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The chip that builds your railway faster
Digital technology is set to boost productivity across the construction sector
From robots in railway tunnels to drones in the sky, digital technology is reducing the cost of building new infrastructure. But the story is just beginning. Full-scale digitalisation could eventually generate global cost savings worth up to US$1.7 trillion annually for the engineering and construction sector, the Boston Consulting Group suggests.
The implications are huge. As well as boosting the performance and productivity of the construction industry, digital technology promises to make delivering projects quicker, easier and more affordable. In short, digitally-enabled construction is good news for everyone.
Digital technology holds the key to tackling some of the construction industry’s trickiest challenges. One of these is keeping track of materials. Cable is an example: in the case of the Grand Paris Express, thousands of tonnes of cables will need to be distributed efficiently to sites scattered across the Île-de-France.
Customers need to know exactly where their cables are from the moment they order them right through to final installation.
Nexans’ pioneering “Connected Drums” solution – the first in the market – is designed to meet this need. This is an Internet-of-Things solution that allows customers to pinpoint their cable drums (and details of what’s on the drum) via an easy-to-use web platform. The prize: lower costs, faster deployment and a dramatic reduction in theft.
It works like a Google Earth page with a map displaying all the drums. Users can search by location, or filter results to track down specific types of cable. All the data relevant to the cable and its whereabouts is just a click away.
The solution uses a tiny GPS tracking device buried in the heart of each drum. The device also contains temperature and movement sensors to monitor conditions on site – and to generate an alert the moment anyone moves the drum.
Connected Drums underline the way digital technologies drive value creation. For example, data about drums can now be shared easily across the supply chain, eliminating silos. That can make a big difference when there are multiple subcontractors.
Nexans’ Connected Drums have proven their worth since they were launched in 2016. Customers in six countries are now using the solution and more than 1,250 drums are equipped with tracking devices.