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A design, engineering and consulting firm in the UK, Arup, has developed and successfully installed a modular glass-fiber reinforced polymer bridge in Oxford, which according to them is the first such structure to be installed anywhere in the world. This is a pedestrian bridge at SSI (Site of Special Interest) in the Oxford area, of the UK which is “protected by law because they contain the core of Britain’s natural heritage,” as per Network Rail, which ordered the bridge. This SSI area did not offer the right conditions to bring in large cranes and other heavy machinery that would have been required to build it conventionally. Therefore, Network Rail chose Arup for a viable alternative which turned out to be the modular glass-fiber reinforced polymer bridge which has been branded as Pedesta.

Pedesta is an advanced and innovative lightweight GFRP (Glass Fibre Reinforced Plastic) post-tensioned, modular footbridge system, perfect for rail, road and river crossings. The plastic components can be easily moved by pallet trucks or forklifts as they are 70% lighter than steel. The Arup team was able to transport the components by an articulated tractor-trailer because of the relatively low weight of the bridge sections. The Pedesta components are especially suitable for sites that are difficult to access or for projects in harsh environmental conditions as it is effective in providing safe transit to people who have to pass by these locations.

Pedesta has the ability to transform footbridge manufacture, installation and maintenance in today’s fast-paced world. Experts at Arup designed the components as pre-engineered, modular and fully customizable in form, material, colour and finish, thereby making it a highly effective innovation. The Arup engineers assembled the sections on site with bolted shear connectors and got them post-tensioned. The system has a maximum span of almost 100 feet and each of the sections is over 3 feet long. Pedesta can be configured for easy integration of services, with options for lighting and advertising. It is marketed by a company named Mabey. 

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One major challenge for dozer manufacturers is to find ways to work around the basic working principle of the machines – more power always needs more fuel. The milestone to achieve here is more power without additional infusion of fuel. A number of mechanical improvements like higher injection pressure, custom design of the piston and combustion chamber, turbo-charging and some others can improve combustion efficiency to a certain extent by extracting more power from each unit of fuel. However, the fundamentals don’t change because more power would still need more fuel, which explains why there’s a direct correlation between power generation and fuel consumption.

This is where electronics and automation come in with specific improvements in the dozers that cover the inadequacies of even new recruits in a dozer fleet crew. Since it boils down to cost of operations, which in turn is directly related to the amount of fuel a crew uses up or the percentage of repairs from their handling of the dozers, the need for electronics, load management and automation systems become that much more important. A dozer produces power in proportion to the amount of fuel in its tank. Reducing its power during less demanding applications can help reduce fuel consumption but will performance remain the same? The balance needed here is to reduce power with no loss of performance and that becomes possible with electronics and automation.

In the era of smart machines, there are many functions that humans operating such machines aren’t required to do anymore. Similarly, dozers have also embraced smart technology to increase efficiency and safety. For instance, when the power eco mode is reduced, for work that requires less power, the engine speed (rpms) reduces by say, 10% while electronics take control of the engine speed and manages to balance it with the hydraulic system. Thereafter, when the engine needs full power, after the work requiring less power is accomplished, the system returns back to eco mode. Use of GPS systems has also made a tremendous difference to the output capacity of not just dozers but all other construction equipment.

The other improvements to dozer technology include reduced noise, better ergonomics, improved visibility and easier access to service points. John Bauer, brand marketing manager, Case Construction Equipment, says “The industry will always need skilled operators, but smart technology like machine control and automation can certainly speed up the learning process for inexperienced operators. These technologies also make seasoned operators more efficient, allowing them to focus less on precision grading and more on safe operation on the jobsite.” 

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LiuGong, a heavy equipment manufacturer based in China, came up with a remarkable innovation last year – a vertical lift wheel loader. It appears LiuGong is the first company in the world to have come up with such an innovation wherein the main features of the loader are the vertical lift arms on an articulating frame and the mechanical self-leveling Z-bar bucket linkage on a vertical lift loader. It took the company six years to develop the technology that allows a smaller machine to have a larger bucket and a longer and higher reach, something that conventional loaders don’t offer.

The primary function of the vertical lift adds more lifting and carrying capacity to the loader by providing a heavier tipping load and a higher lift height than what conventional wheel loaders of the same power and weight can offer. This enables lower fuel costs since the operating weight is much less allowing the machine to lift more load per horsepower. Users can move more tons per hour for lower initial investment and lower owning and operating costs than they would, with older technology. The reliability and durability of this vertical lift machine offers an innovative way to increase equipment value when purchasing a loader.

Edward Wagner, Director of LiuGong New Technology and Test, inventor and lead engineer of the technology, said, “This technology will create a new class of machines. Our ‘truly new’ LiuGong vertical lift loader will be the first ever for an articulating frame loader. We are proud to say that we were the first to develop and will be the first to market the vertical lift articulating frame wheel loader. This technology is universally applicable and it is especially advantageous for stockpiling and truck loading applications with advantages in efficiency and performance.”

LiuGong came up with the idea of developing the vertical lift loader technology for the first time in 2010 and after six years it is now finally ready for mass production. This will undoubtedly create a big impression in the construction and mining equipment industry.

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Before Tracking Devices came into the market, project managers in the construction industry wished if they could find some way to keep an eagle eye over the construction sites they managed. This was because the construction sites usually covered vast stretches of land where numerous heavy materials and equipment are deployed and scattered all over the site area. These construction machines are very large and heavy and managing them properly isn’t easy without knowing their exact location in real time. At the same time, all the construction equipment and materials also need to be moved from one place to another in quick time as the project also has a timetable that needs to be adhered to. In this scenario, managing equipment and resources efficiently is really important.

Better route planning and more efficient dispatching

This is where Tracking Devices came in as a boon to the construction site managers as they assist in easier management of equipment and their safer handling at the jobsite and beyond. When construction companies are easily able to find routes, it reduces idle time for both the equipment and the operators, thereby saving the company time and money. Tracking Devices offers critical assistance in this area as it makes dispatching of equipment much easier with real time monitoring. The site manager just needs to check the fleet monitoring device to know the location of each vehicle and if it has already arrived at the jobsite or is still on the way.

Vehicle and equipment management

Real time vehicle tracking, location and path tracking, speed detection, fuel monitoring, Geo fencing and many other functions become easier with Tracking Device. Such material management efficiency in the construction business has improved safety of equipment as well as materials. Monitoring assets in real time is critical for delivery of heavy materials from one place to another and in these situations, protection of the assets is very important. By providing the exact location of the vehicles, Tracking Device is a great help in asset protection. Managers can set alerts for any misuse and track diversion by operators and in such situations they can take the necessary action immediately.

There are many other advantages of Tracking Devices of the construction industry and any other industry with a large volume of material and capital intensive equipment and machinery to be managed in addition to keeping an eye on the project timetable and deadline.

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How about standing 1,640 feet above ground level on the world’s highest glass-bottomed observation deck and looking straight down on a busy traffic intersection? Needless to say that whatever will be visible, will not look any larger than what the ground below looks like from an airplane as it nears land. That’s what you can experience at the KPF Lotte World Tower in Seoul, South Korea which has been officially declared complete, as per criteria established by CTBUH (Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat). This building is now the tallest in Korea standing 1,819 feet above ground level, which is around 800 feet higher than Northeast Asia Trade Tower, the previous tallest building in Korea.

The KPF Lotte World Tower has 123 storeys and draws inspiration from the traditional Korean ceramics and calligraphy forms that rise in a sleek, tapered profile contrasting with the mountainous horizons of the South Korean capital. The spectacular tower contains a large variety of commercial spaces that includes retail stores, office floors, a seven-star luxury hotel, and an “officetel.” These officetels are found all across South Korea and they are essentially studio-style apartments for professionals who work in the building; they offer amenities and services that are usually found in hotels such as, standard furnishings, front desk services and gym access among others.

In addition to the world’s highest glass-bottomed observation deck, KPF Lotte World Tower has other world-beating amenities - the highest swimming pool in the world, located on the 85th floor and the fastest elevator in the world, which can transport visitors from bottom to top in just one minute. The 10-storey Lotte World Mall at the base of this spectacular complex is a separate structure, which has been operational since 2014. It has a total footfall of over 28 million people every year accounting for one out of every two South Koreans amongst its visitors. This mall has as much area as the KPF Lotte World Tower itself and the two buildings are connected by interior and exterior pathways and public spaces.

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Construction site managers are increasingly using tracking devices technology to supervise project work as well as to keep an eye on resources, mainly heavy duty equipment that are expensive. Good care and service are top priorities for heavy duty construction equipment, as investment in such expensive machinery needs be optimized. This is possible only when the equipment is in good shape to perform efficiently thereby saving time and money which eventually helps increase productivity and profits. Construction sites are usually newly developing desolate areas on urban and suburban peripheries, which explain why site managers choose to use tracking devices of expensive heavy duty equipment because they value its ability to offer remote monitoring without which it would be extremely difficult to keep track of such equipment across vast stretches of the jobsite.

The building and construction industry in India has been growing quite well over the last couple of decades but it is nothing compared to the way building and construction work has been progressing in China. The comparison with China is important because India will have to operate on a similar scale as China if it wants to close the gap between demand and supply in housing and infrastructure. Over the last couple of years infrastructure building activities has gained momentum in India and new milestones in job completion are being achieved more regularly than ever before. All this would not be possible without the deployment of advanced machinery across most such jobsites. Furthermore, effective surveillance and safe-keeping of such expensive equipment on such a scale would not be possible without tracking devices.

Tracking devices is today completely based on web technology and comes fitted with onboard communication systems on various types of equipment. While the tracking devices receiver finds out the location of the machine, there are sensors on the machine that send the information to a modem which collects and transmits this data to specific users who access it on a website. Tracking devices allows users to track real-time data of their machines virtually anywhere across different construction sites and use the information to improve their performance output. The Indian building and construction industry which will now be regulated by the RERA (Real Estate Regulation Act), would have to utilize its resources with more transparency and accountability as it evolves into a fully organized sector from an unorganized one.

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The project was first announced in June 2015 and was called the world's first 3D-printed office building by the Museum of the Future project, Dubai. With the development of this 250 sq. meter office building the United Arab Emirates is showing its commitment to innovation and cultivate the image of a world leader in 3D printing. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE, said at the grand opening, "We implement what we plan and we pursue actions not theories. The rapidly changing world requires us to accelerate our pace of development as history does not recognize plans but achievements."

A specially formulated mixture of cement and building materials, researched, developed and designed in the UAE and the United States, was used to construct this innovative new 3D printed office. The materials have been put through a number of tests for strength and reliability in places as far away as Britain and China. The designers adopted an arc shape to ensure that the building is stable and safe. The architects and designers have also included innovative features in the structure to reduce energy consumption and also used advanced technology to better manage information systems within the building. The design is aimed at achieving transition from conventional work environments to one that stimulates innovation and communication among people at the workplace.

The building was printed in about 17 days and the cost was estimated to have been $140,000; thereafter the interior and exterior design details were added. The 3D printer that was used to print the building measured 20 feet in height, 120 feet in length and 40 feet in width. The printer features an automated robotic arm to implement the printing process. The cost of labour used in the project was 50% less than normal with just seven people involved in handling the installation of building components on-site, around 10 electricians and other specialists looking after the engineering and technical processes and just one individual was employed to manage the 3D printer.

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Humans go to extreme lengths in order to acquire supremacy over nature even though the earth still happens to be such a formidable challenge, that it is difficult to imagine what humans are going to do next. Hauling and moving massive loads across land, sea and air has shown amazingly large and powerful vehicles and equipment being engineered and built by humans. There are some truly great works of engineering in building giant equipment to carry out a variety of tasks including those connected to war. The most massive land vehicles ever built are largely made for mining and the occasional war.

The biggest ever crawler transporter and dumper truck

One of the largest ever piece of haulage equipment ever built is the crawler-transporter meant to move space shuttles at Cape Canaveral. The giant hauler is 131 feet long, 114 wide, over 20 feet tall and weighs around six million pounds with a top speed of two miles an hour and it travels at half that speed when the hauling space shuttles. The Caterpillar 797 is the largest truck ever built but to see it in operation one needs to be in a mine. The massive dump truck stands 23 feet 9 inches tall when the dump bodies are down and becomes 49 feet 3 inches when they are tilted up. It weighs 560,000 pounds when empty and can carry over 360 tons of load. That is truly a massive truck.

A massive road train and a gigantic tunnel borer  

The US Army engaged R.G. LeTourneau in the 1950s to build the TC-497 Overland Train Mark II for use in different terrains and conditions such as arctic, desert, sand as well as rough terrain. The TC-497, at 572 feet long, had 54 wheels, four 1,170 hp solar gas turbine engines totalling 4,680 hp. The Herrenknecht EPB Shield S-300 mega tunnel boring machine was built to excavate a road tunnel in Madrid in 2005. Its central cutting wheel is 21 feet in diameter and is surrounded by an additional outer cutting wheel with a maximum excavation diameter of around 45 feet at a time. That’s the biggest tunnel boring machine ever built.

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The world’s first ship tunnel will be built in Norway at a cost of NK 2.7 billion (€ 294.8 million) and will require blasting through nearly 8 million tons of rock. Known as the Stad Ship Tunnel, it is a part of the NNTP (Norwegian National Transport Plan) for the period 2018-29. Upon completion, the tunnel will be 1.7 kilometres long, 37 metres high and 26.5 metres wide and would allow large ships to avoid the turbulent waters of the Stadhavet Sea. The coast of Norway is unique as a maritime landmark for the challenges it poses to shippers and within this region, Stadhavet Sea is the most exposed and dangerous area.

The Stad Ship Tunnel will allow ships to navigate through Stad area more safely. The tunnel, which is expected to pass through the narrowest point of the Stadlandet peninsula, will open in 2023; it will accommodate cruise and freight ships weighing up to 16,000 tonnes. Under NNTP, priority will be given to passenger and freight vessels but leisure boats among other vessels will also be allowed to use the tunnel. For vessels measuring less than 70 metres, passage through the tunnel will be free of cost. Traffic through the tunnel will be regulated by a traffic centre that will set timeslots for vessels to pass through the tunnel to avoid congestion.

The NCA (Norwegian Coastal Administration) is expected to present a pilot project to the Norwegian government anytime now. Thereafter, the Norwegian legislature will formally decide on funding the project up to NK 1 billion (€ 106.4 million) but not before it undergoes the external quality assurance process (KS2). Blasting of around 8 million tonnes of rock will be achieved through conventional methods using underground drilling rigs and pallet rigs. Ketil Solvik-Olsen, transport minister of Norway, noted that ocean currents and underwater topography in the region “result in particularly complex wave conditions”.

Over the years, Norwegian authorities had been planning to build this ship tunnel in the Stad region but it is only now that a project with funding is ready to get implemented. The minister said, “We are pleased that the ship tunnel will now become a reality”. The project manager, Terje Andreassen, expects work on the tunnel to begin in 2019. With regard to the enormous challenge of blasting nearly 8 million tonnes of rock, he reckoned that it would be better to opt for conventional blasting methods to achieve the objective. The idea of such a tunnel was first proposed by the Norwegian newspaper, Nordre Bergenhus Amtstidende, in an article in 1874.

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GPS tracking is increasingly being used by construction site managers to streamline project work and surveillance of resources, mainly equipment that are expensive. It contributes substantially in saving time and money which eventually helps increase profitability. Site managers choose to use GPS tracking for different reasons but mainly they value its ability to offer remote monitoring for equipment maintenance. For heavy duty construction equipment, care and service is a top priority because this is the only way by which investment in such expensive machinery can be optimized by saving time and money.

Today GPS tracking is a completely web-based technology that uses an onboard communication device on every piece of equipment. While the GPS receiver finds out where the machine is located, sensors on the machine send the information to a modem which collects it. The modem then transmits this data to specific users who access it on a website. GPS tracking allows users to track real-time data of their machines virtually anywhere across the construction site and use the information to improve their performance output. It not only enables efficient utilization of equipment and better security for equipment but also optimizes machine use by reducing idling, thereby improving job estimation and planning.

GPS tracking helps automate equipment maintenance in a major way and this is necessary for better maintenance and recordkeeping by speeding up information flow and decision-making. Maintenance is a critical part of equipment management, more so in case of construction equipment. It helps construction site managers create well defined programs to plan equipment maintenance data and then make informed decisions on the basis of such data that eventually helps overall performance at the jobsite.

Site managers today use GPS tracking to schedule automated maintenance alerts, thereby significantly cutting down the time involved in acquiring data and scheduling instructions to achieve optimum utilization of equipment. With such information at their disposal, project managers need not visit the jobsite too often or even make phone calls to obtain basic data such as engine hours, fluid levels or operating temperatures. Moreover, the steady flow of real-time data ensures much higher accuracy of the information which helps managers avoid outdated methods like handwritten instructions.

Posted in blog By EQPT

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