The innovative VÖGELE solution for process optimization in road construction
4 May 2018
Optimizing processes, improving quality and boosting efficiency with WITOS Paving
Amid growing cost pressures and demands for better pavement quality and a longer road service life, it is becoming increasingly important to exploit untapped potential in the paving process. Another growing trend is the demand for documentation of the results achieved, whether by the contractor or by the client.
WITOS Paving from VÖGELE is a solution that brings the different players together – from the construction manager through the asphalt mixing plant and the lorry driver to the paving team. The system covers the planning and control of asphalt job sites, ensuring greater transparency across the entire paving process. The fact that the data is available in real time enables users to respond more rapidly and effectively to deviations from plans and to disruptions. And the best thing about it? WITOS Paving learns continuously – just like the construction companies who work with it. That is also confirmed by one of the customers, the Managing Director of Franz Schelle GmbH & Co. KG, Franz Schelle: “WITOS Paving has made the paving process a whole lot smoother. The paving team, for instance, always knows how many lorries are approaching the job site and can react accordingly, by requesting more lorries, for example. That means the pave speed of our SUPER pavers always remains constant – which in turn improves the paving quality enormously.”
Five modules for different process participants and steps
The functions of WITOS Paving are divided into five modules: "Control", "Materials", "Transport", "JobSite" and "Analysis". Each of these modules has a clear role.
WITOS Paving Control, for instance, supports simple project planning by means of an assistant that guides the construction manager through all the parameters relevant for planning, step by step. To give an example, the "Control" module calculates the required quantity of mix as a function of the length and width and the variable geometries of the proposed construction project.
The number of lorries required to supply mix to the paver is passed on to the "Materials" module. The system suggests a variable working cycle to the asphalt mixing plant supervisor, and this cycle is continually aligned with the frequently varying capacities of the lorries. In many cases, that also allows the number of lorries required to be reduced.
The "Transport" module keeps the construction manager, paving foreman and mixing plant supervisor informed in real time of where the individual lorries are located at that particular moment and when exactly they will reach the job site or mixing plant. This allows paving or asphalt production to be perfectly controlled, while the system also coordinates and documents deliveries from multiple mixing plants.
All information on the job site is compiled in real time in the WITOS Paving “JobSite” module, enabling the paving foreman to compare his planned workflow with the reality on the job site and respond to any deviations. Lorry deliveries are also recorded here, either by manual input or simply by scanning a QR code on the delivery note from the mixing plant.
The construction project is subsequently analysed using the "Analysis" module with the aim of making the process even more efficient in the future.
One-stop software and machine solution: The only paver-integrated system
In the VÖGELE solution, the software and the machine technology come from a single source – and the benefits of this are compelling. For instance, this means that no interfaces are required. “WITOS Paving is the only system that offers direct access to the most important machine data,” explains Dr Stephan Weller, Head of Software Products at VÖGELE. Contractor and WITOS Paving customer Franz Schelle also recognizes the practical advantages: “WITOS Paving combines parameters from planning with such paver data as layer thickness and pave speed. This is one benefit that third-party suppliers of process optimization software are unable to match.”
Being a fully integrated system solution, WITOS Paving offers a high degree of functional security in operation. For instance, because all job data such as pave width and pave speed are recorded in real time. This means that paving teams are always working with data that have been obtained in the field rather than calculated virtually. With no need to enter figures manually, the process is also more convenient for users. In addition, the exact operating status of the paver (paving, relocation on the job site, transport and neutral) is detected automatically.
Another benefit of WITOS Paving is its integration into the ErgoPlus 3 operating system, which allows paver operators receive a constant flow of information on their console display about incoming mix lorries and the current progress of construction – all without a separate display. All the requisite information is hence displayed directly in the paver operator's field of vision. Ergonomically integrated – as you'd expect from VÖGELE.
Versatile and functional – Never complicated
WITOS Paving is as easy to use as it is versatile in functionality. WITOS Paving takes all the complexity out of planning a construction project precisely, optimizing it as the process continues and making it more efficient. What is more, it enables valuable conclusions to be drawn subsequently and the resultant improvements can be channelled into comparable future projects. To make full use of all functions of WITOS Paving, the following participants are actively integrated into the system: the construction manager (before, during and after the construction project), the paving foreman and the paver operator on the job site, as well as the asphalt mixing plant supervisor. The data for the lorry drivers are also recorded by app without the need for their active participation. The paving team can work in the system on a tablet and/or the paver operator's console simultaneously.
Field experience demonstrates that WITOS Paving is easy to learn and boosts efficiency
“Planning has become much simpler since WITOS Paving was introduced," reports Franz Schelle. “There’s no need to enter figures in calculation programs. WITOS Paving thinks and calculates for itself. That saves a huge amount of time.” Even training the team in the use of WITOS Paving had been surprisingly easy: “It took only two or three jobs for us to master the system completely – and that applies to everyone involved in the process.” This thought is echoed by Construction Manager Roman Schruff: “Overall it makes planning, paving and analysis significantly easier, because the system includes and records the relevant data – from the mixing plant and the lorry travel times to the paving temperature. I am highly satisfied with WITOS Paving.”
The right hardware for each participant
The strategic importance of process optimization, efficiency and standardization is well known. WITOS Paving makes it easier to get started. That's because the technology is intuitive. It is used on a variety of terminal devices – with each participant using the one that best suits them. Before the construction work begins, for instance, the construction manager prepares the project on the PC in his office using the WITOS Paving "Control" module. The mixing plant supervisor also uses a PC to run the "Materials" module. The lorries report their precise position to the system via an app on the driver's smartphone ("Transport" module). The information includes the expected arrival time at the job site or the mixing plant – and this is all done automatically. The paving foreman uses the "JobSite" module on a tablet or outdoor PC on site, and/or the paver operator runs it via his ErgoPlus 3 console. After completion, the project is analysed back in the construction manager’s office.
VÖGELE integrate new benefits and improvements
It is not only the construction companies that use WITOS Paving who are constantly learning and optimizing their processes – VÖGELE, too, are continually improving the system. “The feedback from customers is invaluable for us and has already led to new tools,” reports Dr Stephan Weller, Head of Software Products at VÖGELE. WITOS Paving records incoming and queuing mix lorries automatically by geo-fencing, for instance, while the delivery notes are registered by means of QR code and scanner. Once the drivers set off on their return journey, the asphalt mixing plant is informed of their expected time of arrival. Travel times are calculated solely on the basis of professional lorry navigation systems. What is more, WITOS Paving can now be used even without the involvement of the mixing plant. Also new are the possibilities of planning crowns via the system and optimizing the ongoing paving process from the office, while the smart "outstanding quantity calculator" – also available on the job site – is particularly helpful.
Thanks to JobSite Client: WITOS Paving can be used without a mobile phone network
The JobSite Client is a new feature of WITOS Paving which will be of great relevance in practical applications. This offline solution guarantees the continued updating of data on the job site, even if mobile phone coverage is patchy. As a result, VÖGELE's process management solution can also be used offline.
Valuable findings for future construction projects
What exactly is the advantage of analysing job sites? “WITOS Paving gives us a huge pool of data. That enables us to look at a large number of aspects – so that if the mix runs out, for instance, we can see exactly where the problem was,” says Franz Schelle, Managing Director of Schelle. The system thus delivers important findings on the paver's operating efficiency: contractors can now recognize whether the work added value or whether it only incurred costs. But WITOS Paving also indicates the reasons: “Was it the volume of traffic? Was there a bottleneck at the mixing plant? Was something about the planning not quite right? Or about the procedures on the job site? Everything is documented – and this provides a veritable treasure trove of data that can be used to improve efficiency on the next job site. And the one after that. And so on, into the future." The HCQ (Hamm Compaction Quality) data from HAMM rollers, and hence also the compaction process, are now also documented, and these can be additionally analysed and optimized by means of the "Analysis" module. Details like these are precisely what make WITOS Paving such a worthwhile acquisition for contractors. And if any questions arise, users can rely on support from VÖGELE – from a central contact. For as part of the WIRTGEN GROUP, VÖGELE – and hence also WITOS Paving – stands for a strong customer focus.
Source: JOSEPH VÖGELE AG; PREWE