German researchers are developing a virtual reality (VR) technology to help prevent accidents on construction sites.
With arising worries about the environment, global warming and pollution, skyscrapers, office towers and even mosques are increasingly incorporating green and eco-friendly design and features. Here, as part of the sustainability week on WCN, we look at some of the world’s greenest buildings.One Angel Square, UK
Morocco’s mosques are set to receive a ‘green makeover’ in a government-led initiative to improve efficiency and promote renewable energy.
“SolarWindow is attempting to make history by developing what may be the single-biggest breakthrough in the clean energy industry in a long time,” says John Conklin, president and CEO of SolarWindow Technologies, when referring to the company’s vision of an electricity-generating window.
‘Living walls’, green façades, vertical farming or roof gardens are increasingly featuring in the design-concept of buildings.
Crane manufacturer Comansa CM has introduced a new series of flat-top tower cranes, with load capacities of 10–12t.
The International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) has laid down the design principles to create earthquake-resistant cranes. The new ISO 11031 can be used to calculate seismic loads, and sets out the design principles for cranes destined to work in seismically-active regions and for cranes required to be seismically-resistant.Klaus Pokorny, secretary of the ISO subcommittee working on design principles and requirements for cranes, said: “To make sure that cranes are safe, we first need to calculate the seismic loads that show how a crane will respond in moderate to severe earthquakes. Then you can use design limit states provided in two forms: serviceability limit and ultimate limit. “The serviceability limit state (SLS) ensures that the crane can withstand the effects of moderate earthquake ground motions throughout its service lifetime and continue to operate as intended. The ultimate limit state (ULS) requires that the crane structure should not collapse during severe earthquake ground motions, and that the suspended load or any other part of the crane should not fall or harm the public, operators and workers.” Pokorny added: “Any evaluation should take into account the regional seismic conditions as well as the ground surface conditions at the crane location. It’s also important to consider how the crane will be used and any risks that could result from seismic damage.“Not only will ISO 11031 add a layer of confidence to the industry, it also provides a common technical language so that manufacturers, users and owners understand each other clearly, no matter where they are — a boost for global trade.” The need of a standard to ensure seismic-resistant cranes was first highlighted by Japan, after the 1995 earthquake in Kobe.
Contractor A-one+ is resurfacing over 1.6km of the A1 at Brownieside in Northumberland using cold paving technology — a first for the UK.The company is using a bespoke Wirtgen CR 3200 machine to recycle the underlying layers of the road. The old surface material is churning up with new material within the machine, before laying it down immediately on the road behind. With the new method, 500 to 1,000t of road surface can be laid per hour — a significant increase when compared with the 100t per hour of conventional techniques.Additionally, it reduces the quarried stone used by 75%, the waste taken to landfill by 66%, and requires 70% fewer lorry trips to and from site. Steve Bishop, Highways England’s project manager, said: “This new technology is brilliant news for the thousands of drivers that use motorways and major A roads in the North East, who will benefit from smoother and safer journeys.“The road surface is designed to last for at least 10 years, meaning that we shouldn’t need to go back to carry out further repairs any time soon meaning less disruption for drivers.“This is the first machine of its type in the UK but the process is already successfully used in the USA, France and China. We are always working with our partners to trial new technologies that will help us to minimise disruption to drivers while we carry out essential road maintenance.”Work started at the beginning of August and is now finished.* More on cold paving technology in the UK and beyond here.
Recycling has never been more popular, with people encouraged to set aside paper, food, glass, plastic and more. But what about recycling our roads? Roads deteriorate over time, and rehabilitating works have to be carried out regularly — road signs warning about roadworks are a common sight. To make this rehabilitation more efficient, a time-saving and new environmentally-friendly technology has been introduced into the UK this year — having already been widely established in North America, Europe and China. The cold recycling technology involves the milling and granulation of damaged asphalt layers, which are then rebound, placed again and compacted. The cold recyclers — the machinery used in the process — recycle the underlying layers of the road. The old surface material is churned up with new binder in the machine’s mixing-chamber, before laying down the new, recycled mix immediately on the road behind. Mike Reay, managing director at Lane Rental Services which owns and operates the first UK cold recycler, says: “The recycling layer is the layer beneath the surface. Following the recycling a brand new surface course is installed — first a new structural re-strengthen layer is provided by the recycler and then a brand new layer, running surface, is provided straight after that’s been completed.”The cold recycler when operating in the project’s site needs the assistance of a second machine in order to complete the resurfacing work. “A final surfacing, after the recycling process, is always done with an asphalt paver,” says Martin Diekmann, Wirtgen’s recycling product manager. “This means that an average 4cm hot mix asphalt layer as a wearing course is paved on top of the recycled layer.”Wirtgen — the market leader in cold recycling technology — has sold 1,000 cold recycler machines worldwide so far, according to Diekmann, and this number is expected to grow.The cold recyclers can be used for thin asphalt layers or minor roads, as well as for thick asphalt or heavily-trafficked motorways. A UK firstThe first UK cold recycler made its way into the country three months ago. “I was aware of the machinery used in the States and also in Europe. I visited a site near Toulouse in France in 2015 and was impressed with the equipment,” says Reay.He adds: “This equipment has been tried and tested in the USA and Europe, therefore we had the confidence to introduce it to the UK.” The cold recycling technology was first used in the UK on a Highways England project to resurface 1.6km of the A1 at Brownieside in Northumberland. “I discussed it with AOne+ [the project’s contractor] and, obviously mindful of Highways England delivery programme requirements, we jointly decided the time was appropriate for this introduction to the UK. We ordered the machine and some trials schemes were authorised and have now been carried out,” says Reay.The Wirtgen 3200 CR cold recycler is owned and operated by Lane Rental Services and was especially custom-made for the project. Reay adds: “It has been custom-made for the UK market, not only for the 2016 works. It will be the UK machine.” The 3200 CR differs from the standard Wirtgen 2200 CR and 3800 CR on its operating width. While the 3200 CR cuts on a 3.2m width, the other two machines cut at 2.2 and 3.8m widths, respectively.
John Deere has entered into a partnership with HCSS to enhance its construction machinery data communication and analysis system WorkSight.The partnership will also focus on the incorporation of Deere’s JDLink machine monitoring system into HCSS’s software.The partnership was one of the results of the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) working with major machine manufacturers to standardise the telematics data available for integration into other applications, known as the Application Programming Interface (API).Liz Quinn, John Deere WorkSight product marketing manager, said: “Our partnership with HCSS empowers customers to leverage the existing telematics connection on their John Deere equipment and see their JDLink machine data in the powerful HCSS tool suite in conjunction with other telematic brands. “In addition, customers will be able to easily link from the HCSS application to the MyJohnDeere.com environment when they need to order parts, manuals, or have a closer look at a John Deere machine in the JDLink Dashboard. Seeing all brands of telematics data in one application optimizes a customer’s fleet management decisions and eliminates manual data entry and jumping from one manufacturer’s portal to the next.”Matthew DiTarando, John Deere customer and IT manager at Comanco Environmental Corporation, said: “We look forward to utilizing the open JDLink Machine Data API and integrating that vital telematics data into our HCSS products. Combining these two into one cohesive system will enable us to thrust our fleet department forward into a future of advanced planning of scheduled maintenance utilizing real-time telematics.”HCSS has been testing the JDLink Machine Data API, which is scheduled to launch later this year.WorkSight incorporates five technologies: the JDLink Telematics, Machine Health Prognostics, Remote Diagnostics and ProgrammingPayload Weighing and Grade Control.
Kobelco Construction Machinery Europe (KCME) has introduced its new SK45SRX-6 mini excavator in Europe.The 4.5t mini excavator has been jointly launched with the latest version of the SK55SRX-6.Both machines feature the Yanmar engine, which reduces fuel consumption by 23% when used in S-mode, for normal work. Further fuel savings can be achieved through the integrated hydraulic circuitry of the three on-board hydraulic pumps, which reduces the overall engine/hydraulic workload.A decelerator button can also now be found on the operation lever as well as the dashboard. Additionally, the excavators’ on-site noise is reduced with the dust cooling system together with a front-facing air inlet and an under-slung exhausting system. Bluetooth and ports for USB can also be found in the machines.In the SK45SRX-6, the operator’s chair now reclines and features mechanical suspension, and both models feature improved operator visibility from the cab.Kobelco’s KCME product marketing manager Marcel van der Winden said: “The introduction of SK45SRX-6 fulfils KCME’s ideal of providing specialist earth moving machines within all popular classes. “As with all Kobelco Short Radius excavators, SK45SRX-6 delivers exceptional working performance while maintaining reduced operating costs. Minor updates to the SK55SRX-6 underline just how effective and efficient this machine has and always will be.”
Australia-based company Fastbrick Robotics has developed a giant truck-mounted robot that can construct an entire house in two days. Hadrian X can lay up 1,000 bricks an hour using a 28ft arm. The robot uses 3D scans to work out where to lay down the bricks, which are fed to the machine’s conveyor, then passed along the arm into a laser-guided claw. The claw grabs and lays them down using construction glue instead of cement.The smart machine cuts bricks to size and leaves spaces between them for wiring and plumbing.Fastbrick Robotics’ founder Mark Pivac told Perth Now: "People have been laying bricks for about 6,000 years and ever since the industrial revolution, they have tried to automate the bricklaying process."We're at a technological nexus where a few different technologies have got to the level where it's now possible to do it, and that's what we've done."It is estimated that the robot can build between 100-300 houses a year — without needing tea breaks, holidays or weekends off.Hadrian X took ten years to be developed and $4.5M in research and development. According to Fastbrick Robotics, it will take about a year before the machine will be launched onto the market.
Liebherr has sold its 90,000th truck mixer, to Transbeton, based in Laupheim.Transbeton’s managing director Reinhold Brehm personally collected the HTM 1004 ZA semitrailer, which has a nominal capacity of 10cb m. The company has been a loyal Liebherr customer for almost 50 years and has around 20 truck mixers and concrete mixing plants from the manufacturer.“I always have two semitrailers in my fleet because it increases our transportation capacity for large concrete plants,” said Brehm. “If the workload is not quite as heavy, we use tractor units to transport gravel or cement. This flexibility makes my fleet more profitable.”According to the manufacturer, the semitrailers benefit their customers through reliability, long service life and safety. Liebherr has been manufacturing truck mixers worldwide since 1967.
What links novelty personalised figurines, prosthetic body parts, components for cars and fighter jets, jewellery, guitars — and now, houses?They’re all on the list of objects that have been created using 3D printing technology. And while some of those projects will probably prove to be passing fads — feel free to take a moment at this stage to Google the inexplicable Japanese trend of printing models of Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves looking sad, if you really must — the use of 3D printing to produce entire buildings is gathering momentum.A few years ago, 3D printing or additive manufacturing (AM) was used in the construction sector mainly to produce construction components and niche parts, such as interior-decorating features, lighting effects and furniture. In recent years construction companies and national governments raised the bar with ambitious projects to 3D-print bigger and bigger structures. The goal was set: 3D print entire buildings. The challenge was laid down and the industry could only wait for the first buildings to rise. And they did. In several countries 3D-printed projects have been initiated, and in some they have now been finished. That is the case in Dubai, where the world’s first 3D-printed office building has recently opened its doors. The 250sq m single-storey building has been built in just 17 days using a 20ft tall 3D printer and a special mix of concrete — fibre-reinforced plastic and glass fibre-reinforced gypsum. The gigantic printer was 120ft long and 40ft wide and ‘worked’ almost alone, as it only needed one staffer to make sure it was functioning properly. The rest of the 18-person construction crew consisted of installers, electricians and mechanical engineers who completed the project for just a mere $140,000 in construction and labour costs, about half price of a comparable structure built using conventional methods. The building is set to have a practical use as the temporary headquarters for the Dubai Future Foundation, becoming home of Dubai’s Museum of the Future next year. The opening follows the launch of the ‘Dubai 3D Printing Strategy’ and the forecast that a quarter of buildings in Dubai will have 3D-printed elements by 2030.
A platform for streamlining progress payments on construction jobs has been introduced to the UK this week at the Royal Institute of British Architects.The cloud-based platform, ProgressClaim.com, has been specifically designed for the construction industry, helping users — contractors, subcontractors, stakeholders and consultants — to work on and administer payments claims collaboratively.According to the company, the tool makes the currently difficult and out-dated process of submitting and approving progress claims easier, while reducing contract administration management costs by up to 50%, saving time and improving risk control with regards to the Security of Payments Act.First launched in Australia, ProgressClaim.com enables contractors and sub-contractors to provide details about how much work has been completed and how much is to be paid, allowing payments to be on time without potentially resulting in a dispute. Additionally, documents can be shared between organisations in real time so that users have a single view of the status of the project and are on the same page, reducing the need for spreadsheets, email trails and phone calls.Automated reminder emails can be sent to submit claims and approvals, with documentation produced and delivered instantly by email.Progressclaim.com CEO Lincoln Easton said: “Payment practices in the construction sector are problematic and time consuming. We believe our cloud-based platform helps to ease the pain. “The take-up of our easy-to-use software among tier one contractors and sub-contractors in our home market of Australia has exceeded our internal expectations since we launched a little over a year ago. Clients are increasingly being drawn to the speed, accuracy and transparency, which Progressclaim.com offers. “With the UK market exposed to a similar set of challenges, we are confident we can replicate the success we are enjoying in Australia over here, and in the process help bring the traditional payments model into the digital age.”To use the platform subcontractors pay a subscription of £30 a month, while main contractors will pay a licence fee based on the scale and complexity of the activities covered by the software.
As always at Bauma, the skyline was filled with the latest crane models – here are some of the highlights.
As always at Bauma, the skyline was filled with the latest crane models – here are some of the highlights.
As always at Bauma, the skyline was filled with the latest crane models – here are some of the highlights.
Otis Elevator Company has introduced the new SkyBuild self-climbing construction elevator.According to the company, the SkyBuild elevator — part of the SkyRise family — enables builders to complete high-rise projects faster, while reducing costs. It is designed to be sustainable and to reduce space requirements and energy.Installed at the beginning of a building’s construction, the elevator’s hydraulic piston system enables it to climb a floor at a time as the construction work advances and the building rises, removing the need for a temporary and external lift subject to different weather conditions. This allows movement of crews and tools quickly and safely.Once construction is complete the elevator transitions for immediate service as a SkyRise lift within the building.Bora Gülan, vice president of Global Major Projects and Key Accounts at Otis said: “The Otis SkyRise product family combines a refined passenger experience with state-of-the-art elevator technologies and support our customers can count on. “Our SkyBuild option now offers customers even more value with an elevator system that rises with the building – quickly and easily jumping one floor at a time to meet the requirements and pace of any project.”
Hitachi displayed three new excavators and a wheel loader at Bauma in April. The new ZX19-5 mini excavator, to be used on construction projects, is designed to be user-friendly. According to the manufacturer, the Zaxis-5 model offers high levels of performance, stability and easy maintenance. The boom cylinder, in the new excavator, has been moved on top of the boom to protect from potential damage, making it more efficient when working on narrow spaces, as its front minimum turning radius is smaller. A new folding travel pedal can now be used instead of the hand lever, improving the operation speed. Other improvements include the placing of the hydraulic hose inside the boom and the addition of a new blade, capable of making digging more precisely.There is also more space between the operator and the front window and more legroom in the cab. The cab has a new design that features a large LCD monitor located on the right-hand side, displaying the vital technical data, including the machine’s status and settings and a drinks holder for easy access to refreshments. Security has been improved, with an optional theft deterrent system that requires a four-digit number to unlock before the engine can be switched on.Hitachi also showcased the ZX300LCN-6 super long front medium excavator. The excavator has a six-cylinder 186kw stage IV-compliant engine, with the highest output in its class, and offers 14% higher productivity in PWR mode. Delivering lower fuel costs, the machine was specially designed for earthmoving on dredging, bank maintenance and slope finishing projects. The excavator also features a reconfigured lower roller that ensures mud falls out easily, an expansion tank that cools the engine parts, and enlarged track guards.The tilting rotator and tilting bucket modes are also included within its attachment support system.The new ZX490LCH-6 large excavator was designed to meet the demands of large-scale construction projects, set to offer a high level of durability without compromising efficiency. It features a boom reinforced with thicker plates and an undercarriage consisting of robust components such as track link, master pin, idler pedestal and bracket and upper roller bracket. The large excavator also incorporates an in-cab console, made of weather-resistant AES-grade resin that prevents UV rays damage, and sealant to eliminate any heat deterioration. These ensure the machine’s long-term cooling and low-noise performance.This excavator is able to save up to 5% fuel in eco mode with the same productivity as previous models, due to the use of HIOS IIIB technology. The after-treatment device helps the machine produce fewer emissions and to have a quiet performance. Furthermore, attachments to carry on different tasks can be easily fitted to the versatile machine that uses the attachment replacement support system.Also launched in Munich was the ZW370-6 wheel loader. With enhanced performance and low fuel consumption, the machine employs a new EU Stage IV-compliant engine that does not require a diesel particulate filter, which reduces maintenance costs.The wheel-loader has a 360° panoramic view from the spacious cab and a rear-view camera, visible on the multifunctional LCD monitor. Less noise can be heard within the cab thanks to an improved sound isolation. A smooth operation is ensured by the optional Joystick Steering System, which enables operators to reach high levels of productivity with effortless steering, it is said.There are also two types of lift arm available that customers can choose, depending on the required application.