For this project, Crossrail teamed up with Bentley Systems. Bentley’s charter was to facilitate collaboration by bringing all the data into one environment, so information is continuously available to all of the contractors where and when they need it – on time and on budget.
Crossrail had already been utilizing Bentley’s modeling software to design in a virtual environment along with their project information and collaboration software and Bentley’s asset management software in a Common Data Environment (CDE), but as the data grew they decided to extend their solution to a hybrid model powered by Microsoft Azure.
By using a hybrid model with Azure, Crossrail can work with their entire supply chain, using digital technologies to manage and join up the data that underpins the design, construction and operation activities of an asset across its lifecycle from conception to decommissioning. It provides a single location for storing, sharing, and managing information. This creates a “virtual railroad” where the existing infrastructure and future infrastructure could be viewed simultaneously.
Alan Kiraly, Senior Vice President of Asset Performance at Bentley, explained: “People have used 3D models to design stuff for twenty years. But we are making a comprehensive virtual world that depicts the terrain, the tunnel and all of the associated data.”
According to Kiraly, Bentley uses the entire Azure stack for extending their solution to the cloud. When the project is finished, Bentley’s virtual model will be used to manage ongoing operations, enabling maintenance crews to assess repairs without shutting down the subway. By using Azure, Bentley is able to streamline the construction of the tunnel and have a resource for future teams to extend or maintain the tunnel. “Now that we have the solution in the Azure environment, we’re closer to the data. We’re able to react a lot faster to issues and make changes,” Kiraly said.
Headquartered in Pennsylvania, Bentley Systems is a global leader in providing architects, engineers, geospatial professionals, constructors, and owner-operators with comprehensive software solutions for advancing the design, construction, and operations of infrastructure.