Launching 3D Avoidance on the Flannery Fleet

On the 18th of May, Flannery were proud to host our first Product Launch Day at the Operator Skills Hub site in Sutton Coldfield in celebration of the Leica Geosystems and XWatch Safety Solutions 3D Avoidance System being available exclusively on our excavators.

The day was a huge success, featuring a first-look at what the new system can do with live demonstrations. We also showcased the Spillard Safety Systems Human Detection System, also available on our fleet, and the Brextor piling attachment.

About 3D Avoidance

There have historically been a number of hazards that the industry has faced when using plant on site, and these obstructions aren’t always visible. In the UK alone, there are over 4 million kilometres of underground pipes and cables. Due to the data of where these are being hard to access, there are currently nearly 60,000 accidental strikes of these occur each year. These incidents can cause a risk to the safety of on-site personnel and machine operators, as well as causing delays that then impact project time and budget. In fact, incidents such as this are costing the UK economy around £2.4billion annually.

Working together to make a total solution on site, Leica Geosystems, XWatch Safety Solutions and Flannery Plant Hire are providing a way to remove these risks and also reduce People Plant Interface (PPI), which is widely recognised as one of the key fatal risks within construction. This is the first time that companies have come together to find an actual working solution for a modern-day construction site, creating a reactive solution for a dynamic problem.

Safety has no limitations, and this solution can be used across a number of scenarios. With engineers attending site before plant works begin to map out hazards that can then be pre-uploaded into the in-cab system, the onus can then be taken off the operators for them to be able to avoid hazards effortlessly – reversing the normal trend with innovations where the functions rely heavily on the operator. Here are some examples of hazards that can be avoided:

  • Height Restrictions
    • In situations where the excavator is in danger of hitting an overhead obstruction, such as power lines or a gantry, these can be quickly created or imported as avoidance zones from the cabin controls. Once the system is triggered, the hydraulic functions of the excavator can be slowed down or even brought to an entire stop.
  • Zone Restrictions
    • We also can disable the excavator tracks’ motion to stop any environmental or drainage trench breaches, for example. If you can survey it, you can avoid it.
  • Underground Restrictions
    • Using the National Underground Asset Register, we able to enable control and safely excavate around services for power, gas, water and other potentially hazardous products buried beneath the surface. We can now set limits on dig depth to protect these assets and allow safe excavation when required. If you can map or detect it, you can avoid it.
  • Highway Restrictions
    • We can set a pre-determined geospatially placed avoidance zone or virtual wall when working on live carriageways and public roads. We can now stop the excavator from breaching these areas and, importantly, the excavator’s tracks. This system doesn’t knock the slew system off when travelling forward, so no reset is required. It takes away the risk of human error.

The engineering is pivotal for this to work – the operator is now collaborating with the technology to create more than a ‘that’ll do’ scenario, but instead a scenario in that, once parameters are set, they can’t be overridden. Co-ordinates don’t move, so all these hazards are marked exactly where we want them to be. This solution combines the Leica Geosystems MC1 machine control software and XWatch Safety solutions. It has been under a collaborative testing approach in the UK for some time, and we’ve had great results recently testing it on Kier sites. Working as a group to such results does really prove that we are stronger together.

About Human Detection

For the last thirty years, Spillard Safety Systems have been working to provide visibility aids for construction machinery. This has involved working closely with Flannery to develop ways to tackle the safety issues linked with PPI. The risk of humans entering ‘blind spots’ when machines are in operation is a scary one, so the team developed a form of artificial intelligence that specifically detects the human form.

This is a camera system that is designed to relay live information to the operator when an inviducal has encroached into a pre-defined ‘red zone’, but it also has a directional external audible alarm that sounds, so any individual in potential danger can hear that they need to move away from the machine.

This gives operators a system that they can rely on, showing them exactly where a person may have encroached into their working zone rather than an alarm that picks up any sort of obstacle, including inanimate objects.

Spillard and Flannery are continuing to work together, using the power of data to give clients the visibility of accurate reporting. This means they can analyse trends and correct behaviours where necessary and stay alert of any safety risks.

About Brextor

Current methods of pile cropping include using items of plant for breaking, fracturing or crushing the concrete. When applied correctly, these methods can be effective, but this isn’t 100% of the time. In extreme cases, the preparation process can damage piles and their reinforcements.

To combat this, the Brextor attachment mills the concrete rather than introducing breaking forces. It makes a viable solution where working room is limited, particularly in cofferdams.

By design, the Brextor leave pile reinforcement without deformation and gives a surface that is ready for any construction to follow. Importantly, this milling head also radically reduces Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, dust inhalation and musculoskeletal hazards.

Flannery recognise the need to have a flexible approach with an ability to overcome challenges quickly, and we’re happy to now offer clients a complete package for pile preparation. The Brextor Pile Milling technology being added to our existing fleet of pile croppers, munchers, bursters and mega-jaw crushers, as well as the technical and fleet support behind the scenes and the ‘boots-on-the-ground’ support on site, means that multiple opportunities have been opened for clients to process piles to a high standard through challenging the traditional methods.

If you were unable to attend the Product Launch Day, all of these solutions and systems will be on display at Plantworx from the 13th-15th of June at the East of England Showground in Peterborough, and the Flannery team will be on hand in the Operator Challenge area to answer any questions you may have. You can also try your hand at one of our two operator challenges and visit our state-of-the-art Mobile Training Unit


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