vision and does a lot of work in plant processing industry, so they need to be able to construct all their equipment into a plant. We’re working with them to make sure all their equipment fits very well into our construction solution work packaging. We do have some groups doing construction management consulting as well, lining up with construction management solutions software. A great partnership. Siemens doesn’t just supply equipment and software to learn it but they will also provide services to install it and get it up and running and getting it on site, so they need construction and commissioning software to help do all that work. They are a full service when they come to their equipment.

ProjectWise CONNECT Edition cloud services, powered by Microsoft Azure, complement ProjectWise Design Integration service, for work-sharing across collaborating engineering teams—which can be deployed on-premises, as a cloud service, or in any hybrid combination. By virtue of the shared Azure platform, project delivery organizations using both ProjectWise CONNECT Edition’s new “365 Services” and Microsoft Office 365 will increasingly benefit from digital workflows between their engineering work processes and enterprise productivity tools. Along with “365 Services,” Bentley’s connected data environment, shared between ProjectWise and AssetWise, now includes Components Center, ContextShare, ConstructSim Completions, and iModelHub services.

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Categories: 2D, 3D, AEC, AECCafe, apps, BIM, building information modeling, civil information modeling, Cloud, collaboration, construction, convergence, engineering, field, field solutions, file sharing, infrastructure, integrated project delivery, lidar, managed services, mobile, plant design, point clouds, project management, reality capture, site planning, traffic simulation, virtual reality, visualization, Year in Infrastructure 2017, YII 2017, YII2017

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