This is #newtk: When data points the way to the future
All over the world, our colleagues at thyssenkrupp are working to safeguard the future of our company by making it more flexible, more efficient, and more high-performance. In our new strategy #newtk, we are putting performance center stage. For example, when software helps to substantially reduce planning errors and other shortcomings in plant engineering. How? By having data visualize the future for us.
What is the current status on the construction site? Which documents are available for a specific piece of equipment? Can machine production begin? What work can begin next month? Are all the materials for this available? These are just a few examples of questions that our colleagues in plant engineering need to be able to answer in order for their projects to run smoothly.
“In recent years, the volume of data accrued in EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) projects has become increasingly extensive and complex. This means that, with major projects such as these, it is more and more of a challenge to keep track of things,” says Benjamin Berndzen. As head of the Digital Business Processes project, he has experienced at first hand how the business has changed and evolved in recent years. In many cases, the answers to open questions can be found hidden in various software systems belonging to different departments. This means that, when looking for answers, the team must take each individual system into account. An unwieldy task and, above all, a very time-consuming one.
BIM renders product information transparent – with 3-D visualizations
However, there is a more effective and efficient way to process the flow of data in plant engineering. Benjamin Berndzen and his team aim to implement Building Information Modeling – BIM for short – throughout the entire plant engineering division: “For one, BIM is a place where all data and pieces of information from the project come together. While this creates transparency, the greatest advantage is that the software also provides us with 3-D visualizations. For instance, by using color shading in the 3-D model, the program shows the current progress on the construction site – compared with how it should be. This allows us to identify at a glance where weak points exist and where corrective action is needed. In other words, BIM evaluates all data for us directly and shows us at a glance what the data tells us.”
The decision to opt for BIM was also taken with cost-effectiveness in mind – it allows us to significantly improve the way we work together with our customers and to focus even more closely on their needs. Benjamin Berndzen: “Both customers and authorized distributors have already become aware of the BIM method, meaning that it is gradually establishing itself in the plant engineering environment. By using BIM systematically in our projects, we aim to be pioneers and to safeguard our long-term positioning in the market. We will be faster and more efficient at implementing projects, which will also benefit our customers, who can expect an even higher level of project quality. And at the end, BIM forms the basis for providing our customers not only with a physical plant but also with a fully networked digital twin that can be used in the further phases of the plant’s life cycle.”
Better performance thanks to BIM
As Benjamin Berndzen explains: “BIM also has key advantages for us – it helps us to minimize errors and to process projects more quickly. Ideally, this also means a higher margin with respect to a project’s contract value.”
BIM was first used at the end of 2017 in the construction of a cement plant in Mexico. All data was recorded in the existing software tools, collected and managed via BIM. Then they were prepared in a form that was accessible to everyone. Here, for example, the time schedule was linked with the 3-D model to enable the planned construction processes to be visualized. As well as this, the contract team were able to see at a glance whether construction material requirements had already been delivered or where there were delays. Whereas in the past it would have been necessary to painstakingly analyze different data tables and compare them with one another, the team now receives all data at a glance – in a color-coordinated 3-D visualization.
An eye-opening model
With the coming contracts, the plan is for complete projects to be mapped in BIM from the outset. As feedback so far has shown, this makes our colleagues’ work much easier: “Anyone working on projects really appreciates the fact that transparent project data is available in one place. The model is a real eye-opener and provides a key overview of the entire course of the project.”