7 Major Trends That Will Impact the Construction Industry

construction-industry

The construction industry is always changing and evolving. Every year new trends appear within the industry, from technological advancements to a stronger focus on sustainability. If you run a construction company and you want to make sure you stay ahead of the game, it can be useful to be aware of emerging trends that could prepare you for the future.

After all, many of the trends make construction work easier and more efficient, so if you aren’t aware of them, you may find it hard to keep up with your competitors. While it can be difficult to know which trends will be more popular than others, there are a few important trends already starting to emerge. Here are seven major trends that will impact the construction industry over the next year.

construction-industry-2

1. More Technological Integration

Technology is one of the main factors pushing change in nearly every industry, but in some ways, the construction industry has managed to partially avoid this. However, recent advancements have resulted in technology that is specifically suited to construction; with more drone usage and 3D printing than ever before, it is likely the construction industry will embrace both these forms of technology.

After all, both will make construction work safer and easier; drones can be used to ensure materials are placed exactly how they should be, and 3D printing can be used to make sure every material is the perfect size. Self-driving vehicles may also become more popular within the construction industry, as well as mobile and cloud applications that make the whole construction process more straightforward.

Another form of technology that people can expect to see more of is Building Information Modeling (BIM). BIM will make the collaboration aspect of construction easier. Most construction projects require tens (or even hundreds) of people to come up with essential aspects of the plan, but it can be difficult for all these people to stay in communication.

Many construction companies are already starting to use BIM technology, and it isn’t hard to see why. There are lots of benefits to using BIM; it makes resource management easier, it helps people to stay in touch throughout the project, and it enables enhanced collaboration. In fact, the National BIM report of 2017 by the NBS found that people are having a very positive response to the technology. The report found that nearly 80% of the participants believe BIM is the future of project management, and a further 60% believe the technology has the ability to make projects more time efficient.

2. Increase in Prefabrication and Modular Construction Projects

Prefabrication and modular construction have both become more popular over the last year or so, and it isn’t hard to see why. Both trends are energy efficient and cost-effective, which is ideal at a time when most material prices are rising, or high already! This popularity is likely to increase even more over the next few months, especially for construction companies looking to cut overall costs. And with the help of effective hot melt adhesives and the overall ease of design, the actual construction of the homes is quite quick. So, you can expect to see a lot more permanent modular buildings in the future, as well as pop-up buildings and prefabricated homes.

3. Additional Focus on Sustainability

Increasingly, people are focused on sustainability, so the most successful companies are also focusing on sustainability. This is a terrific way to appeal to the Millennials, and of course, it is also much better for the world as a whole. For this reason, it is very likely that most, if not all, construction companies will place a strong focus on sustainability. While it is still important to find the best product for the job, it is likely managers will look for products that have a focus on ecological benefits, such as living walls that provide an area with fresh oxygen.

4. Improved Safety Procedures

Most people understand construction isn’t the safest job in the world, especially when compared with an office job. After all, the industry suffers far more workplace accidents and fatalities, and this knowledge has resulted in an increased level of scrutiny on the industry. This scrutiny has resulted in the development of technology designed to make construction sites safer. New mobile apps and computer programmers make it easier for employees to adhere to safety measurements when they are working.

5. A Rise in the Popularity of Project Management Software

Many industries are now embracing project management software, and this includes the construction industry. Project management software has been improved significantly over the last few years, and now there are lots of specialized programs to suit different jobs; from designing a building to running a construction site.

The software provides construction companies with three major advantages; transparency, accountability, and efficiency. As many people will be using the same software, it is easier for people to understand their role, which could also help to make construction sites safer.

Currently, project management software offers real-time communication, trackability, and a project overview. This could result in an increase in IT spending within the construction industry, which is interesting since most construction managers only spend around 2% of their budget on IT.

6. Slow Growth

While the demand for construction is likely to continue growing, the growth will be slower than many people expect. This is due to limited spending in both residential and non-residential sectors, which could result in an increase in competition.

7. Rising Material Costs

The last few years have seen rising material costs within the construction industry, and sadly this trend is sticking around. Due to the rising cost of skilled labor and supplies, construction companies have been forced to fork out more if they want to keep the company going – and prices are expected to stay just as high in 2018. This is why many construction companies are looking for ways to cut overall costs – and if you are doing this, one of the best things you can do is embrace new construction technologies that can make your workforce more efficient. It can also be useful to bulk buy materials to lower costs.

The overall outlook for construction is positive. The construction industry is an essential part of any successful city, although rising costs can make it harder for smaller companies to compete. However modern technologies are set to make the world of construction safer, more efficient, and more effective, which could help to lower overall costs.

Article by Casey Heigl read original article here and more articles by her here

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

Crane & Rigging Companies join Forces for Lifting Project

crane-seattle

Omega Morgan crane superintendent Eldon Ash and senior engineer Kai Farrar, as well as Apex Steel owner Kevin Koester and engineer Ron Roberts, were tasked with an intriguing and complicated lifting challenge. More than a year of planning, engineering, testing and simulations went into the design of the project known as 2+U, named for its location on 2nd Avenue and University Street in Seattle, WA. The high-rise project is being developed by Skanska USA.

The engineering of structural columns supporting the proposed 38-story office complex provided an intricate challenge in ensuring the Y-shaped columns could distribute the weight of every floor above evenly on the foundation while maintaining a 72-degree angle of installation.

Faced with several issues that could have stalled the project before it even began, Omega Morgan and Apex Steel engineers went over several options to determine the best way to perform the required lifts when available space and increased weights of the columns caused the original lift plan to be scrapped.

“Initially, we were going to use two cranes, and then we were going to use a crane and a tri-lifter, but as the load got heavier and heavier, and as the jobsite got tighter and tighter for access, we had to come up with some more innovative ways to pick and stand these things up, and that’s when I came up with this idea,” said Farrar.

Rigging gear

  • 37.5-ton JDN 37TI
  • Air Chain Hoist with 35-foot HOLCrane Seattle 2
  • 50-ton JDN 50TS
  • Air Chain Hoist with 35-foot HOL
  • 60-ton WLL
  • Single Sheave Blocks, 24-inch diameter and 2-inch wire rope

Skip-around schedule

Charged with leveraging their skill and experience to come up with a way to utilize a limited amount space and a strict schedule of road closures to set the foundation for the office tower project, Omega Morgan and Apex had to adapt a skip-around schedule based on which roads would be closed to complete the project while avoiding falling behind schedule.

The engineering of the supports that would be installed at a 72-degree angle – and which start on the second floor and run up through the next five stories – left no room for error in the construction and placement. Further, engineering the lifts of each section of the columns posed its own problem. With the columns being assembled in a sort of “Y” shape, the assembled height and weight made it essential to install them in sections. Fully assembled, each column came in with the base, installed separately, weighing in around 50,000 pounds with two arms run at a 72-degree angle that span around 60 to 70 feet tall with a final weight of 165,400 pounds for the heaviest columns. The rigging itself weighed 5,528 pounds. Ensuring all pieces lined up properly to evenly distribute the weight with only enough space for one crane, calculations had to be precise.

Once on-site, further challenges crept up that called for on-the-fly adjustments. The position of the crane had to be modified to avoid swinging the counterweight too close to a tree trunk, which would break branches. The crane was moved five feet away to be able to tie the branches back and assure no contact. This move required the crane be set on a wooden ramp to level it out given the slope of University Avenue.

Once the columns were fabricated and weighed, the numbers came in significantly heavier than planned. The tight nature of the jobsite inside the building did not allow space for two cranes with the capacity required. It became clear that a rigging scenario in which a single crane could pick and upright the columns would be necessary.

Creative rigging

Crane-Seattle-3

Because of the tight space on-site, it was not possible to use a boom suspension system to stabilize a longer boom to get enough capacity to make the picks, limiting the boom length to 118 feet with no boom suspension. The short boom and head room required that the single crane rigging setup be as short as possible.

The two cranes on the job were a 485-ton capacity Liebherr LTM 1400 all-terrain crane rigged with a main boom of 118 feet and a maximum radius of 45 feet and a 550-ton Grove GMK 7550 rigged with a main boom of 148 feet and a maximum radius of 70 feet.

Equipping the cranes with a 37.5-ton air chain hoist and a pair of 60-ton sheave blocks, the crew was able to perform the work typically done with the aid of a tailing device while utilizing only one crane and saving on the head room required to perform the lift.

“One thing that was unique about this rigging scenario was that using the rolling blocks and the chain lift in this way, as the load goes through its rotation, the head height at the final rotation is minimized compared to other systems that are similar like a tri-block that runs the secondary line down, but the rigging height that you end up with was too much for our project,” said Farrar. “This rolling block/hoist system really minimizes the head room once the columns are upright. Because the site was so tight, we couldn’t use any kind of boom suspension like a mega-wing or guy wires since they stuck out too far and would have interfered with the building core and a lot of the structural elements, so we had to stick to short-length, main boom only and couldn’t have any tall rigging.”

Farrar engineered the rolling block setup to create the safest, most efficient pick possible that allowed them to run the lift with one crane and save on the space required compared with other options. Limited on viable options, the use of a tri-block system would no longer work in this application, so the creative use of an air chain hoist paired with rolling blocks saved time and money. Keeping a spare 50-ton air chain hoist on site, which never left its shipping container, ensured there would be minimal risk of unplanned downtime in the event of a mechanical breakdown.

Continue reading this article here

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

New Safety Legislation for Alberta’s Agriculture Sector

Safety System

A new legislation will soon require Alberta farmers to ensure their farms are equipped with proper safety plans. Emergency response, fall protection, and hazard assessments are just some of the plans that will be implemented to ensure worker safety on Alberta farms. The Alberta agriculture sector will now begin using checklists to help maintain these safety programs.

Alberta farms and ranches with paid employees will soon be required to follow a slate of new safety rules, some of which address using seatbelts, operating older equipment and conducting inspections.

The province announced the incoming changes in an effort to strike a balance between keeping farm workers safe while ensuring operators can practically abide by

Agriculture

them. They don’t apply to family members or neighbours helping on the farm.

Starting Dec. 1, seatbelts will be required wherever possible for all equipment that is over 700 kilograms. If it’s not possible to install them, the rules state farmers must use reasonably practical methods, like driving slow.

As well, farmers will still be able to use or sell existing equipment even if it’s not up to the latest manufacturer code. This means farmers won’t need engineers to come onto their farm to write up safety manuals for old equipment.

As well, these legacy equipment rules won’t affect dealers because all new equipment is considered up to code.

The rules regarding seatbelts and old equipment were some of the main sticking points among producers last fall, which is when the technical farm working groups put forward recommendations for review.

“It didn’t make sense for us to bend on legacy equipment,” said Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier.

In fact, the contentious rules were years in the making. Following massive protests in 2015, the government did extensive consultations with groups like the AgCoalition, which was established to provide advice on farm safety, to come up with changes that it hoped would ease concerns.

As well, AgSafe Alberta, a producer-led group, was developed to help farms get up to date on the incoming changes.

Other rules state that farmers will be able to raise or lower workers in loader buckets in the rare case that it’s not reasonable or practical to use a machine for that purpose.

As well, producers using equipment weighing over 700 kg will need to complete a rollover hazard assessment and either use a rollover protective structure or do other safe working procedures.

The rules said fall-protection equipment might not be practical or possible, so safe work procedures can be grain-elevatorimplemented in place of this.

Workers can also be transported on loads under controlled conditions. Their access to work areas must be safe, and structures must be strong enough to support them.

The province is providing $6 million over the course of three years for the purpose of helping producers with waged employees adopt the new rules. It will provide up to $10,000 per person. More details on the program will be announced later in the year.In terms of hazard inspections, farmers can conduct inspections whenever they feel necessary. Visual inspections before using equipment are good enough.

Farms that have 20 or more workers who are employed for 90 days or longer must establish a health and safety committee. The committee must keep records of safety meetings and make recommendations to the employer on how they can improve safety.

Farms with fewer than 20 workers who are employed for 90 days or longer will be required to have someone designated as a health and safety representative. The representative will be responsible for addressing complaints and doing regular inspections to mitigate potential hazards.

OHS officers can be called to investigate a farm if a complaint is filed or if the farm reported a serious injury or death.

In the long run, OHS visits will be focused on farms with higher incidences of injuries and incidents. They will focus on compliance assistance and promote AgSafe Alberta resources.

Keep you workers safe, especially when it comes to working at heights. Hercules SLR stocks a wide range of Fall Protection systems from leading manufacturers – from Roofing kits to ladders systems, harness and lanyards. We can also provide you with customized training and solutions to suit your every need. If you would like more information please contact us toll free at (877) 461 4876.

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

Netherlands Builds the First Road Made from 100% Plastic

Plastic-Road

Three industry giants are joining forces to make the PlasticRoad, a road made of 100% recycled plastic from the ocean, becomes a reality. KWS, in collaboration with Wavin and Total combined their knowledge, experience, and resources to build the first road made from 100% recycled plastic

The ‘cycle’ path to the PlasticRoad

The first pilot project will be a 30-meter-long cycle path made of hollow prefabricated elements enabling water drainage and laying down of cables and pipes. The PlasticRoad partners KWS, Wavin and Total have worked extensively on the development and testing of the concept to validate and optimize performance such as the load bearing capacity of the modular elements, the appropriate blends of recycled plastic and the three-dimensional design of the road itself. In addition, research focused on the reduced environmental impact has been carried out. The positive results achieved to date support moving forward to make the first pilot project reality.

After an extensive period of design, testing and development, we are delighted that the PlasticRoad is becoming a reality. Together with the municipality of Zwolle and the province of Overijssel, we as PlasticRoad partners are taking steps towards a more sustainable world with this first PlasticRoad cycle path.
Anne Koudstaal and Simon Jorritsma , inventors of the PlasticRoad and KWS employees
The brainchild

The PlasticRoad concept was conceived by VolkerWessels’ enterprise, KWS, the largest road construction company in the Netherlands. After observing the road network build and maintenance related issues faced by urban areas the idea of a road made from 100% recycled plastic waste from the ocean made

Plastic Road 2

 complete sense. To accomplish this sustainable feat and develop a PlasticRoad prototype, three industry giants (KWS, Wavin and Total) have joined forces. Wavin, who is a world leader in recycled plastic pipe systems, along with oil and gas company Total, provide the perfect combination of knowledge, expertise and experience to align with KWS in this ground-breaking endeavour.
Why the PlasticRoad ?

A few facts….

  • Around 8 million metric tonnes end up in the oceans each year
  • 54% of plastic is still incinerated or dumped into landfills today
  • only 14% of plastic waste is currently recycled

(Ellen MacArthur fondation: The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics)

With the PlasticRoad, we will bring plastic waste back into the chain, thus reducing the environmental impacts of building and maintaining a road. The concept of PlasticRoad is completely in sync with environmental initiatives like Cradle to Cradle (C2C) and The Ocean Cleanup. Plastic from the ocean is recycled and made into prefabricated road parts that can be installed in one piece – making the installation easy, quick and lightweight. It also alleviate the continuous issues linked to asphalt and paved roads: erosion, weeds, potholes, surface flooding, surface heating, noise.

The PlasticRoad is:

  • prefabricated with hollow space for drainage pipes, cabling and flood water attenuation
  • 70% faster to install than traditional road surfaces
  • expected to last 3 times longer than traditional paved roads
  • half the construction cost

There are an estimated 40 million kilometres of road worldwide (Science Advances: Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made). The potential of the recycling and re-use of plastic in roads is huge.

This is a really solid way of reusing plastic.

Katinka Von Der Lippe , INDEX Award Jury Member and Strategic Designer & Manager at Eker Design Hydrolift

Next steps for the PlasticRoad

Wavin is excited to be an integral part of this project and delighted to be working alongside KWS and Total. We will certainly keep you posted with the results of the installation.

In the UK, we are leading the debate on what the future of drainage could be, as we know that more can be done to tackle urban drainage and flood issues. Wavin recently developed three concepts with a team of graduate engineers. Watch the concepts they came up with:

Here’s to a greener future for road technology and urban drainage management!
Read the original article here

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

Elk Series – Quick-Maintenance Hoists from Ingersoll Rand

Elk-Series
IRITS-0118-004_ELK-Flyer-1
to Download the ELK Hoist flyer – click on the image above.

Ingersoll Rand has launched the Elk Series electric chain hoist, designed to be lightweight and accessible enough to be serviced while still mounted at the facility, cutting downtime.

The three key features that make this possible are an external motor that is easy to reach and remove; a self-contained, permanently-lubricated gearbox that eliminates complexity; and a durable design that lasts in both indoor and outdoor applications.

“With the introduction of the ELK Series Electric Chain Hoist, we are bringing an electric hoist to market that meets the reputation for durability and reliability of our MLK, CLK and HLK hoists,” said Austin Lieb, vice president of product management and marketing at Ingersoll Rand Power Tools.

“Customers can now choose an electric hoist that is modern, compact and significantly lighter than what is currently on the market, making it easier for them to use and maintain their equipment.”ingersoll-rand-aug18-ds

The Elk series is initially available in capacities from 125kg–1t, with capacities up to 5t coming later in the year. The hoists are suitable for a range of end-use sectors including foundries, general industry and manufacturing, oil and gas, heavy equipment manufacturing and wind generation.

The hoists are also durable and reliable, added Ingersoll Rand, and can handle a high volume of loads in accordance with the H4 standard. The aluminium die cast housing can withstand harsh manufacturing environments, and it resistant to dust, water jets, and has built-in drain housing.

Read the original article here

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

Investment Puts Belfast at Heart of Hi-Tech Coal Industry

Coal-BelfastHarbour

Investments totaling £30M by Northern Ireland-based LCC Group and Belfast Harbour have put the city at the centre of the global supply chain for hi-tech coal.

Since opening last year, LCC’s £12M facility has handled almost 500,000 tonnes of processed coal which is exported directly across the world to destinations such as Saudi Arabia, Australia, Scandinavia, mainland Europe and North Africa.  LCC’s investment and export opportunity is built upon a circa £20m investment by Belfast Harbour in recent years to enhance its deep water and cranage capability.

The LCC facility, the most sophisticated of its kind in the world, removes impurities from coal. The coal can then be used to produce ferro alloy and silica metals which are used in the manufacture of hi-end products such as solar panels and medical equipment.  LCC imports coal to Belfast from Columbia for processing before onward export.

Belfast Port and coal

Over 130 direct and indirect jobs are supported by the operation including engineers, lab technicians and port support services.

Michael Loughran of LCC Group, said:

“This £12m investment means that LCC operates one of the most environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art coal processing facilities to be found anywhere in the world.  In addition to creating 30 new jobs and up to 100 indirect jobs in supporting sectors, the facility has put Belfast at the heart of the global hi-tech coal industry.

“Working in partnership with Belfast Harbour and building upon its investments in port infrastructure, LCC is now to the fore of the emerging clean-tech coal sector. The facility is designed to meet the most stringent 21stcentury environmental standards, and uses the most up-to-date technology to combat potential air and water pollution.”

Michael Robinson, Belfast Harbour’s Commercial Director, added:

“In recent years Belfast Harbour has invested around £20m in a new deep-water quay and new larger cranes to enhance its bulk cargo operations in anticipation of our customers’ future needs.  This has enabled the Port to handle ever larger vessels and accommodate LCC’s new facility beside its main bulk handling quay at Stormont Wharf.

“Belfast Harbour is now handling direct export shipments to Saudi Arabia for the first time in its history and recently exported bulk cargo to Australia for the first time in living memory. This new trade is also supporting jobs across a wide range of port services including stevedores and hauliers.”

This week Belfast Harbour handled a shipment of 20,000 tonnes of processed coal destined for Saudi Arabia.

Article from Spring 2018  – Read original Article Here

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

Construction Industry Draws $1.3 Billion in Venture Capital

Ventire-Captital-in-Construction

In a bid to digitize building trades, investors have already bet big on the transformative power of new startups

Move over meal deliveries and mobility startups: The construction industry has become a new focal point for venture capital funds and tech investment.

Investment in AEC firms—architecture, engineering, and construction—have blossomed in the last few years, as a once low-tech, staid industry begins to feel the full impact of digital technology, especially when it comes to collaboration software, worksite monitoring, safety, and new design tools.

Tech Investment

Tech investment in construction has grown rapidly in the past decade—in 2008, global investment totaled $4.5 million across two deals—led by growing number of more active and specialized venture capital investors. According to data from CB Insights, the industry saw $882.3 million in investment last year across 103 deals, and has already bested that in 2018, racking up $1.38 billion across 61 deals.

While this year’s considerable investment is mostly due to a handful of sizable venture capital investments in companies such as Katerra, the Silicon Valley construction startup that received $865 million in a funding round that included the SoftBank Vision Fund, these mammoth deals only show the potential many see in these types of companies.

venture-capital-diggerFrom Low Tech to High Tech

“Construction is one of the least digitized industries, so many startups are seizing the opportunity to build technology that would increase efficiency within this market,” says Michael Wholey, an intelligence analyst for CB Insights. “As a result, funding and deal activity in the construction technology space has been increasing steadily over the past few years.”

Kaustubh Pandya, a principal at Brick & Mortar Ventures, a three-year-old San Francisco-based investment fund focused on AEC companies, says the technology to digitize buildings, including affordable sensors and better mobile technology, has the potential to make an industry known for long time frames and flexible deadlines more efficient.

According to a recent Crunchbase article, a number of startups are on the rise, including Rhumbix, which raised $20 million in venture capital investments for its mobile platform for the construction craft workforce, and Procore, which has built a cloud-based construction management software application and raised $229 million.

While there’s a desire to expand and diversify tech investment—”the world doesn’t need another general fund, there are plenty out there,” says Pandya—the size and scope of the construction and design field offers plenty of opportunities. A report from global consulting firm McKinsey found numerous areas for improvement and investment, especially in the realms of field productivity and site-performance management.

One of the main reasons investors see great potential is the relatively low growth in productivity in the building trades, relative to other industries. The McKinsey analysis found that construction labor productivity averaged 1 percent growth annually over the last two decades, compared to the 3 to 4 percent average found in other industries. If new technologies could help close that gap, that would add an estimated $1.6 trillion to the industry’s annual output.

Read original article here.

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

The Frankensling – Custom Solutions for Rigging Dilemmas

Frankensling


The Town of Oakville Marina in Ontario had a reoccurring problem raising and lowering the masts and sails of the vessels as they handled the boats. Due the large volume of craft, the variations in size and space, they needed something that could do more than one mast or sail at a time. Enter Hercules SLR and ‘The Frankensling!

Frakensling Marina Crew
The Marina Crew

The solution they used to use was to manipulate each mast and sail individually, but this was time consuming, inefficient work. Moving multiple masts caused problems as the weight shifted as they were manipulated, became unstable and were in danger of damage. They needed something that was weight loaded to distribute an even application for the multiple height level adjusting of masts/sail raising and lowering.

The Marina came up with the solution of using slings looped together. This did not solve the whole problem, but made it more the process more efficient. There was still the strong possibility of damage as multiple slings were harder to control. The marina came to Hercules with the problem, looking for something that was efficient, robust and easy to use. Together we created what is now penned as the Frakensling.

Frakensling
The Frakensling at the Town of Oakville Marina

The sling gets attached to the mast or sail of the boat, which allows for a securing point every 12”. This Frankensling is 24ft, but it can be made to any size of specification as needed. At every 12” mark there is a loop to which a line or rigging part can be attached to ensure an even balanced load point at every stage of the moving procedure. The sling can be used at any height and the pattern modified for any type of craft or Marina.

The Frankensling
The Frakensling in Action

This is a great multi stage variable height sling. It’s a perfect for masts that have more than 1 spreader on them. The current sling for the Town of Oakville Marina is 2” wide and 24FT long. They are looking to refine the design by shifting from 2” wide to 1” wide.

The Frankensling
Securing loops every 12 in

It was pleasure to work with the Town of Oakville Marina, and Hercules SLR once again pulled out all the stops to custom make something that made the day to day work of our customers easier.

Doesn’t every Marina need a Frakensling?

Sherry Bohm
Customer Service Representative

Sherry Bohm has worked in the industrial sector for about 20 years, and has recently joined Hercules to increase her skills and share them with her growing customer (fan!) base.  She loves dealing with customers and providing them with exactly what they need as sometimes they don’t know what is the best solution, so Sherry utilizes her experience and background to assist in getting them the correct product(s) or pointing them into the right direction. Her hard work and dedication has resulted in a very close working relationship with the Canadian Coast Guards Ships and Ontario’s Marina’s. Sherry currently works out of her hometown branch of Hamilton Ontario.

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

 

 

Rope & Sling (RSS) Donates Rigging Gear for Boat Lift

RSS-boatlift

Rope and Sling Specialists Ltd. (RSS) UK donated lifting and rigging gear to the Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre in East London as the charity had a requirement to lift a 2.5t rescue support boat out of the River Thames onto land for maintenance and repair.

The activity centre is located next to the King Edward Memorial Park Foreshore (Wapping) site of the Thames Tideway Tunnel project, a major new sewer. RSS is a frequent visitor to the area, providing lifting equipment and periodic Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) inspections for the site, made up of the foreshore of the tidal Thames River next to King Edward Memorial Park and an area to the south.

The activity centre provides watersports and adventurous activities, including training courses, events, and sessions for groups, schools, and individuals throughout the year. It approached Tideway officials to ask for their help to lift a boat out of the water and back again once repairs were completed. To experienced lifting professionals the project was routine, but the charity wouldn’t have been able to execute it alone.

Graham Dawson, depot manager at RSS’s Aylesford facility, said: “When I heard about the centre’s requirement I had no hesitation in offering them our equipment free of charge. We spend a lot of time at the site and were able to time delivery with a three-week-long LOLER inspection, led by Steve Conroy, that we complete every three months. It was a great opportunity to combine important safety-related work with supporting a good community cause.”

RSS supplied two MOD 6 spreader beams at 2.5m and two 10t capacity, 12m-long duplex webbing boat slings. The boat was 7m long and 2.5m wide; a canoeist and slinger combined to pass the slings underneath the vessel whilst in the water before a three-axle Liebherr mobile crane, kindly donated by Emerson Crane Hire, already rigged with the top slings, raised it from the water.

Simon Steane, lifting operations manager for Tideway East, the section of the super sewer that runs from Chambers Wharf in Bermondsey to Abbey Mills, near Stratford, said: “Everyone involved was very happy to help the Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre with their boat lift. We use RSS for their fast response time, professionalism, and flexibility.”

Mike Wardle, centre director at the Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre, said: “Our assets like our safety boat enable us to have larger numbers of people accessing the river safely. We particularly target young people from low economic backgrounds and young people with disabilities. We also give young people a pathway to employment in sports coaching through our youth project. We raise funding to deliver the activities from grant giving bodies, organisations, business, and donations.”

He added: “Any company that assists us with their technical and professional skills is worth their weight in gold and for the staff and volunteers that impart their time at the charity a source of relief. The safety boat is now in dry dock and is undergoing repairs to the pro shaft as well as a deserved major service. A massive thank you to all who have helped our community!”

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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLR, Hercules Machining & Millwright Services, Spartan Industrial Marine, Stellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

Innovation & Technology Rush in the Oil Sands

Oil Sands
Oil sands operators and suppliers alike are trying to find ways to reduce operations costs and cut emissions By Alexandra Lopez-Pacheco

Dozens of emerging technologies for almost every facet of oil sands production could be paving the way for solutions to the most significant environmental and operational challenges faced today. In fact, according to a study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI), these emerging technologies are establishing a foundation for the industry to reduce its operational costs by 40 per cent and its emissions by up to 80 per cent. There is an innovation rush in Alberta’s oil sands and the impacts could be far reaching.

An innovative environment

“Most of us think of innovation in terms of technology but innovation can happen in lots of different ways,” said Dan Wicklum, chief executive of Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), formed in 2012 by 10 oil companies that account for 90 per cent of oil sands production. “The COSIA model itself is probably one of the biggest innovations in the oil sector.”

Instead of treating innovation as a means to gain a competitive advantage, the COSIA companies collaborate in developing new technologies to improve their environmental and operational performance, said Wicklum. They have already shared $1.4 billion worth of intellectual property for some 985 technologies and innovations. Two years ago, COSIA also launched the international US$20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE for CO2 emission-reduction technologies that can convert CO2 into usable products.

“A good innovation system needs good people, good ideas and good funding, but it also needs the testing infrastructure,” said Wicklum. To this end, COSIA partnered with the federal and Alberta governments to create the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre (ACCTC) in Calgary, which opened in May. Built adjacent to the Shepard Energy Centre, which provides flue gas emissions from a natural gas-fired power plant, the new facility enables innovators with the capabilities to test, refine and scale-up technologies for commercialization that convert CO2 into usable products.

In April, COSIA announced the 10 finalists for the Carbon XPRIZE. Each will receive a US$500,000 award to take their technologies to a commercialization-ready stage. Five of the finalists are focused on gas-based CO2 conversion and will be the ACCTC’s first tenants. (The teams focused on converting coal-based CO2 will go to Wyoming’s Integrated Test Center.) Using CO2, Carbicrete turns steel slag industrial waste into cement-free concrete, CERT creates value-added fuels and feedstocks, Newlight fabricates bioplastics, Carbon Upcycling Technologies builds graphitic nanoparticles and graphene derivatives, and C2CNT manufactures nanotubes. Along with the finalists in Wyoming, they will be scaling up their technologies for commercialization as they compete for one of the two $7.5 million grand prizes, which will be awarded in 2020.

cropped-co2-solutions-3

Autonomous haul systems

With oil sands haulage fleets as big as they are, the potential for automation is obvious, but its implementation has demanded creative thinking to contend with the difficult conditions in the region.

For Komatsu, which has worked with Suncor since 2013 on adapting the OEM’s autonomous haulage systems (AHS) that it has rolled out in the Pilbara iron range of Western Australia, the oil sands posed unique challenges, namely the cold winters and the soft underfooting of the ore bodies. Winterizing and the development of a multi-trajectory system to prevent the trucks from damaging the roads resolved the challenges.

Suncor is planning to add 150 AHS units at its oil sands mines over the next six years, starting with the North Steepbank mine. It is not the only oil sands mining company considering the new technology. Canadian Natural Resources is planning a small pilot project for 2019.

Komatsu’s AHS combines autonomous trucks with manned support equipment and shovels. “We have five layers of safety to allow humans to interact with the autonomous trucks,” said Brian Yureskes, director of Komatsu’s business development for the oil sands. “Some of those are virtual layers of safety so the system is able to see and anticipate what humans are doing around the trucks. Some are physical layers such as lasers and radar. The final layer is that every single piece of equipment that is manned and operated in the area has a big red button that, when you push it, stops all the autonomous trucks.”

According to Scott Schellenberg, senior manager of AHS for SMS Equipment, the Canadian distributor for Komatsu, the autonomous technology itself has increased safety. “Humans working around the autonomous haulers can see on their screens where the trucks are and know where they are headed versus with a human driving the truck,” he said.

The digital oil sands

The oil sands are increasingly adopting machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies, said Dinara Millington, vice-president of research at CERI. “I’m noticing it’s happening faster now that these technologies have been in the commercial space for a little while,” she said.

Marty Reed, CEO of Evok Innovations, a partnership between Canada’s oil and gas companies and the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance, points to two innovative companies with technologies that have powerful benefits for the oil and gas sector as well as the oil sands. One is Kelvin, which has an artificial intelligence system that has been deployed in BP’s oil and gas fields in Wamsutter, Wyoming. There, hundreds of inexpensive sensors have been installed in the wells where they gather data that is transmitted via the cloud to powerful computers. These identify patterns and form predictions, which are used to create optimization tweaks that are sent back down to the controls in the field.

“The days of one shift coming in and tweaking all the dials is going to go away,” said Reed. “Computers do it better.”

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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLR, Hercules Machining & Millwright Services, Spartan Industrial Marine, Stellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.