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Volz: process optimisation in road construction

First publishedon www.WorldHighways.com
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Gunter Papenburg on the A14 near Leipzig - 70,000tonnes of asphalt during a 24-hour operation.JPG
Gunter Papenburg on the A14 near Leipzig - 70,000tonnes of asphalt during a 24-hour operation

Technological advances for paving machines have greatly improved road surfaces. More advances are coming through Business Process Optimising modules, writes Stefan Volz, general manager of Volz Consulting

The first construction site controlled with Volz’s BPO in real time was in 2014. Since then, BPO modules have become available in five languages and are now used by nearly 40 construction companies in eight countries.

The first BPO modules were designed to plan and later control an asphalt site in real time. The paving process in asphalt road construction requires all too often re-scheduling. Uniform paving – essential for creating a high-quality surface - is possible only if the material supply and thus the production is synchronised.

The past year or so has seen the addition of several BPO modules to cover more of the process, such as material and milling works for a paving operation, big and small.

X-head: BPO for asphalt works

Around 70,000tonnes of asphalt were handled in real time with BPO on several major German rehabilitation projects last year. Construction company Gunter Papenburg used BPO Asphalt to put down 70,000tonnes of asphalt during a 24-hour multi-shift operation on the Autobahn A14 near Leipzig. The module planned the processes of compact asphalt paving, controlled it in real time and documented the paving in detail.

Three types of mixed materials were simultaneously supplied from up to five mixing plants according to the just-in-time principle. The binder and surface layer was paved with two hot-on-hot InLinePave pavers, which loaded just-in-sequence in the right mixture ratio and equipped with two thermographic scanners.

To ensure complete oversight of these processes, the asphalt mixing plants and the entire truck logistics were networked with the construction site via an interface to the fleet management system. The network created a uniform data basis which gave all parties an overview of current supply and paving situations.

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Gunter Papenburg using three  Doppel InlinePave pavers on the A14.jpg
Gunter Papenburg using three Doppel InlinePave pavers on the A14
With the help of the interface to the weighing system of the asphalt mixing plants, the delivery notes were recorded automatically and did not have to be re-entered manually. By integrating fleet management systems from Papenburg with more than 600 trucks, further information, such as location data and the estimated time of arrival of each truck, could be calculated in BPO and displayed to the foreman at the construction site.

The resulting virtual supply chain made it clear to the construction site when the next asphalt delivery would arrive. The documentation of the waiting times of the trucks on the construction site was carried out automatically by means of the previously designed geo-fence - a kind of virtual fence around the construction site, which records the entry time of arriving trucks.

To capture all building-relevant data on the construction site, only a tablet PC with a SIM card was required. Trucks could independently unload after a few minutes.

Due to the linking of asphalt mixing plants, trucks and the construction site, it was always possible to see how much material had been paved, how much tonnage was in the feed line and from which asphalt mixing plant mixed material supplied.

The site manager, who had carried out the planning in the run-up with BPO, could follow the paving process at the same time from his office, keeping abreast of paving progress and possible deviations.

X-head: BPO Construction Material

Wilhelm Schutz, a medium-sized company of 200 employees in the German town of Hesse, has its own mixing plant. The old weighing system served the business well over 15 years, but it could not meet increasing requirements.

The BPO Asphalt module was already being used so it was relatively easy to integrate other software modules. It allows delivery note data as well as clock parcels to be exchanged fully automatically.

At the end of January, the mixing plant changed to the new system in only one week. All master data as well as the historical billing data were transferred from the legacy system and bundled into a new, more powerful database. All print forms such as offers, delivery notes and invoices were adapted to Wilhelm Schutz’s design. After just two days of training, BPO Material was handed over to the company for independent use.

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Wolff & Muller on the A8 - 24,000 tonnes of asphalt milled in six days.jpg
Wolff & Muller on the A8 - 24,000 tonnes of asphalt milled in six days
BPO Material does delivery note preparation and invoicing. Prior to this, offers were created in Word and/or Excel, filed and then entered in the weighing system after commissioning. This double-entry work is now no longer necessary. Once entered, offers including articles and prices can be transferred to an order with one click and are also available for the creation of delivery notes at the weighing machine for later billing.

The search for offers, contracts and orders is also no longer necessary, since all data can be easily and centrally retrieved via easy filters. Also, connection to financial accounting programs is straightforward as there are interfaces to many common programs.

All the material deliveries planned for the respective day are clearly presented to the weighing operator. All delivery notes are electronically signed on a signing pad and stored as a PDF document in an archive. The previous flood of paper has been significantly reduced. In addition, articles can be assigned to the applicable construction products regulation - all prescribed contents are clearly presented on the delivery note.

X-head: Milling now digitalised

A construction project by Wolff & Muller as well as Vogel-Bau on Germany’s A8 Autobahn near Stuttgart was the first use of the milling module. At the beginning of this year, 24,000tonnes of asphalt were milled in six days, accompanied and documented with BPO in real time.

The challenge was to ensure a holistic management of the processes. One of the top priorities was to avoid downtime on site and to minimise the waiting times of the trucks. In addition, uniform distribution of material from three asphalt mixing plants with differing distances from the site was achieved.

During the briefing, the site manager and the milling crew set the day's goal and the milling service provider was instructed in BPO. On the construction site two milling machines were used. The machine operators received a tablet PC and were directly integrated into BPO.

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Wolff & Muller on the A8 - Changes in the logistics and mass flows were without complications.jpg
Wolff & Muller on the A8 - Changes in the logistics and mass flows were without complications
After only a few minutes, the loading of the trucks was carried out independently by the crew due to the intuitive operating concept. The loading process was started by the push of a button and the respective truck was assigned to one of the three dumping spots. While the journey to the nearest dumping spot was only about 15 minutes, the journey to the furthest was more than 45 minutes.

To simplify the assignment of the trucks to their respective dumping spots, takt time planning - pacing work to match a customer’s demand rate - was carried out during the preparation phase.

Starting from the planned milling speed, a loading takt time was calculated. The logistical cycles were planned for the contractually agreed milling material quantities per dumping spot and all trucks were classified accordingly.

All planned trucks, as well as the planned distribution of trucks to the dumping spots, were presented clearly and simply on the tablet PC. Changes in the logistics and the mass flows, due to congestion or short-term changes in the milling sections, were without complications.

BPO was able to digitally plan and operate a milling machine at the Autobahn A8, for the first time in the world, in real time. The achieved goal was to reduce the waiting times of the trucks and to increase the milling performance by minimising idle times at the milling machines.

The trouble-free milling process on the Autobahn A8 was attributable not least to the uncomplicated integration of all types of systems into BPO. For example, the weighing systems of the dumping spot of Deutsche Asphalt in the town of Mönsheim and Morof in Herrenberg could be integrated via an interface so that all transactions were recorded automatically and the tonnage was transmitted to BPO.

All relevant data were transferred to BPO and thus to the construction site fully automatically and reliably.

Volz Consulting


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