Shell Chemicals Project in Pennsylvania Wins Special Recognition Award

Shell Chemicals Project in Pennsylvania Wins Special Recognition Award for Continuous Surveying in Constructioneering

Jim Yanosick of Eye-bot Aerial Solutions gave a 20-minute presentation during SPAR 3D 2019 in May titled “Maximize the Use of Drones by Creating a Visual Single Source of Truth Using Reality Modeling” during the Industrial Facilities: 3D Technologies Applied session. During Jim’s presentation he discussed how to overcome challenges to produce accurate, high resolution digital twins, in the form of high-fidelity 3D reality meshes. Progressively captured 3D reality models create a single source of truth on a geo-located model, greatly reducing the need for on-site visits. 3D reality models also allow any user with granted access to visualize the state and position of the project or asset including the ability to measure height, length, area and volume with the touch of a button.

Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC and Eye-bot Aerial Solutions were recognized by Bentley Systems with the Special Recognition Award for Continuous Surveying in Constructioneering at Bentley’s Year in Infrastructure Conference, held in London last year.

Panoramic View of Construction Site Courtesy of Bentley Systems

Shell Chemical Appalachia is constructing a multi-billion dollar, world-scale ethane cracking plant to create polyethylene in the western Pennsylvania region. To help monitor and manage construction of the facility, the organization used unmanned aerial vehicles to capture real-time, accurate data of the entire site and the surrounding areas, close to 450 acres total, and processed the data into a high-resolution orthophoto and 3D reality mesh model. The 3D data provided a strategic perspective of the existing site conditions and served as a single source of truth for both future and retrospective progress analysis, optimizing collaboration and decision making between the client and the EPC contractors, with over 500 multidiscipline end users across 10 companies.

3D Reality Mesh Generated from 8,000 drone photos taken weekly to track construction

On a weekly basis, the project team captured more than 8,000 images and processed the images as 2D and 3D deliverables within the required 72-hour window using Bentley’s ContextCapture software. The high-speed processing engines of ContextCapture produced a dimensionally accurate 3D reality mesh, enabling the identification and resolution of potential construction problems before they impact operations on site. The 3D reality mesh models are expected to facilitate inventory control and improve emergency response management.

Phil Christensen, senior vice president, reality modeling for Bentley Systems, said, “It is our pleasure to present Shell Chemical Appalachia and Eye-bot Aerial Solutions with a Special Recognition award for the pioneering work they are doing in constructioneering. Using drone imagery and our ContextCapture, the team continuously surveys and creates 3D reality meshes of the entire construction site, supporting weekly inspections and monitoring of construction progress. To do this for the entire site on a regular schedule, the team leverages Bentley’s cloud services, and we are working together to further streamline automated work flows and improve processing time.”
Jacob Lydick, President Eye-Bot Aerial Solutions, said, “Organizing the vast amount of data into an easily consumable format has proven to be one of the most difficult challenges in the UAS industry. However, with the variety of output formats available in ContextCapture, this task has become much more manageable.”

Dmitry Gurevich, Shell’s Information Technology Manager, said, “Constructing the plant of the future means embracing digitalisation. In construction, Digital is about advancing the technology that helps us staying on top of progress and assure quality, while keeping people safe. In that respect, the 3D reality mesh modelling technology has made a profound impact on ways of working on the Project, rendering benefits above and beyond of what we had imagined when starting the modelling program 18 months ago.”

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  • Is this still relevant for today? Or have things changed? What I’m curious about is how this will carry out, like what will the trend be for this type of stuff?

  • Not only has remote collaboration and communication benefits been realized during covid-19, but the environmental impact that digitization provides is also greatly unrealized. Trips to-and-from a site are often costly not only from a logistics standpoint but also an environmental stand point. Reducing unnecessary travel is a huge benefit of the site digitization and has a great impact on reducing unnecessary carbon emissions. Lastly, the ability to add 3d visual context to IoT sensor data is giving asset owners and operators the context they need to make important decisions.

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