Feature: Industry 4.0 and Steel
Industry 4.0 and BIM: Reshaping the Construction Industry According to some commentators, the construction industry is on the cusp of a new industrial age. The fourth industrial revolution (or Industry 4.0) will see construction practices and players alike adopting more advanced technology, bringing the industry in line with some of the more digitally developed industries. This will revolutionise not only how physical structures are designed and built, but how they are maintained across their entire lifecycle. One of the vital components of Industry 4.0 is digital data. With improved access to accurate, live data during all stages of an asset’s lifecycle – from design and construction right through to ongoing maintenance – both cost and time efficiencies can be pinpointed, thereby reducing errors. The benefits that are possible through the use of digital data are already evident in the construction industry’s initial adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM). According to Vinod Muthanna (CEO, DBM Vircon—owner of PDC, Candraft and BDS VirCon), “In the past, BIM has typically been used in relation to the construction of projects. The steel industry is a little ahead of the curve in terms of its utilisation of BIM. For years now, milimetre perfect models have been supplied to fabricators, who feed these into their CNC machines and welding robots—everything is already highly digitised.” “However, in recent times, the application of models has expanded. We are taking the multitude of models used during construction, to create one consolidated model that can be used for long-term facility management.” “Construction is a relatively short process of just one or two years. But the building itself has a lifecycle that can go on for over a century. Models can be used over that lifecycle to effectively manage the facility, particularly if the building is a plant, such as a power station.”
Smart Facilities Management Imagine being able to visually manage a crisis in an asset intensive process plant through a graphical interface with live streams of data and visuals; whilst accessing data from the plant’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, all through your tablet, while you are located miles away. “Smart connected facilities with a graphical interface to mobile devices offer exponential opportunities in functionality, as well as vast benefits in safety and productivity,” said Muthanna. “Utilising BIM as the visual front-end to the facility’s ERP system creates a cutting edge platform for facilities management.” Why Demand is Gaining Rapid Momentum The demand for such cloud based, mobile augmented reality platforms is gaining rapid momentum with: • The wide spread adoption of ‘Industrial Internet’ and ‘Internet of Things’ based strategies driving demand for smart, connected facilities • Growing demand for remote facilities management driven by safety and productivity considerations • Advances in BIM software interoperability, increased integration with ERP systems and the development of visual integrators by firms such as SAP and IBM • Advancements in cloud computing, coupled with increased penetration and capabilities of mobile devices Integrating BIM and ERP Systems “Integrating the BIM into an ERP system, and then to sites sensors, cameras and other monitoring devices, is key to unlocking value and providing a connected, augmented reality interface to the typical menu driven ERP system. This will enable operators to select items from the model to get live feeds from on-site sensors and cameras,” said Muthanna.
“There are a lot of moving parts in a power station that require constant maintenance—having a live model that reflects the real-world circumstances on the ground really helps simplify and streamline ongoing management and maintenance processes.”
“Work order history and maintenance data can be dynamically retrieved by clicking on the graphical object on the model. Conversely, the ERP system can be queried to ‘show all items that are due for preventive maintenance in the next week’. The system will then visually highlight all the objects in the model, enabling tasks such as routing, sequencing and spatial analytics to increase safety and ‘wrench time’.”
“For example, PDC (a DBM Vircon firm) is currently working on a project in which we are consolidating over 250 construction models into one. The aim is that, at the end of construction, we will be in a position to hand over a fully complete federated model to the building owner who will then use it to manage the facility. The model can be integrated into whatever asset management platform the building owner wishes to use – typically IBM’s Maximo, or SAP. We expect our model to be the visual centrepiece for this particular facility within the chosen asset management program,” said Muthanna.
The Key Attributes of a BIM To achieve this, a smart connected facility’s BIM must have three key attributes: 1. An accurate, data-rich, model that is navigable and accessible—a lightweight easy to use model 2. A model that is fully integrated with the facility through smart technology, so that site sensors and cameras can be accessed and monitored through the model 3. A model that is integrated to the facility’s ERP system so that data (manuals, maintenance schedules, parts