In a project with more than 20 partners, including Bauer Maschinen GmbH, engineers at TU Dresden are developing new machine and communication technologies for a fully networked construction site. Within the next three years, these applications will be tested on the first real-life 5G test site.
Actively shaping digitalisation
The focus of the project, which was officially launched earlier this year, is the further development of construction machinery so that work tasks can be automated or partially automated. The joint project, which also involves associations such as the Deutsche Bauindustrie (German Construction Industry), VDBUM and VDMA, is being supported by a €4.8 million (US$ 5.3 million) grant from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The project volume will be around €9 million, of which Bauer Maschinen will cover €620,000.
Dr Matthias Semel is coordinating and monitoring the project for Bauer Maschinen with Andreas Schober responsible for technical implementation as subproject manager. Both work in the research and development department at Bauer Maschinen. "Digitalisation is a pressing issue in the construction industry," said Semel. "When it comes to the new opportunities that 5G will offer in the future, we want to be part of development from the very start and actively play a role in shaping it."
A focus on Kelly drilling
As part of the research project, but also beyond it, Bauer will specifically be focused on the development of a drilling rig that recognises its environment and communicates data securely via interfaces. This requires the development of multiple systems as well as their implementation on a demonstrator: An environment recognition system that can recognise both process interfaces and also possible dangers, a finite-state machine that is able to automatically capture its current process data, an equipment database, an equipment management system that automatically recognises and manages tools and attachments, and an assistance system for partially automated Kelly drilling.
"We are concentrating initially on the Kelly drilling process, as this is the most common method used with our rigs worldwide," explains Semel. "The goal is for the semi-automated systems to support and assist the operator as much as possible. This ultimately has a direct effect on productivity at the construction site as well as precision and safety."
Assistance systems for more safety and efficiency
Bauer already offers a range of assistance systems to support equipment operators - from automatic mast alignment to one-directional and bi-directional spoil discharge assistants to an adaptive Kelly speed assistant. These systems ensure more safety, comfort and efficiency on construction sites and pave the way for autonomous drilling in an increasingly complex work environment.
The adaptive Kelly speed assistant, for example, has already proved itself in a large project in Thailand: with "One Bangkok" the capital is gaining a completely new district. A total area of 1.83 million square metres makes this project the largest private real estate development initiative that has ever been realised in Thailand. For the foundation works, Thai Bauer Co. Ltd installed 700 bored piles with diameters from 1,500 to 1,800mm and a depth of up to 80m. Several Bauer drilling rigs were used, including a Bauer BG 45 equipped with an adaptive Kelly speed assistant.
The Kelly speed assistant automatically regulates the optimal winch speed when extending and retracting the Kelly bar - a significant performance boost when it comes to operator comfort. The equipment operator monitors the complete process via a screen in the cab. If an error occurs, the assistant automatically stops the winch. Display of locking pockets in the Kelly visualisation is another advantage as it allows the wear-reducing approach of locking positions.
A number of Bauer drilling rigs are now already equipped with the adaptive Kelly speed assistant.
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