Making connections happen, with Trimble and Highways UK
In this blog, Trimble’s Duncan Reed, Business Development Manager, and Stuart Campbell, Head of Sales and Business Development, explore the value of connected technology for civil infrastructure, as exhibited at Highways UK.
Our nation’s civil infrastructure is a critical part of the UK, with our roads and highways used by millions of people every day, helping us to stay connected. When it comes to their design, construction and maintenance, this theme of connectivity rises again, with the benefits of connected and synchronised construction being extensive and far-reaching.
At Trimble, we always advocate for a digitised construction workflow when it comes to civil infrastructure, and we’re proud to have a long record of supporting the effective design and efficient delivery of highways projects in the UK with our portfolio of solutions.
While there has been an evident rise in the uptake of design software, adding hardware into the workflow can be an additional piece of the jigsaw. Having software and hardware that talk to one another, with data that is shared, and teams that communicate effectively is critical – not just for the Concept & Design phase but also Site Construction and even beyond that, feeding into the Operation & Maintenance stage.
Here at Trimble, we welcome National Highway’s Digital, Data and Technology Strategy, as we are pleased to support the Connected and Autonomous Plant (CAP) programme too. In particular, we see CAP as a platform for the industry to look at connectivity throughout the project lifecycle.
From this comes the power to check, review and gain insights from the data that has been created during the design, construction and operation of the Strategic Roads network and beyond. As an industry, we already create and collect huge amounts of data. It is providing the technology that can then take this data, combine, filter and display it. By having this useful information, we can take the industry forward to the point of real time insights. Whether this is validating the quality of the new asset as it is being constructed, through to predicting when existing assets will fall below standard, to giving road users real-time information on the state of the network – good data underpins all of these processes.
Location, Information and Collaboration
It may seem obvious but one of the most important factors in the design and construction of roads is the 'where'. Different outputs require different levels of accuracy but knowing and delivering these is crucial for the successful delivery of a project. Here at Trimble location, information and collaboration are the three cornerstones of our business. Customers use our technology to ensure that survey information is collected accurately and shared in the right format, enabling the creation of designs that can be set out in the field correctly too.
Automation and Machine Control
Trimble are proud of the depth and breadth of technology we can offer – our mission is to ‘transform the way the world works’. One such example of this is our established work in the field of autonomy, where we have leveraged our skills, knowledge and expertise in the agriculture and mining sectors to now inform the development of autonomous solutions in the construction and transportation spaces too.
Machine control, the first step towards full autonomy, can create better accuracy, improved quality and, in turn, offers carbon savings too. Our customers are already reporting 25% improvements from our assisted steering technology for compaction equipment.
Combining this technology with the ability to view, both in real time and remotely, the performance of plant and equipment on site allows project teams to massively improve the management of their operations.
Start with the end in mind
It's a well-worn phrase to say 'start with the end in mind' but when it comes to working digitally this really is the case. To ensure a constructible design is achieved in the field, it needs to be defined, designed and detailed accurately from the start. The design shouldn't just deliver the required linework and levels but should be the result of a rigorous and collaborative process, considering the required outcomes, carbon, environmental issues, costs and buildability.
The right digital solutions can support these design processes and help to deliver roads for the future.