BIM News

Integration of BIM and Crane Automation in Construction


BIM is an improved planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance process using standardised machine readable information models for each facility. BIM has been widely used in the design phase for communication, co-ordination, cost estimation, structural analysis and for the studies of design variations.  A lot of research has also been carried out to develop applications for using BIM in construction automation.    

Some contractors are leading BIM to field/field to BIM and have started to utilise 3D-machine control systems in earthworks and site excavations on building sites.  Using the information available from BIM-based design process a special 3D-machine control model can be created.  This model can include the whole construction site and all the earthworks and excavations to be undertaken on site.  As most sites are complex in nature, it is important that the machine control model covers all the relevant information and details without becoming too large to manage and as a consequence slow to run.  It is the responsibility to ensure this information is correctly provided by site managers and operatives as they are the best professionals to this.

On a construction site a tower crane is the most shared resource,  it is involved in many different tasks but most importantly it controls the site logistics.

Where the work of a crane operator is assisted with machine control and navigation systems it is important that the operator knows the locations and the positions of the crane boom, lifted object, surrounding structures and other cranes and construction plants on site. This requires different sensors, GPS coordinates and the accurate location of the BIM model within the site. A real-time 3D geometric representation of the as-built site is important to prevent the potential for the crane and crane hook to hit any potential obstacles. This real-time information is especially important for multi-storey and high rise construction where blind lifts are typical.

Virtual simulation is an effective tool in modelling complex tower crane lifting. 3D simulations assist in crane optimisation, planning lifting operations and construction safety planning. They allow for planning and verification before actually deploying the costly equipment on site. Simulations also show the crane operator virtually how to execute the lifting operation and what are the potential risks during the work.

A 4D BIM model would allow automatic updates and real time statistics of time and schedule.  A4D-modelI can show if the crane has being efficiently utilized in order to maintain the planned schedule and production rate. Changes in the planned lifting schedules are typical and a 4D model would make rescheduling easier.  

A real-time 3D geometric representation of the as-built site can increase the crane productivity and reduce the risk of accidents.  This real-time information is especially important for multi-storey and high rise construction where blind lifts are typical.  The use of 4D models can improve site operations and productivity.