One of the challenges of the new Miami International Speedway is that it is built around a bustling football stadium, tennis courts and concert hall which forces the outlying areas of the facility to change shape for each event it organizes.
It meant that Apex circuit design, who oversaw the project from planning to delivery, had to develop a system to track the 2,900 Geobrugg concrete barriers, debris fences and curbs – across more than 7,000 assets – that needed to be installed. . Then, after the Miami Grand Prix, everything has to be removed to allow the next stadium event to take place, with the help of software development company Ofcdesk.
The solution was ApexBUILD, which is a “digital twin” and asset management tool of the entire racetrack layout, and is the responsibility of Kate Kishel for Apex Development.
Each ApexBUILD asset tag has an individual QR code (a small piece of vinyl with a 5mm adhesive that is also used by NASA) that it stuck to all the parts after they were put in place to form the track’s barriers, which she then scans with a mobile app to update site data in real time.
“A digital twin is a visual replica of a real-world entity — in this case, assets at a construction site,” Kishel said. “But you could have a digital twin to model any system or entity.
“One of the challenges of structures on a temporary race track is all these giant concrete barriers with wire fences on top. They’re like very heavy Lego bricks 13 feet long! They all have to be linked together in a perfect configuration to complete the track.
“These assets are difficult to manage due to their sheer number and size – so imagine if the installation plans weren’t followed as planned, you would need additional labor and specialist equipment to fix it. and get you back on track, which could delay your schedule and incur additional costs.”
Miami Runway Preview
Photo by: Charles Bradley
These inventory tags mean that every component of the track, with the exception of the permanent running surface and the drainage system, can be monitored virtually on a web application to enable their assembly and deconstruction – data which can then be used for reassembly the following year.
Kishel explained: “We use AutoCAD, which is design software used by engineers to design a facility and put site plans in place, which creates a picture of what the site should look like when everything is installed. The ApexBUILD mobile app, once it scans all the QR stickers with the mobile app, gathers all this data for each component, so its own story is captured in our main database. Then the ApexBUILD Web Viewer displays the data in an easy-to-understand graphical display that anyone can see and understand, with little or no training, in seconds.
“You start with an image of what the site should look like, now combined with the actual data of what’s physically built, so you can compare the two to make sure there’s no errors. It’s basically a method of making sure all those giant Legos are where they’re supposed to be.
“It also creates a history of each concrete barrier forever – so if one is damaged and needs to be fixed, there is a record of what happened, so we can be sure to fix the correct barrier before the next year’s race to improve safety.And, moreover, the life of this barrier is perfectly recorded.
ApexBUILD works in conjunction with Autodesk Build and will be used to establish an asset and life management database for inventory control and to record location and condition annually for offsite storage. This will help the project management team each year to reinstall the track systems, in the order in which they are removed after each year’s race.
“We also have TecPro curbs, debris fence panels and barriers,” Kishel added. “We started with a blank canvas, but the pace at which the guys have built this track has been mind-blowing. It was a difficult task to follow them!
The system will face a test this weekend when the Don Shula Avenue public access road is closed and then reopened each morning and evening. Barriers and fences that are moved can be checked to ensure they have been erected/dismantled correctly and in real time.
“People make mistakes, but the computer tracks everything perfectly,” Kishel said. “For example, when I marked some barriers on the start/finish straight last month, ApexBUILD showed that there was only one row of concrete blocks when it should have there should be a double row for security reasons. This was a simple oversight, captured by the application but missed by the installation team.
“On an extremely busy construction site, mistakes like this can happen, but the digital twin clearly shows any discrepancies between what we planned to happen and what actually happens.”
What if the stickers come off over time?
“I know the manufacturer, I talk to him every two weeks, and I think I may have made his life a misery,” she joked. “But he tested the inventory tags by putting them on the tread of a bulldozer and driving it around for 12 hours.
“He’s a Florida native, so he understands how hot and rainy it can get here.”