BIM to field equation
Trimble discusses its Total Robotic Stations
BIM to field equation
Transferring accurate digital data to the construction site
Trimble MEP continues to support a growing number of MEP contractors who are making the transition from using traditional processes for quality control of construction work to BIM to field technology.
The company’s Robotic Total Stations (RTS) allows office and on-site teams to seamlessly share accurate BIM-rich data with each other in order to ensure the correct layout of MEP systems, explains Trimble MEP’s business development manager Christopher Quirk.
“We are purely MEP,” he says. “That’s what our knowledge is, that’s who are trainers are. Everything we do is with the MEP industry in mind.”
With the RTS an engineer can import model data to a hand-held tablet device in the field. That data is then relayed to the RTS which provides accurate setting out from the information model using its laser measuring system to a tolerance of 2mm.
“Everything that you do on site it will record it and it will check it against your BIM model so you have got constant as-built information,” Quirk explains.
With projects worth $2 trillion in the pipeline in the GCC, according to Deloitte, it is little wonder Trimble MEP expects demand for the RTS – already widely adopted in the United States – to grow in the Middle East.
Quirk points out that the unique selling point of the RTS is its patented software.
“This is our software which we’ve developed for setting out. You don’t need to be a surveyor to use it. You don’t need surveying coordinates to be able to use the robot,” Quirk says. “If you work in Revit you can create your points, you export to the tablet. It does that for you. There’s no file conversions, when you want those points to come back in there’s an import button and it comes back in.
“The value added is that it improves your workflow. You’ve got this constant flow of information that’s coming back and forth from the site to the office.”
Inside the robot
The technology powering Trimble MEP’s Robotic Total Stations
Active prism: Trimble has patented technology to ensure a consistent connection between the robot and the prism. Without this technology the robot can become ‘distracted’ by other reflective surfaces such as high visibility jackets. This can be operated on up to eight channels allowing multiple trades to ‘set out’ at once.
Radio connection: Trimble’s RTS range connects the equipment using radio frequencies. This ensures connection, but also speed, range and quality of connection. Competitive products use wifi and technology which is not as reliable and has a much higher risk of being interrupted by other signals and ultimately losing connection. This could be another robot using wifi, or even a phone or internet signal.
Direct Reflex and Visual Layout: Trimble MEP provides patented technology to work out any difference between the 3D model Z elevation and the ‘real world’ site Z elevation. The Trimble RTS will identify these discrepancies and make the required correction.
Green Laser: Upon finding the accurate point (after any corrections) the Trimble RTS 873 unit offers patented technology to project a high powered green laser providing better accuracy and visibility on site. Tools that only include a red laser will reduce accuracy, as the laser splashes/spreads across the distance.
Trimble Tablet: It is a Windows operated ruggedised device with gorilla glass, water and dust proof, touch screen, 12 hours battery life, 2.4GHZ Radio and wifi capability. This includes Trimble Field Link MEP, which is the dedicated workflow specifically for MEP contractors.
Embedded software: Trimble’s ruggedised and waterproof tablet carries its own embedded software licences to the user. This ensures no corruption and no requirement to go back to a ‘cloud server’ for licensing.
Trimble Connect: Free of charge model viewer available online, which also enables the user to push models to the field without a requirement for USB sticks and sending files.
Offsetting points on site: Trimble allows the engineer to create points on the fly from the model on the tablet without the requirement for the coordinates. One example of this is offsetting points, which will then be amended and uploaded to the model.
Dedicated to MEP: Trimble has products, sales, training and support dedicated to MEP. This ensures its team understand the specific requirements for MEP and have a wealth of experience to offer support on projects. Trimble MEP equipment is developed, designed and created for the MEP workflow. This is not a surveying tool that is being pushed into a secondary industry. Trimble MEP employs more than 700 dedicated professionals.