Topcon Interview: Machine automation to speed up construction and reduce downtime

Senior official at Topcon says machine automation in earth-moving will significantly reduce project challenges

Machine automation that can provide on-site real-time data, speed up construction and reduce costs will significantly lower project challenges according to Topcon’s Carsten Frantzen.

In an interview with MECN, Frantzen, senior director construction EMEA at Topcon Positioning Group, said that it’s important to forward the knowledge to the industry on how to utilise this technology. We need to take the people with us in their development of digitisation; otherwise, it will fail, he said.

“In general our products and services are used for almost all projects involving earth-moving, as well as maintenance and development of roads, airport runways and railways. There is a huge advantage of using this technology since it can significantly reduce operational cost and time,” explained Frantzen.

Not only that, he also stated that this would ensure that the project will stay in target as planned, while also increasing its accuracy. “For instance, the quality of road is much better when technology is used; it also means that for good quality projects- the maintenance period is longer. However, this reduces the lifetime cost of the project.”

On that note, Frantzen added that its key that all the machines involved with such projects are high-accuracy machines, that are capable of automation. He pointed out that airport runways and F1 racing tracks require the highest accuracy which machine automation can help with, as well as minimising closing time.

“Our GTL-1000, a twin robotic total station and laser scanner, increases productivity by accelerating the construction process and identifying design challenges more efficiently. It features an in-built scanner and performs as one instrument eliminating the need to carry an additional laser scanner.”

“Similarly, we can scan a highway, for example, the Sheikh Zayed Road, without closing it down, while driving in normal traffic at a speed of 80km/hr and get a 3D result- point cloud, while this data can be used for maintenance, resurfacing, etc.”

Frantzen concluded by pointing out that we need to have systems in place that can work in existing conditions, such as the above described, to speed up construction, be it for buildings, roads or runways while adopting machine automation for lesser downtime and lower project costs.


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