Bentley Systems predictive rail technology for Asia Pacific

 

Infrastructure engineering software company Bentley Systems, together with SMRT Trains, the pioneer Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) operator in Singapore, have successfully completed the implementation of a Predictive Decision Support System (PDSS) for Singapore’s North-South and East-West lines, the oldest MRT lines in the country.   Read more

reality modelling

Bentley Acceleration Initiatives launches OpenTower iQ digital co-venture

BENTLEY Acceleration Initiatives has announced the availability of OpenTower iQ, a digital twin solution that provides 3D visualisation, real-time decision support, and predictive design.

OpenTower iQ is the result of a digital co-venture between Bentley and Visual Intelligence, a Houston, Texas-based sensor technology company, and Aeroprotechnik, an aerial inspection engineering company based in Viseu, Portugal.

Bentley Acceleration Initiatives is Bentley Systems’ (Nasdaq: BSY) strategic investment fund and incubator initiative. Its objective is to bring together ecosystem partners in a digital co-ventures to accelerate the go-to-market of creative cloud solutions based on the Bentley iTwin platform. OpenTower iQ, ‘powered by iTwin,’ is a textbook example of co-venturing that combines innovative digital technologies from entrepreneurial companies to address a market need in double-quick time.

As demand for data grows, tower companies and engineering firms are looking for all-inclusive, engineering-grade solutions to co-locate, modify, and maintain telecom infrastructure for the 5G rollout.

OpenTower iQ makes it easy to modify existing towers and maintain accurate models, automating the repetitive work of producing as-built models and using artificial intelligence to detect critical components.

Tower companies can use OpenTower iQ to monitor the health of their towers and gain access to shared, secured data through an easy-to-understand portal.

Data analytics provide cost benefit analysis to boost operational efficiency and revenue assurance. Improved accuracy of tower inspections and smart inventory management saves time, cost, and improves safety. OpenTower iQ is designed to handle the large asset portfolios of operators, easily processing and analysing tens of thousands of towers.

Artificial intelligence and patented drone technologies

To accelerate the launch of OpenTower iQ, Bentley Acceleration Initiatives acquired digital twin technology from Aeroprotechnik, an aerial inspection engineering company. The technology included artificial intelligence and reality modelling capabilities.

Bentley Acceleration Initiatives also partnered with Visual Intelligence whose patented dual-sensor drone technology digitalises physical infrastructure with millimetre accuracy to reliably deliver 3D, engineering-grade asset intelligence. Visual Intelligence is able to map more measurable surface area than alternative aerial and ground-based methods. Its patented drone sensor technology captures the components of a tower including bolts, wires, ladders, and other items with an extremely high degree of accuracy that was not previously possible.

“The objective of Bentley Acceleration Initiatives is to incubate new businesses and augment existing ones using Bentley iTwin technologies,” said Santanu Das, senior vice president, chief acceleration officer, Bentley Acceleration Initiatives.

“We provide a go-to-market accelerator to rapidly bring to users the innovative ideas from Bentley’s research and development in partnership with emerging industry leaders and technology specialists such as Visual Intelligence and Aeroprotechnik.

Bentley Acceleration Initiatives helped incubate OpenTower iQ by funding its development, seeking out technology partnerships to fill whitespaces, and creating a comprehensive go-to-market strategy.

“Our next step is to invite additional interested ecosystem partners to kick start new digital integrator services to capture huge emerging opportunities for enterprise integration and implementation for towers.

“The telecom industry is going through a rapid transformation as multinetwork operators are expanding their portfolios through consolidation and moving from a 4G platform to 5G. Without a doubt, digital twin solutions like OpenTower iQ, ‘powered by iTwin,’ will help tower owners make the most of the industry’s burgeoning opportunities.”

Genesys Internatonal vice president Nikhil Jani said OpenTower iQ for tower planning and management was “a game changer” for the telecom market.

“Within a couple of days, we had a high-quality reality model available with the reports and other aspects of the projects,” she said.

“Now, all the tower data is available in digital form—and it’s accurate and current.”

Visual Intelligence and former chairman and CEO of Crown Castle International, Ted Miller, said they were “enabling new applications of drone data and accelerating the value of digital twins to tower companies worldwide”.

Bentley Systems acquires GroupBC

Global software and digital twin provider, Bentley Systems has acquired GroupBC.

GroupBC is a software as a service (SaaS) provider that has been widely adopted in the UK infrastructure sector. GroupBC’s common data environment (CDE) solutions including BC Projects and BC Enterprise+ are used for information management in construction and asset estates. Teams can collaborate, manage, and share documents, data, and spatial information on the central, secure cloud-based platform.

Developed in the UK, these CDEs have been adopted as best practices there, and subsequently globally, with the UK standard for construction project information management adopted by the global standard ISO 19650.

“Our many UK users, projects, and owners in common with GroupBC will gain a lot from our joining forces to advance CDEs through digital twins,” said Simon Horlsey, UK regional executive for Bentley Systems. “I have been tasked by Bentley management to help the UK to continue to lead the world in going digital for infrastructure advancement, and our new offerings and colleagues from GroupBC bring essential momentum as we pool resources to meet our market’s expanded ‘infrastructure revolution’ requirements.”

As contemporary systems, Bentley’s ProjectWise and GroupBC’s information management software will improve the collaborative BIM available to infrastructure construction projects across the entire lifecycle.

Additionally, Bentley will use its iTwin Services to connect GroupBC CDEs and ProjectWise CDEs to fully enable 4D mixed reality and analytics visibility across previously disparate CDEs for construction and engineering.

Chief technology officer for Bentley Systems, Keith Bentley, spelt out how this would improve services for customers.

“With the help of our new GroupBC colleagues, we will now be able to better serve engineers, contractors, and owners by bringing together their collective IT (information management), OT (operational technologies including reality modeling), and ET (engineering models),” he said.

Year in Infrastructure conference highlights digital twin innovation

At the Year in Infrastructure conference, hosted by infrastructure software company Bentley Systems, audiences were told that adoption of digital tools for infrastructure delivery and operations will only accelerate after the experience of COVID-19.

With global investment in infrastructure as method of economic recovery coming together with the impetus for more sustainable methods of construction and mobility, efficiencies through using digital tools are becoming unavoidable.

Through the use of digital twins for modelling and simulations in the design and construction phase, or for monitoring asset and network performance in the operational stage, more environmentally friendly materials can be used, waste can be reduced, while costs can be reduced and timelines shortened.

In addition, as COVID-19 has demonstrated, projects will still need to continue even when workforces are dispersed, either working from home, or across countries without being able to easily meet in person.

These factors have meant that digital tools such as those supplied by Bentley Systems are invaluable for infrastructure builders, managers, and operators.

Another macro factor that is impacting on the adoption of digital tools in the infrastructure space is the possibilities of big data and IoT. With more data being collected than ever, modelling and simulation software will be needed to make sense of this data and allow it to be seen as a productive resource.

One example of the benefit of digital twins can be seen in the adoption of digital engineering tools in the design and construction of the world’s tallest rail pier girder bridge in northern India. Constructed by Indian Railways, the railway bridge is required to support high-speed and broad gauge trains for the next century in difficult terrain. Seismic events and strong winds were also a concern for the 141 metre tall bridge.

On of the Year in Infrastructure Awards finalists, Indian Railways is using Bentley tools including OpenRail, PLAXIS, and STAAD, and the project has been able to make savings of US$24.61 million ($34.58m). These efficiencies were found through the better selection of types of materials and construction methodologies.

Once the bridge is complete, embedded instruments and drone surveys will be used to monitor the health of the bridge remotely, with a digital twin used to simulate how the bridge is behaving and the effect of inputs. This will ensure the infrastructure manager will be able to make timely decisions to ensure the sustainability of the bridge.

Year in Infrastructure

Year in Infrastructure finalists revealed

The finalists for the Year in Infrastructure Awards have been announced.

Facilitated by software and digital twin provider for the design, construction, and operation of infrastructure, Bentley Systems, the finalists span categories including digital construction, digital cities, and rail and transit.

The awards recognise users of Bentley Systems software and highlight those who are pushing the envelope of digital design, construction and maintenance of complex infrastructure assets.

Chris Barron, Bentley’s chief communications officer said the awards showcased how digital tools have been used throughout COVID-19 to ensure that infrastructure projects are delivered.

“The circumstances of the global pandemic have made the past few months a challenge for us all, and it is a testament to our users’ resilience that we received over 400 nominees for our Year in Infrastructure Awards program.”

Projects that will be competing for the final award include the Skanska-Costain-STRABAG Joint Venture, that is delivering the UK’s HS2 main works civils contract for the Digital Cities category.

In the Rail and Transit category, high speed rail, signalling renewal, and digital engineering projects are finalists. Projects utilising Bentley’s asset performance tools are also highlighted in the Road and Rail Asset Performance category.

Other rail related projects to reach the finals stage of the awards include the design and construction of the world’s tallest rail pier girder bridge by Indian Railways and Saidel Engineering’s nine storey residential building above subway tunnels in West Bucharest.

Users of Bentley’s reality modelling solution have also been recognised. In Australia, the Warragamba Water Pipeline Digital Twin is a finalist.

To hear more about how Bentley System’s software can be used in a rail context, register via the link below for the upcoming webinar, hosted by Rail Express.

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_EUYrlSHbRwKnKSWmzWe67Q

The winners of the Year in Infrastructure Awards will be announced during Bentley’s Year in Infrastructure conference, that will be delivered virtually on October 20-21.

reality modelling

Webinar: Leverage reality modelling for linear infrastructure projects

The use of infrastructure digital twins within the road and rail industry is continuing to gain momentum. The starting point of creating a digital twin is capturing the digital representation of the physical asset, its digital context. This process can involve reality data being captured from many different systems and devices, from planes, drones, and handheld cameras to terrestrial laser scanners and mobile mapping systems.

This webinar will explore how Bentley’s reality modelling solutions can help you capture, manage, analyse and share this real-world digital context to accelerate decision making during the design, construction and operations phases of large-scale civil infrastructure projects.

In this webinar learn about:

• The benefits of reality modelling for Road and Rail
• How to capture, manage, analyse and share your reality data
• Insights from existing local and international industry use cases
• Live Q&A with local reality modelling experts.

Register for the live webinar here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_EUYrlSHbRwKnKSWmzWe67Q.

Murwilumbah

Murwillumbah to Casino line to be closed for rail trail

Sections of the Murwillumbah to Casino line from Crabbes Creek to Condong and from Casino to Bentley are closer to being turned into a bicycle and walking trail after legislation to close the line passed the NSW lower house.

Trains last travelling along the Casino to Condong line in 2004, and the trail has sat idle since. According to a spokesperson for the Department of Regional NSW, the plan is to construct a rail trail from Murwillumbah to Casino.

“The vision for the Northern Rivers Rail Trail is a 137 km trail completed in three stages, from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek; Casino to Bentley; and Bentley to Crabbes Creek,” said the spokesperson.

Byron Shire Council is currently investigating the feasibility of a shared rail and walking/cycling trail between Bentley and Crabbes Creek.

Local group the Northern Rivers Railway Action Group argues that with the northern section from Crabbes Creek to Condong closed to rail traffic, the potential for future connections to Tweed Heads and the Gold Coast would be lost.

NSW Greens MLC Abigail Boyd said the local community needed better transport connections.

“The Northern Rivers community has been campaigning for a real public transport solution since the Labor government closed the Casino-Murwillumbah line in 2005. The community rightfully wants commuter transport that connects Lismore, one of the largest regional centres in northern New South Wales, to other cities and towns.”

A study in 2013 found that the cost of reopening the Casino to Murwillumbah would be prohibitive, with the cost of rehabilitation estimated at $900 million and yearly maintenance found to be $2m. Limited freight and passenger demand meant that the report recommended improving the bus network to reduce road congestion.

“The Casino to Congdong line was closed in 2004 and there is no customer or economic case to support the significant investment required to bring this line back in to full heavy rail operation,” said the Department of Regional NSW spokesperson.

Boyd countered that the positive impact of reinstated rail services would outweigh the cost.

“By returning rail services to the region the government would be connecting regional towns, reducing demands on roads (particularly important in Byron Bay where the existing road network is already overcapacity during summer), creating high quality, secure, long-term jobs in the industry and investing in the future prosperity of the region.”

rail maintenance

Cut the cost of operations and maintenance with intelligent rail analytics

As you might know, track maintenance is the most significant expense for rail owner-operators.

Watch this short video to learn how you can optimise predictive rail asset renewal to deliver a safer, reliable, and more profitable network. Having accurate information about your rail assets is a crucial part of predictive maintenance. Learn how an integrated environment for asset condition data helps you understand the state and operating conditions of your rail assets. With this information, you can improve the overall integrity and safety of your rail network.

Click on this link to find out more or download the white paper below.

digital twins

Going from data to insights: The value of a digital twin in rail

Using a digital twin to drive operational decisions when it comes to maintenance is about turning what could be a cost into an asset.

By 2025, the world will be creating 175 zettabytes annually, according to market research firm IDC’s Data Age 2025 report. To put that in context, one zettabyte is equivalent to one trillion gigabytes. How rapidly this data is growing can be demonstrated by the fact that in 2012, only one zettabyte of data existed.

But, with all this data being produced, how much of it is actually useful? While a rail organisation is only a small proportion of the global data total, according to Andrew Smith, solutions executive responsible for Bentley’s Rail and Transit solution, they are still producing a significant amount of data.

“Rail organisations typically are very data rich,” said Smith. “They’ve got a large number of asset disciplines because it’s a huge complex system and each of those asset disciplines has a number of inspection and measurement mechanisms that can produce data.”

This data on its own, however, is not yet a useful resource.

“Data is a discrete fact about something,” said Smith. “For example, the distance between the left and right rail at this location is X, but data is no use to you when you’re actually trying to either work out short term what you’re going to do or longer term what may happen in the future. What you need to do is start a transformation process, so the first step of that is to go from data to information, which is data in context with meaning attached.”

Giving data its context turns what can be seen as a cost, the accumulation and storage of data, into a resource, information that can be used to make a decision.

“In order to be able to do that, you need to have a framework in place that allows you to pull all the different classes of data together, such that you can see all of that data in context,” said Smith. “And to me, that’s at the heart of the digital twin.”

Digital twins are a replica or model of a system or asset that can be used to take the information that a rail organisation has, in the form of data, to create insights, that are conclusions drawn from data and information.

“When you bring all this information together, the digital twin can tell you how as well and why things are happening, and it can give you contextual history,” said Smith. “The digital twin can give you design intent information that you wouldn’t necessarily have otherwise, as well as the as-constructed record. Critically, a railway is a system, it’s not just a set of isolated components, and what a digital twin allows us to do is understand specifically the relationships between those components and how they can be affecting each other.”

While digital twins are widely used in many fields, including construction and manufacturing, they have a distinct role to play when it comes to the maintenance and management of rail assets. As the complexity of operating a railway requires various departments covering different skills and mandates, applying a digital twin can overcome the data and organisational silos. Smith, who has been working in the rail industry for over 20 years, highlights one way in which this can be applied.

“For anywhere that’s got overhead electrification for example, if you’re on ballasted track you can move the track from side to side through maintenance, but you need to maintain the relationship with the overhead wires, but these are often managed by two different teams. The digital twin will manage by design the relationship between the two. The maintenance records, where you’re going to go, and the type of maintenance you’re doing means that there is a chance that you will actually introduce a change to the overhead wire relationship. Therefore, you need to tag that work order as needing somebody to go out and actually measure the overhead wire relationship as well, whereas historically that relationship wouldn’t be as tightly coupled.”

Digital twins can give meaning to the vast amounts of data produced by railways.

DESIGNING A RAIL-BASED DIGITAL TWIN
Getting to this level of maturity with a digital twin takes a deep understanding of how a rail network operates and how best to design a digital twin that fits the reality of a rail organisation. Bentley, as part of its portfolio of solutions in the rail and transit space, has experience working with rail operators around the globe to design and deploy digital twins. From this experience, Smith highlights, the usual understanding of what a digital twin is can be re-evaluated.

“Normally if you think about a digital twin you actually start with a four-dimensional model, however railways often don’t think in terms of XYZ axes. They tend to think in terms of linear distances with lateral and vertical offsets and that drives the way that measurements are made, the way that inspections are made, but also the way that maintenance is actually managed. If you’re sending someone to go out and do some tamping along a piece of track, you don’t send them to an XYZ coordinate or a latitude- longitude coordinate, you’ll send them this many metres past kilometre post seven on such and such a track.”

With this in mind, Smith suggests that digital twins in the rail space can be more useful if they are designed to fit the way that railways are understood. Then, the data that makes up the digital twin can be overlaid on the representation of the network. When needed, for example at a station or in yards, this data can be visualised as a three-dimensional model, but linear visualisations may be more appropriate for a section of track.

To get to the point of having a representation of a rail network, a large amount of data will have to be collected and interpreted. As managers of an array of legacy assets, rail organisations can turn to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to sort and organise the vast streams of data, said Smith.

“One of the challenges that we see with a digital twin for a lot of brownfield sites in particular is that there are a large number of assets in place that are not being represented digitally. Being able to use image recognition or identifying features from reality meshes and then being able to put an attribution against them is a great use of AI to be able to identify where the assets are.”

With this data in place, the twin must be maintained and kept up to date. With networks spanning across hundreds of kilometres, rail organisations can use automated surveys of a network to provide the constant data upkeep needed.

With the digital twin now operating as a living representation of a rail network, defect detection can be done in a way that gets to a root cause, rather than just addressing individual issues. One example, that Smith describes is if measurement scans identify vertical deterioration. A digital twin would then allow for a cross referencing against other assets that are in place, to see if there is a culvert on that section of track.

“Then I’m not going to send a tamper out,” said Smith. “The first thing that I’m going to do is send a crew out to inspect a culvert to see if it’s collapsing over time. The next thing I might want to do there is ask, if I’ve got twin track, am I seeing the same deterioration on both tracks? Normally they’d be considered in isolation, separate from each other. Then I would ask, has any maintenance taken place at this region? That’s not just maintenance of this asset, but all maintenance records, so I could say, ‘Hang on, someone actually went in there and did some maintenance work on the drainage in-between, but it happens to be in an area that’s close enough that it could’ve had an unexpected knock on onto the condition of the track.’”

These kinds of insights can only be gained through the kinds of insights a digital twin is able to offer, by bringing together disparate data and putting that data into context.

DRIVING THE SOLUTION
While a digital twin may seem like a laudable goal on its own, according to Smith, the implementation of such a tool only makes sense when a rail organisation has identified what are the issues that it needs to solve.

“The driver here is not a technology change. The driver is to change the way of working, so an organisation has to first understand its current working practices, where the efficiencies and inefficiencies are, where the limitations and constraints may be, and then we can understand the aspirational state, where they actually want to be at some stage in the future.”

Implementing a digital twin begins with understanding the process of going from a current state to an aspirational state in the future. Rather than jumping in straight to a predictive maintenance solution, the first step may be to identify where the current most significant issue is, with a plan or vision to have a predictive system at a point in the future. Understanding where the technology is going to be implemented comes down to working with the people who are going to be using the software.

“It is absolutely critical that those people are engaged right from the outset, not just the management but the end users,” said Smith.

To get people on board, Bentley has used model offices where representative users are invited to be involved in the design process and give their insights into the particular challenges they face.

“Then there’s buy in,” said Smith. “There’s engagement at that side, which means that the final product is a tool that the engineers have designed and set up to help them do their job better that means they’re positive about the tool and they’re positive about the process change that’s in place to be able to do it.”

Rather than success looking like a piece of software that is installed to contract specifications, Smith outlines how in developing a success plan for the implementation of the software, the outcome is about delivering value.

“Owner operators of railways aren’t installing these systems because they like technology. Technology is an overhead to them – it’s a cost, an expense, and it’s a risk, so the only time that it’s worth doing is when they can show that the value is greater than the cost associated with it, so what we’re moving to is making sure that the focus is now on the value to the users instead,” said Smith.

“You can look into the future and run ‘what if’ scenarios. So, I’m going to increase the tonnage over a particular length of rail and I’m going to run a simulation of what that’s going to do to my rail replacement strategy that I have in place. We can use AI on top of this to look both tactically how do I optimise right now, where do I best spend money, but also starting to look further out by running simulations and trying to predict what the impact the change is going to have.”

This value can be defined in any number of ways, but as Smith highlights, it is the process of creating insights out of data.

digital advancement

Fast track your digital advancement for rail and transit

How can you improve insight into your rail asset performance? This e-book shows you how digital advancement helps you gain improved insights into your rail and transit asset performance data and make informed decisions.

You will also see how AssetWise for Asset Performance supports your digitalisation strategy by empowering effective asset management practices and information throughout the lifecycle of the built asset.

Read this e-book to learn how you can advance your asset performance to deliver safe, reliable, compliant, and cost-effective service with AssetWise.

To download the ebook, click here.

Digital

HS2 going digital to save time, cost, carbon

On the most expensive railway on earth, the pressure to get the build right first time is leading to the project team innovating in digital engineering.

In the design and construction of the UK’s HS2, a high-speed rail line connecting London with Birmingham, teams are collaborating and using digital twins to design, construct and maintain the railway. The client, the UK government, hopes to achieve savings in the order of £250 million ($450m) through digital engineering.

Beginning underneath central London, the project team, a joint venture of Skanska, Costain and STRABAG (SCS) needed a digital model that could incorporate the complicated interfaces of building under the ancient metropolis. The system that they turned to is Bentley Systems’ suite of digital tools.

Roberto Alberola, BIM information manager for Typsa which is working for SCS on the project, described why a digital solution was needed.

“The complexity of the project demanded a very high level of control of the technical outputs (models, drawings, data), so the ‘traditional’ approach – using standardized content, trusting existing or external databases and going with software defaults wouldn’t suffice.

“We created a complete custom live working environment for Bentley’s OpenBuildings Designer that lives in ProjectWise, ensuring that the models are built from a centralised library so that all the information is added consistently, achieving the highest data quality required to feed in all the downstream processes.”

Already, with the project in its early construction phases, the benefit of going digital is being realised. Through better sequencing reduced delays have allowed for better control, while enabling improvements in speed, accuracy, and efficiency. Alberola said that using 4D planning has created a 30 per cent reduction in planning time so far.

Not only will using digital tools in the design and construct phase benefit the delivery of the project, but also the project’s outcomes and legacy. The digital solution not only accounts for financial cost, but also the carbon and emissions cost. Reducing waste early on ultimately leads to a better outcome for all stakeholders.