Laser template projection in UPB precast concrete production

Engineering Production | Logistics | Assembly

We would like to share our views on the laser template projection systems integration in our productions workflow, particularly in precast concrete elements production. The BPM diagram (Figure 1) describes the precast concrete element’s lifecycle from the drawing in 3D modeling software till the production in a factory. Our goal is a fully integrated system, where all information is shared among all stakeholders in this lifecycle. ALTO 4.0 ERP acts as the enterprise service bus for all information exchange and is designed to have interoperability properties.

In the next sections each swimlane is described in more detail to give an impression of actions that constitute the precast concrete element’s lifecycle and the relevant information to be shared.

Figure 1 Overall processBlue BPM processes represents already existing functionality, red BPM processes represents missing functionality to complete fully automated life cycle.

Tekla Structures

Tekla Structures is a 3D building information modeling (BIM) software used in the building and construction industries for steel and concrete detailing, precast and cast in-situ. The software (Figure 2) enables users to create and manage 3D structural models in concrete or steel, and guides them through the process from concept to fabrication.

UPB engineer creates a 3D model of a structure, detailing each element with its embedded subassemblies (Figure 3), such as rebars, lifting anchors and other incast details. At this moment the ALTO 4.0 custom made Tekla Open API application will automatically create a drawing of every element`s several layers. Each layer represents different task (production process) in precast element’s production process, i.e. layer for geometry (Figure 4) or incast details (Figure 5). All information about elements is syncronized with ALTO 4.0 ERP. Every Tekla Structures client application has its own custom made Tekla Open API plugin that provides the ability to communicate with thee external systems, i.e. ALTO 4.0 ERP.



ALTO 4.0 ERP is a custom made web-based ERP system that fully implements all functionality for enterprise with building construction and material production characteristics. It is a highly modular system and the interoperability is the key factor. To provide full service from 3D modeling to building construction the ALTO 4.0 ERP has to be a versatile system in order to have such a wide area of functionality. At the moment ALTO 4.0 ERP has several major modules: production planning (steel, precast concrete, glass construction, cogeneration stations, etc.), sales & CRM, construction project management, procurement module, quality management, logistics module, real-time task tracking & analysis.

ALTO 4.0 ERP generates precast concrete factory’s production schedule based on construction dates given in the construction project management module (Figure 6).

Figure 6 Construction planning screen

While ALTO 4.0 ERP generates the production schedule it uses the pallet optimization algorithm in order to get the most efficient usage of each pallet (Figure 7).

Figure 7 ALTO 4.0 ERP pallet optimization

With such algorithm the pallet usage was increased from 60% to 80-85%, compared to previously used planning techniques. As an implicit influence the optimization algorithm could relieve the pressure on logistics and construction planning.

At this point the system knows what elements will be produced on shared pallet. Since each pallet has its own laser projection system that cannot project several templates at a time, we have to combine the drawings in order to be able to give a valid source for the laser template system. When the drawings are combined they are synchronized with the laser template projection system.

Precast concrete factory

UPB factories use barcode scanning for production process registration. Before and after each production process (i.e. build elements geometry of plywood) worker scans a specific barcode that represents particular process and element’s unique identifier. Therefore, ALTO 4.0 ERP has real-time information on actual production in factory. In order to implement the template projection, the laser template projection system has to be able to recognize particular element and production process at the moment when the task begins and it has been scanned. When the laser template projection system recognizes the element it is able to find the particular drawing for the project on the pallet and with the help of production process identifier it can show the necessary layer of the drawing.

Laser template projection system

Each precast pallet has its own laser projector which can display true to scale outlines, templates and shapes. The projector is controlled by the laser projector manufacturer’s software. The main challenge is to ensure communication channel between ALTO 4.0 ERP and laser projector’s software in order to display the template at the exact time it is needed.

In a fully integrated and automated system no additional manual task should be needed by any worker in the projector’s software.

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