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Best Use of Technology: Winner

Winner: Converge – Real-time Concrete Monitoring

The exceptional efficiency benefits of Converge’s concrete pour sensor innovation made it the outstanding candidate for this year’s Best Use of Technology award.

Converge identified inefficiency as one of the major challenges facing the industry.

While other areas of the economy have embraced new technologies and reaped benefits in terms of efficiency, the construction industry continues to have an unwanted reputation for being technology-averse, Converge argues.

With this in mind, the construction technology firm designed a sensor that is embedded into concrete pours and provides real-time automated data on the process.

The sensor sends this data to site teams via text alert and email. This enables construction sites to replace manual monitoring and testing of concrete, notifying project managers the moment concrete reaches the desired strength.

The collected data can subsequently help to improve a variety of other onsite processes.

For example, a company’s head office can monitor a number of different sites at the same time, while site teams can work out when is the most suitable time to switch from winter to summer concrete mixes. This avoids the need to wait on lab results or for workers to tend to the concrete in person, Converge adds.

The company says the strength data provided by its sensors is more accurate than conventional cube-crushing methods because strength is measured from the in-situ concrete, in contrast to sample cubes that are held in a different environment.

Judges cited two significant benefits of Converge’s product for the industry. Firstly, the use of real-time strength data can produce substantial time savings on projects, improving efficiency and avoiding disputes and penalties for late delivery. By providing more accurate data, the company’s sensors reduce the risk of structural failures further into the project programme or the asset’s lifecycle.

“The potential of Converge’s innovation is absolutely remarkable and will stand the test of time”

Judges’ comment

Secondly, as a technology start-up working in the industry, Converge aims to support the sector’s transition to digital construction. Through the success of its new technology, the company is working to help overcome the industry’s technology-averse attitude.

The judges acknowledged that construction needed input from outside the sector: “This is what the industry needs,” one remarked.

The panel felt that Converge stood out in this year’s Best Use of Technology category, despite stiff competition across the nine-strong shortlist.

Converge’s product had huge potential to revolutionise the industry, the judges said, adding that Converge may not yet even fully appreciate the value of its innovation – particularly with regards to wider application outside of the industry.

“The potential is remarkable and will stand the test of time,” the judges concluded.

Highly commended: Nomenca – Offsite Build, Skilled Assembly in a Factory Environment SAFE

The judges singled out Nomenca’s “hugely impressive” work in offsite systems over the past 12 months as worthy of a high commendation.

The company’s investment in these solutions within a factory environment has demonstrably improved safety, reduced costs and lowered its environmental impact.

Nomenca’s efforts have removed 400,000 worker-hours from site-based activities, while simultaneously saving a combined 10 months on project programmes.

Judges commended the company’s innovative use of methods such as 3D laser-scanning and praised its overall strategy for “achieving significant savings in a short amount of time”. 

Finalists

  • Bam Construct UK – Bam’s Future Office
  • Glider Technology – GliderBIM implementation for One New Street Square
  • Lucas – Lucas’ Use of Technology
  • Midland Metro Alliance – The Midland Metro Alliance Geographical Information System
  • Pilon – Pilon Customer Portal
  • Ramboll – Dynamic Masterplanning
  • Willmott Dixon – mi: Digital Products

 

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