UPC works with digital twins to make the construction industry more efficient, more reliable and safer

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The UPC Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is leading one of the ‘workpackages’ of the European project ASHVIN (Assistants for Healthy, Safe, and Productive Virtual Design, Operation & Maintenance using a Digital Twin), an initiative whose objective is to use digital twins technology to make the European construction industry more efficient, more reliable and safer.

Digital twins are virtual copies of objects or processes that simulate the behaviour of their real counterparts in real-time. This innovative technology has diverse benefits, as it can be used to reproduce, experiment with and predict situations in a safe environment to improve efficacy..

The aim of ASHVIN is to improve productivity, reduce costs and guarantee safe working conditions in the European construction industry. The proposal is based on the creation of a European standard of digital twins, an open code digital twin platform that integrates image processing and internet of things technologies and a series of tools and procedures that ensure these improvements in productivity, cost and safety.

Monitor data in real time

The platform that is developed will create a digital representation of the infrastructure to be constructed that will enable digital data to be gathered in real time, before, during and after construction, to continuously supervise any change that occurs in the environment or in the infrastructure. The proposal is based on a concept that is talked about a lot in our sector: digitalization of civil engineering and Construction 4.0. ASHVIN will have three basic pillars: design, construction and maintenance of the infrastructure.In Spain, one of the infrastructures that is being tested is one of the bridges on the high speed railway Plasencia-Badajoz (AVE) of ADIF (as shown in the image). The proposal is also being implemented in various buildings in Barcelona and in infrastructure around Europe.

The ASHVIN consortium, led by TU Berlin, is comprised of 14 members. These include SMEs, industry, universities and research centres from nine European countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, Serbia, Austria, Spain, Croatia, Poland and Sweden. All have extensive experience in the management of construction and engineering, digital twin technology, the internet of things and data security and privacy.

The project has received funding from the European Commission’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, and is in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal, a packet of measures promoted by the European Commission to achieve a sustainable economy that would be the first in the world to attain carbon neutrality in 2050. The European Green Deal is designed to promote efficient use of resources by shifting to a clean, circular economy, restoring biodiversity and reducing pollution.

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