Automating logistics through a central platform
If construction is to make the most of the opportunities offered by offsite construction, it needs to learn lessons from other sectors, such as food and drink, and get much better at logistics. This project aimed to help with that by creating an integrated platform where all the relevant information could be accessed, together with customised tools that would help collect and feed some of the information needed.
The development team from the University of West England (UWE) Bristol were expecting a lot from this cloud-based platform and associated tools. They had to identify all the components that would make up an asset; schedule their delivery; provide asset tagging; provided analysis capabilities such as carbon accounting; plan and optimise delivery routes; track progress and allow access to legacy data.
At the heart of the system is the asset data intelligent management system (ADIMS) which sucks in data from a variety of sources and orders it into dashboards and notifications, communicating via IFCs (Industry Foundation Classes), a standard way of transferring data between software packages.
Then the team developed a series of apps. BIM asset tagging (BAT) tags the various parts of an asset within a BIM model so that data on when that part of the asset will be manufactured, delivered and installed can be queried and exchanged. The asset data scanning (ADS) app for smart phones produces and scans QR codes for each asset. The Intelligent routing optimisation system (IROS) uses artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to assess the best routes for deliveries, taking into a variety of issues.
Test data from one of the projects has shown that the platform can track an asset through its journey from design to installation and beyond. The next step would be to trial it on a whole project.