How LNS Improved Surveyor Efficiency by up to 15% on Tunnel and Mining Projects

June 19, 2024

Background: Inefficient Digital Workflow to Support Tunnel Excavation

In the intersection of construction and mining, LNS has built a reputation for excellence: they take on the most complex projects in very harsh conditions like Antarctica and the Farao Islands, but also for their best practices in digital tooling. LNS performs model-based construction, integrating point clouds from laser scans, machine/drilling data, and much more.

Despite their success, LNS was struggling with an inefficient workflow when comparing tunnel excavation (from point cloud laser scans) with the theoretical 3D model before preparing the next round of drilling and blasting. Surveyors were a limiting project resource, driven by a lack of digital adoption and self-service use of 3D among tunnel workers.

“LNS’s clients have high requirements on documentation with laser scans requiring density down to 1x1cm up to several times per day. Apart from specialist software, only Novorender can efficiently handle the resulting hundreds of gigabytes of point cloud data from these scans and make it easily available for everyone.”

Dirk Niemann, Head of Geomatics, LNS

Solution: Novorender’s Digital Workflow for Deviations in Tunnel Excavation

Previously, the surveyor would need to manually load hundreds of gigabytes of laser scan data into their terrain software, compare blasted rock with the theoretical model, and output deviations in cross-section to 2D/PDF before planning the next steps in the excavation with the tunnel workers.

With Novorender’s BIM viewer, this whole workflow was greatly simplified: laser scans and machine control data (theory and log) were automatically uploaded and overlaid on the theoretical model. Cross-sections with deviations and clash detection were dynamically fetched and visualized from the model. Novorender’s 3D visualization of precise deviation data eliminated guesswork, allowing faster decisions with improved geometric control.

Since Novorender runs directly in the browser on any device, tunnel workers were also able to interact with the model and deviations directly, greatly reducing the dependency on the surveyor during excavation. By integrating Novorender with PowerBI, LNS has further reduced the barrier (number of clicks) to adopt deviation data.

“Including the tunnel workers directly in Novorender was key. It empowered them to see for themselves how much over or underbreak the last tunnel blast had, helping them better plan the next round of drilling. In other words, a greater number of our resources can leverage their experience and expertise when they self-service in Novorender and remove the dependency on specialists to facilitate 3D visualization.”

Dirk Niemann, Head of Geomatics, LNS

Results: LNS Improved Surveyor Efficiency by up to 15%

  • By adopting Novorender, LNS has been able to improve the efficiency of lead surveyors by 15% and surveyors by up to 1 hour per day.
  • LNS has tested/adopted Novorender on 12 projects and employs 2 lead surveyors (working in shifts) and 6 surveyors on average per project.
  • This efficiency improvement from Novorender means LNS could save up to 1,500 hours per project per year.
  • Going forward, LNS will use Novorender to support the digital workflow of all new excavation projects.

“Novorender not only makes our surveyors more efficient: with our improved workflow and better use of laser scan data while tunneling, we’re targeting to excavate less rock, requiring less shotcrete and thereby reducing waste and construction costs.”

Dirk Niemann, Head of Geomatics, LNS

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Rafael Hegre Cabeza

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