C+S August 2023 Vol. 9 Issue 8 (web)

Tech & Software

Building the road ahead in 3D: the power of digital transformations in road construction

By Tommi Kauppinen

In a time when business operations need to be optimized to meet the challenging conditions caused by supply chain upheavals, geopolitical conflicts, and environmental threats, more and more industries are turning to new digital solutions. It is clear that the practices of yesterday are not going to solve today’s problems. Innovation has always been a part of the construction industry, and digitalization represents another of these opportunities. The key now is to remove the obstacles to adoption for construction companies, such as digital literacy and ease of integration, to empower construction firms to embrace digital solutions and see the benefits from increased time efficiency, reduced resource waste, and perhaps most significantly, reduced carbon emissions thanks to a more streamlined workflow. Adopting technology in road construction and the place of 3D machine control In order for technology to be adopted by contractors, it must be effortless and impactful. This means it should be easy to introduce and scale and get the job done in less time, to a higher standard, and with the lowest risk to all parties. In the road construction industry, the implementation of 3D machine control systems is an innovation with the potential to meet these requirements. 3D machine control systems in paving applications might also be referred to as “Stringless Paving”. Going “stringless” has the benefits of lower cost and time requirements, as well as improved safety of the road construction job site. On some projects where there is limited space, in tunnels or city centers, for example, 3D technology for paving is already a legal requirement. Unlike in the past when road paving teams had to wait for surveyors to scrutinize the project, now 3D project files can be prepared upfront in the office ready for on-site use thanks

to digital machine control systems. The workflow from earthmoving to paving application is therefore seamless, the project time is reduced and the overall costs are lowered. To enjoy the full benefits of 3D machine control technology in road construction, the digital solutions should be integrated throughout each step of the project. This starts with preparing an even ground using 3D solutions, ensuring a correct slope and grade for CCR (cement concrete road) or CTB (cement treated base) pavements. This will save the more expensive hot mix asphalt or concrete in the later processes, economizing on resources and money. The best method to harness maximum benefit from 3D machine control solutions is therefore to apply it from the bottom up to see how the benefits and savings accrued from one stage can be applied to the next. Overcoming the key obstacles and implementing digital solutions that work Introducing new technology into a business can feel like a daunting process, especially when it requires change across a workflow. That’s not to say 3D machine control systems are something to be avoided or wary of. They simply need to be carefully considered to ensure the right technology partners are chosen to ensure that the best digital solutions are applied. Before any new tech can be put into action, construction companies must first consider several points: how the new technology might be integrated with existing systems, how it will be used and accepted by their employees, how it fits in with the long-term strategy and workflow of the company, and also how efficiently the technology can be deployed. Four key aspects impact the construction industry’s

adoption of digital technology: 1. Workforce acceptance




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