Obayashi Corporation (株式会社大林組) has successfully introduced DataMesh Director, a DataMesh digital twin platform service, to empower frontline personnel with BIM data combined with mixed reality technology to improve construction processes’ efficiency on its construction sites. Behind the scene, this is a collaboration result between DataMesh Corporation and TIS Corporation. Obayashi Corporation is one of the top five general construction companies in Japan, ranking first in total assets and revenue.
Due to the population aging and low fertility rate, the number of employees in Japan’s construction industry is decreasing. A large number of employees will likely leave the industry in the future. The construction industry’s unique characteristics lead to longer working hours than other sectors, and employees often work on weekends. To ensure the continued participation of young workers, the most critical issue in the construction industry is how to improve work efficiency and solve the problem of long working hours.
For this reason, Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism has proposed the i-Construction Policy, which calls for flexible use of ICT technology and BIM/CIM resources, and plans to increase labor productivity by 20% by 2025.
The project led by TIS and DataMesh provides DataMesh Director, a platform for rapidly building 3D construction process, successfully landed the practical application of BIM/CIM model combined with MR technology to improve work efficiency.
Construction Efficiency Improvement
With the gradual increase of city operation management requirements, the city needs to carry out real-time construction since the operation process. The construction contractors’ time slot will be allocated within a few hours after the subway stops running at night. The construction time is extremely tight. If problems arise, existing jobs need to be reworked in time. Otherwise, huge losses may occur.
In previous construction experience, a great deal of time was spent between the commissioner and the contractor’s staff to strictly confirm the construction details to ensure the correct construction process.
In this project, the staff of the Obayashi Corporation imported BIM data by using DataMesh Director. He quickly created the construction process construction in 3D motion. He then used the Mixed Reality hardware devices such as Microsoft HoloLens 2 and iPad to accurately map the construction process to the complex construction site through DataMesh One with spatial positioning. The overall construction process is confirmed.
Jessica Miao, Mixed Reality Asia Pacific Lead at Microsoft, said, “Microsoft highly appreciates this collaboration between the Obayashi group, TIS, and DataMesh in construction projects. In the face of the social problem of decreasing workforce, DataMesh Director realized the combination of MR products and BIM data based on Microsoft HoloLens 2 Mixed Reality headset for hands-on guidance of frontline personnel. This will also become a real-time construction and data sharing method in the field of smart cities. We hope that with this pilot, we can form a typical application effect of smart cities globally and further improve the construction of smart cities and the productivity of the construction industry.“
This deployment is divided into two projects as follows.
Railway Bridge Construction Project – Yokohama Loop South Line between Totsuka and Ofuna on the Tokaido Main Line
In the railway bridge construction project, the nine lines operating in real-time around the construction needed to be temporarily blocked after construction. The construction crew had to complete the bridge’s mainframe within 100 minutes to ensure that it would not cause massive traffic disruption.
Obayashi Corporation staff imported BIM data to customize the construction process through the digital twin platform DataMesh Director. He quickly designed the process through zero-code tools, with HoloLens 2/iPad/iPhone to present the engineering materials and construction steps combined with spatial positioning. The engineers onsite can now quickly discover the problems and risks in construction and significantly improve the construction project’s efficiency.
Station Hall Expansion Project – Musashi Kosugi Station on the Yokosuka Line
In the station concourse expansion project, the inclined beams used for reinforcement during construction were exposed in the temporary passageways for passengers, and the impact on moving passengers had to be considered when the project was planned.
The operations staff of the Ohayashi Corporation imported BIM data through DataMesh Director, created the expansion process. Onsite construction workers brought HoloLens 2/iPad to quickly understand the construction process and scale of the project through Mixed Reality, matched the site environment to observe possible construction problems, and strictly controlled the risks that might be caused to the passing passengers during the actual construction.
This project was highly recognized by the Obayashi Corporation as follows.
“The inclined beam ground reinforcement was to be carried out in a very narrow temporary passage for passengers, and the planning of this construction by MR technology was effective in allowing the commissioning party and the staff involved in the construction to understand the construction process and other aspects better.” Keita Koshida, director of the Musashi Kosugi Station Public Works Office, said. “The steel assembly process is presented in MR, allowing even unskilled workers to understand the sequence of real-time construction well, which can solve the problem of lack of human resources to some extent. the application of MR provides a new means of visualization for the construction site, which is very effective in improving site safety. “
“By visually presenting the process of assembling the main girders of the bridge, it facilitates understanding the construction engineering plan and the in-depth planning of future construction plans, thus better illustrating the frontline site situation to the commissioning party. MR technology will play an important role in expressing the project planning, confirming the situation of construction impact on existing and temporary buildings, construction conditions and changes in the surrounding environment after construction.” Yoichi Nishikori, the chief engineer of Yokohama Kanjo Minami Bridge Works Office, said, “When the technology is further developed, MR will also be able to be used for more detailed work, such as site verification and construction release. Making effective use of ICT technology and BIM/CIM can make the business of actual construction more efficient.“
For his part, Takafumi Yamanaka, director of the apex technology planning department at the Oyashi Group Production Technology Headquarters, said, “Before that, we had no available tool for visualizing MR construction processes in construction, and now DataMesh Director enables this function. It is a milestone that DataMesh Director can be used by people who are not professionals and who can create content with it from scratch. There are many situations where DataMesh Director can be used on construction sites, and we will continue to communicate with TIS and DataMesh with each other to make DataMesh Director a tool that can be used by everyone on various construction sites.“
DataMesh Director is a self-developed digital twin content creation and collaboration platform based on the concept of “XR content tools for everyone”.
During modern city construction, the actual construction process varies in different construction plans. The number of construction workers is highly mobile and irregular, so there is a demand for a communication method to better integrate with the construction plan.
- Combine BIM/CIM resources with the construction site to effectively utilize the virtual reality
In traditional construction sites, detailed process guidance or location confirmation is usually only available in plan drawings. By directly importing existing BIM/CIM resources to DataMesh Director, the construction process can be precisely combined with the real space through mixed reality devices supporting spatial positioning and output as a three-dimensional process in front of frontline personnel. It can effectively ensure that site personnel have a more accurate understanding of the complex site environment and project progress and prevent construction risks. The combination of virtual and real presentation also allows novices to understand the business process quickly and effectively improve construction efficiency.
- Zero technical thresholds; everyone can easily create and present 3D MR content
By importing BIM/CIM resources, business personnel can use DataMesh Director to quickly edit the construction process into 3D scripts that can be mapped in real space through the operation similar to editing PPT, with low learning cost. It can be published to multiple ends with one click for remote multi-person collaboration. The content production method is simple and can be modified and reused at any time.
- Support HoloLens 2, iPhone/iPad, generic XR glasses and mobile devices
DataMesh Director supports various content presentation devices, freeing the hands of frontline personnel. From HoloLens 2 and other mixed reality headsets to mobile devices, DataMesh Director supports real-time instructions sharing and cross-device collaboration, efficiently improving construction sites’ communication.
Strategic Cooperation Parties
DataMesh (https://www.datamesh.com) is a high-tech startup that uses MR+AI to create a digital twin platform. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, DataMesh is serving customers across China, Japan, Southeast Asia, and North America. DataMesh is committed to unlocking the value of enterprise data, building bridges and platforms that connect the virtual and real worlds, and improving frontline employees’ efficiency in industries such as manufacturing, energy, construction, and professional services.
TIS (http://www.tis.co.jp) provides service-oriented IT solutions such as data centers and clouds, in addition to system integration and development support. We have also formed a global support system centered on the China-ASEAN region, contributing to our customers’ business growth as a partner of more than 3,000 companies in a wide range of industries, including finance, manufacturing, distribution/service, public, and communications.