Our Managing Editor Mr. Narendra Shah held a conversation with Mr. Steve Cockerell and Mr, Dan Vogen, both of whom are associated with Bentley Systems.
Mr. Cockerell is industry marketing director of rail and transit at Bentley Systems while Mr. Vogen is vice president of road and rail asset management at Bentley Systems.
Here are some edited excerpts from the Interview:-
Narendra Shah – Bentley Systems is a very fast-growing company with a worldwide presence. How do you feel today after contributing more than two decades to the organisation?
Steve Cockerell – I am excited, I am proud, ready for a good few more years, and stand ready to help our users realize the full potential of digital twins in rail.
Dan Vogen – I am really excited and proud of what we have accomplished. And, I am looking forward to the future. With the power of digital twins, we have more capabilities, meaning we can do things now that we could only dream of doing only a few years ago. Given the funding constraints that our users are constantly facing, I am confident that our software capabilities will help them achieve high-quality project delivery on time and under budget.
Narendra Shah – What is Bentley doing to help project owners and other stakeholders during the pandemic, especially to combat various project challenges?
Dan Vogen – Early in the pandemic we initiated a campaign called ‘Bentley Has Your Back’, and as part of this we have done a lot to make our software accessible to anyone, anywhere, and in the case of our cloud-based collaboration offering ProjectWise 365, have even waived subscription fees for a period of time. In this way, we are helping organisations to remain productive throughout the pandemic. We have worked hard to further increase our support levels, and increase the accessibility of our teams working with those users on project implementations, licensing, and deployment timeframes. We really have tried to be very flexible throughout the whole process.
Steve Cockerell – In addition to the ProjectWise 365 offering that Dan mentions, we also introduced a similar option in relation to pedestrian simulation in stations. Whereas ProjectWise 365 is really aimed at helping organisations to carry on doing what they need to do on projects, OpenBuildings Station Designer, which includes LEGION Model Builder and its pedestrian simulation capabilities, targets helping rail and transit owners return their networks, and in particular their stations, safely back into operation.
There are of course other examples, including here in the UK, with Network Rail’s innovation throughout the lockdown we experienced in the first part of 2020. They used a combination of applications including ContextCapture, MicroStation, and OpenRail Designer, to pull together data from multiple sources and in the space of only a few days, create digital twins of Exeter and London’s Paddington stations. This really did help to ensure their work of delivering a safe and reliable railway could continue without interruption. With the help of our technology, they remained agile enough to deliver services above and beyond what was required and expected by their client and stakeholders.
Narendra Shah – The station redevelopment plan of Indian Railways is gaining rapidly. How can Bentley solutions help in this project?
Steve Cockerell – This is a really interesting question as it is not just in India that we are seeing either the expansion or redevelopment of stations, in line with – if we put COVID-19 to one side for a moment – the growing demand for rail and transit. I would like to answer the question in two parts if I may.
Firstly, in the middle of 2019 Bentley announced the general availability of OpenBuildings Station Designer, which provides our users with a multidiscipline application for the design, analysis, simulation, and visualization of rail, metro, or other transit stations. We developed the application to help owner-operators and their supply chains streamline the design and necessary collaboration between the different disciplines involved – particularly architects and engineers – when delivering new and/or upgraded stations and related facilities.
A key element of the OpenBuildings Station Designer release was the inclusion of LEGION Model Builder’s industry-leading pedestrian movement modeling and simulation capabilities, which Bentley acquired in October 2018. I’d urge your readers to take a closer look at this application, which has all the capabilities of OpenBuildings Designer, plus a station-specific work set that includes functional space definitions, design components such as furniture, fixtures, and equipment, and several computational design templates.
The combination of BIM advancements OpenBuildings Station Designer delivers are, in my opinion, unrivalled in the industry. No other single solution offers a design environment capable of modeling the simplest to the most complex of stations, together with the ability to analyze their real-world performance in terms of pedestrian movement, annual energy consumption, carbon emissions, and fuel costs. The capabilities it provides means owner-operators can ensure their stations are fit for purpose not just on day one, but throughout their operational life.
Part two of my answer relates to how other open and integrated applications in Bentley’s portfolio support the redevelopment of stations in the wider context. To highlight this I would like to draw your attention to an incredible project currently under construction in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Jakarta is expected to become the world’s largest city by 2030, and its Manggarai Station will replace Gambir Station as the terminus for long-distance trains serving the city in late 2021. In a joint venture with PT. Pijar Utama, PT. WASKITA Karya (Persero) Tbk was appointed as a contractor for phase II of the railway facility from Manggarai to Jatinegara. WASKITA’s work on the project includes constructing a new bridge connecting the second floor of the station’s main building with the existing mainline at grade, together with new track panels above and below the bridge, as part of its revitalization.
WASKITA faced many challenges on the project. In addition to construction, their client required them to take on the design review of the existing contract drawings due to discrepancies with current standards and existing conditions.
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As a result of the high amount of train traffic in Manggarai Station, the team also faced constraints on the method of construction they could use, meaning they ran the risk of incurring additional time on their contract.
The project’s success hinged on three main objectives: quality compliance, cost, and time efficiency. So, to ensure every decision made throughout the 720-day contract period was both timely and accurate, WASKITA decided to adopt BIM workflows and a digital twins approach using Bentley technology. WASKITA combined design information for track, civils, bridges, and structures, with a 3D reality mesh of the existing ground, in a BIM coordination model that helped team members and other stakeholders on the project make better, more informed decisions. Their BIM coordination model also allows them to clearly visualize different alternatives in terms of project scope and cost, and is proving to be a critical part of their ongoing work and negotiations with the client for project amendments.
The team’s use of Bentley’s OpenBridge Designer, OpenRail Designer, and ContextCapture for clash detection and resolution has meant that WASKITA has avoided issues that might not have been discovered until construction commenced. As a result of identifying potential problems earlier, WASKITA avoided additional time and cost overheads of approximately 0.3% per month. WASKITA’s use of geometry control functionality in OpenBridge Designer has also helped mitigate risks and avoided any unnecessary cost and delays associated with incorrectly cast bridge spans.
Finally, in response to demands for more clarity on construction sequences, WASKITA’s use of SYNCHRO has helped shorten the construction schedule by optimizing the resources available. Adoption of this digital workflow enabled right-first-time construction, as well as provided valuable insight for WASKITA and other stakeholders on the project.
Narendra Shah – Can you share some of the latest solutions for rail offered by Bentley? Can you share some of the rail or metro projects in India that are using OpenRail solutions?
Steve Cockerell – For me two submissions in our Year in Infrastructure Awards this year standout as examples of how our rail solution is delivering different and improved outcomes on rail and metro projects in India.
The first is Sarvada Engineering and Project Management Private Limited (SEPM) and the work it is doing on the Ahmedabad – Rajkot Semi High Speed Rail Project. The elevated, 200-kilometer-per-hour railway will connect Gujarat’s economic capital of Ahmedabad with one of its quickest growing cities, Rajkot, reducing transportation time by two-and-half hours.
SEPM was hired to deliver multiple design alternatives and price approximations, and produce cinematic quality videos of the project to expedite government approval. In particular, SEPM used OpenRail ConceptStation and OpenRail Designer to help them understand the terrain and structures along the proposed route, produce alignment alternatives and 3D models, saving them time and increasing accuracy.
The second is LKT Engineering Consultants work for Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) who wanted to build a walkway interchange connecting the Green and Pink lines of the capital territory’s metro system. To fix this connectivity issue, DMRC proposed adding platforms next to the Green Line for boarding and disembarking and attaching a 230-meter pedestrian footbridge to the Pink Line’s Punjabi Bagh West station, and engaged LKT Engineering Consultants to design this unique interchange facility.
LKT Engineering decided Bentley’s BIM solution offered the speed and flexibility it needed during design to produce alternative scenarios. In this project they used a combination of OpenBridge Designer (formerly RM Bridge) and STAAD, to generate 3D models, drawings, and simulations, saving significant time by creating and comparing multiple design options of the footbridge and viaduct platform next to the Green Line. Of note to me was the fact that LKT used the software to improve the structural arrangement, lowering costs and shortening the construction schedule.
Dan Vogen – My focus is in the operation and maintenance of road and rail. And, here, the focus is on big data engineering. There have been large advancements in how we understand track geometry changes and their implications. Typically, owner-operators make three to four data collections every year. Now, we have users that collect data every month, every week, and they are moving toward a daily update. The increasing frequency of data updates allows us to provide much better insight into what is happening on the user’s system.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning helps our users make real-time decisions through data analytics. We are working with data sciences, both textual and visual, that might help, for example, in a larger processing scenario, to bring enhancements in the field of transportation. We had a number of fairly large users deploying these kinds of solutions in the past, and we are working to make them accessible to small and midsized owner-operators. One of the finalists in the Year in Infrastructure Awards, which we mentioned in our press briefing, was SMRT of Singapore. They have made great advancements in the reliability of their network with the help of our analytics solutions.
Narendra Shah – The RRTS and bullet train are the two major projects the Indian government is focusing on today. Is there any plan for Bentley to participate in these projects? How can your existing products help engineers when it comes to the development and construction of the bullet train project?
Steve Cockerell – I hope my answers to other questions have demonstrated our ability, through a range of open and integrated applications in our OpenRail solution, to help the organisations who will be engaged on these and other projects across the country. A major advantage of our OpenRail solution is that it covers everything from concept through completion and onwards to operations and maintenance of the railway.
Dan Vogen – We hope to participate in everything like that. We want to be the software solution that engineering design and construction firms use for their ongoing analytics. Whether contracting directly with the owner, or through a third-party operator that is involved in the project as a consultant to the owner, we can offer them the software they require for that part of the lifecycle.
Narendra Shah – Bentley offers a product called OpenRail Designer. What are its key features? How can it help in the development of metro networks and semi-high-speed rail corridors?
Steve Cockerell – OpenRail Designer is a comprehensive modeling environment for streamlined project delivery of rail assets for all types of rail networks. It is suitable for everything from rapid transit, through metros, to standard commuter lines, freight, and high-speed rail.
The application unifies the disciplines and phases involved in the design, construction, commissioning, and completion of assets within the railway corridor including track, civils, drainage, and underground utilities, overhead line, bridges, and related infrastructure.
Largely recognised as the industry standard for track design to different international and sector specific design standards, OpenRail Designer delivers the high performance, immersive, 3D modeling environment that engineers and designers need today to plan, design, and enable right-first-time construction of new and upgraded railways.
Narendra Shah – You already have the technology for the design of overhead lines. What are the key features of this? Is there any possibility of bringing any system for designing the third rail system as it gains popularity?
Steve Cockerell – OpenRail Overhead Line Designer is, in fact, a new Bentley offering developed jointly with Siemens Mobility. The combination of our OpenRail Designer technology with Siemens Sicat Master functionality solves a key challenge faced by engineers and designers – namely, ensuring that both disciplines can efficiently and effectively share the data they need.
With OpenRail Overhead Line Designer, the local standards and geometry of the underlying track can be used directly in the same modeling environment to make span calculations, locate foundation locations, and calculate height and stagger values for wire runs.
The software’s parametric design capabilities enable OLE engineers to model cantilever sets, masts, portals, and wires, as well as produce schematics and 3D models of all assets within the rail corridor. Advancing traditional 2D plan-based workflows to this 3D world of digital workflows not only reduces the time and effort needed to create the required construction deliverables, it further enables downstream activities like signal sighting, stakeholder engagement, project approvals, and driver route learning.
Whether you are building brand new electrification projects or upgrading your existing networks, as we move toward a time in which digital twins in rail are commonplace, these types of digital workflows will be relied upon not just in project delivery, but through handover/handback of assets, and onwards in the operational life of railways to increase the reliability and performance of critical network assets.
Narendra Shah – What is the main rail-segment business that you intend to focus on in the next decade? Where do you see Bentley’s rail business in India going?
Dan Vogen – We have shown the breadth of our solutions that we can now offer. We want to work in design, simulation, construction, and operations. We have to focus on the safe design of metro and rail station with a focus on social distancing. Bentley and its innovative software applications will play an important role in building our urban transport system infrastructure.
Narendra Shah – How does Bentley’s solutions in rail asset management help owner-operators improve collaboration and project delivery? Can you share some examples?
Steve Cockerell – Rail and transit owner-operators need to manage data and information from multiple sources, often in many formats, and be able to combine it in a way that is easy to understand, visualize, and analyze. Then, with the insight gained from that information, make faster and more informed decisions.
Bentley’s AssetWise Digital Twin Services does just that, providing the immersive visibility and analytical capabilities needed to ensure timely decisions about where, when, and how they should target maintenance activities to ensure the safe, reliable, and compliant operation of their networks.
A great example of an organization benefiting from the use of AssetWise Digital Twin Services is SMRT Trains Limited in Singapore, a finalist in our Year in Infrastructure Awards for road and rail asset performance this year.
To meet its 1 million-kilometers-between-failures (MKBF) target – the equivalent of travelling over the entire network more than 7,000 times between five-minute delays – SMRT has initiated numerous initiatives including the deployment of what it calls its Predictive Decision Support System (PDSS) based on Bentley’s AssetWise Digital Twin Services Linear Analytics capabilities.
PDSS supports SMRT’s engineers by bringing together all relevant data, analyzing it to find the optimal decision, and presenting it to the user intuitively. Simply put, AssetWise Digital Twin Services is enabling SMRT to find features in their data relating to track conditions, pinpointing where they need to act, and determining what maintenance activity is needed. Through PDSS and other SMRT reliability initiatives, this summer saw SMRT raise its MKBF figure beyond the 1 million target to reach 1.6 million MKBF, a huge increase in the reliability of their network.
Clearly, SMRT, and many other large owner-operators, are benefitting substantially from the power of AssetWise Digital Twin Services Linear Analytics. Historically though, a key challenge with the deployment of a system of this type has been the time and cost involved, due to the extensive involvement of subject matter experts, and a significant amount of configuration required.
Since we believe this type of analytics capability can benefit owner-operators with systems of all sizes and complexity, we recently announced the introduction of a pre-configured, rapidly deployable, out-of-the-box solution for linear analytics. The solution means that in a very short amount of time, any organization, including smaller metros, light rail and mass transit systems, will be able to get up to speed and recognize many of the benefits that, to date, have only been within reach of Bentley’s larger rail and transit owners.