The Importance of Digital Transformation for the Construction Industry

PBC Today | September 28, 2020

With SMEs accounting for the vast majority of the construction supply chain, adopting digital transformation could bring significant benefits for the whole industry, yet the evidence suggests they are being left behind. What needs to change? Industry 4.0 is a general term that refers to a range of emerging technologies that many believe mark the fourth industrial revolution. Underpinned by data and analytics, these new technologies are heavily focused on interconnectivity, automation and machine learning. For the construction industry, they represent a world where seamless technology platforms will help improve productivity, promote flexible production capability, create high-value jobs, aid competitiveness and, ultimately, drive growth to support national economic success. However, for the digital transformation of the construction industry to be successful, we need to see adoption not just by large enterprises but in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which make up a significant percentage of the industry.

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It’s not always easy to get students engaged in STEM subjects, right? Science, technology, engineering, and math are not fun topics for most students. In addition, these subjects and the skill sets required to teach them are constantly evolving.

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It’s not always easy to get students engaged in STEM subjects, right? Science, technology, engineering, and math are not fun topics for most students. In addition, these subjects and the skill sets required to teach them are constantly evolving.

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ENGINEERING TECH

Emerson and Neste Engineering Solutions to Optimize Fintoil Biorefinery Operations for More Efficient, Sustainable Production

Fintoil | June 22, 2022

Fintoil, together with Neste Engineering Solutions, has selected Emerson’s automation software and technologies to maximize the operational performance of its biorefinery being constructed in the port of Hamina-Kotka, Finland. The plant will be the third-largest crude tall oil (CTO) biorefinery in the world and produce advanced biofuel and biochemical feedstocks that help lower emissions and reduce reliance on fossil-based fuels. The plant will refine CTO, a by-product of the wood pulping process, to produce a sustainable feedstock for renewable second-generation diesel, as well as rosin, sterol pitch and turpentine used in the chemicals, foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals industries. These CTO derivatives have a carbon footprint up to 90% smaller than their fossil-based equivalents. This state-of-the-art facility, which utilizes Neste Engineering Solutions’ NEXPINUS™ technology, uses 40% less energy than a conventional tall oil refinery, and is the perfect example of efficient and sustainable production that supports the circular economy. Working with Neste Engineering Solutions and Emerson to implement the latest digital automation technologies will enable us to operate the plant safely and efficiently, minimize operating costs and deliver large-scale production of biofuel and biochemicals as a viable alternative to fossil-based products.” Jukka Ravaska,Fintoil CEO To reduce project risk and ensure schedule and budget are maintained, Emerson will apply its Project Certainty methodology, which digitalizes project execution and uses practices such as remote testing of equipment. And to enhance plant security performance, Emerson consultancy services will advise on the implementation of cybersecurity best practices. “Emerson expertise and technologies are playing a significant role in helping companies achieve their ambitious decarbonization and environmental sustainability goals, including the accelerated transition to cleaner fuels,” said Mark Bulanda, executive president of Emerson’s Automation Solutions business. “Our project expertise and latest advanced digital solutions are not only helping Fintoil develop the production capacity of a sustainable fuel, but also optimizing plant efficiency to lower its overall environmental impact. We are very pleased to have Neste Engineering Solutions as a partner in this project because of its extensive experience in the CTO business.” In addition to providing NEXPINUS, and engineering, procurement and construction management for the project, Neste Engineering Solutions will also be responsible for delivering the entire application software for the new CTO biorefinery. Fintoil, together with Neste Engineering Solutions, will implement Emerson’s DeltaV™ distributed control system, DeltaV safety instrumented system and DeltaV Live operator interface software to enable efficient production, greater visibility of operational performance and process, and emergency shutdown for improved plant and worker safety. Advanced measurement technologies that have minimal maintenance requirements and diagnostics made available through Emerson’s asset management software will enhance equipment reliability and performance, contributing to greater plant availability and throughput, and lower cost of ownership. Construction of the facility is expected to be completed in 2022. The expected annual capacity of 200,000 tons will create a 400,000-ton reduction in CO2 emissions, which is roughly 1% of Finland’s total emissions. About Emerson Emerson, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global technology and engineering company providing innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial and residential markets. Our Automation Solutions business helps process, hybrid and discrete manufacturers maximize production, protect personnel and the environment while optimizing their energy and operating costs. Our Commercial and Residential Solutions business helps ensure human comfort and health, protect food quality and safety, advance energy efficiency and create sustainable infrastructure. About Fintoil Fintoil is a Finnish bioneering company established in 2017. Fintoil will refine crude tall oil for the production of advanced biofuels. Other derivatives will be sold for further refinement to clients in the chemicals, foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals industries. The company’s crude tall oil biorefinery will start its operations in the summer of 2022 in the port of Hamina-Kotka, a chemicals port in Hamina, Finland. The technologically advanced and energy-friendly production utilizes NEXPINUS™ technology and once operational it will be the world’s third-largest CTO biorefinery. In the future, the feed capacity can be increased. Fintoil’s key personnel and founders have decades of experience in the tall oil business and related investment projects. About Neste Engineering Solutions Neste Engineering Solutions offers high quality technology development and licensing, engineering, procurement, construction and project management services for the oil & gas, petrochemicals and bio-industries. Our NAPCON products enhance process industry production optimization, quality and logistics, as well as operator training with simulators and games. We work in close cooperation with our strategic customers and have world-class know-how in technology development and industrial investment projects. Many companies base their success on highly competitive novel process technologies developed by Neste Engineering Solutions. NEXPINUS™ is a feedstock flexible intelligent tall oil fractionation technology for superior quality products. Read more: neste.com/engineeringsolutions.

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ENGINEERING TECH

Honeywell And Nexii Form a Strategic Alliance To Support Sustainable Building Development

Honeywell | July 16, 2021

Honeywell and Nexii Building Solutions Inc. today announced the creation of a strategic alliance to promote the development of low-impact buildings. This alliance identifies Honeywell as the exclusive building technology provider for Nexii's new buildings, offering energy savings and operational efficiency solutions. Nexii's expertise in high-performance and efficient building systems will be combined with the Honeywell Small and Medium Building Administrator powered by Honeywell Forge, an affordable and scalable building portfolio management solution developed especially for small- to medium-sized buildings. The Honeywell Small and Medium Building Administrator can help customers save up to 30% on facility energy costs1, enhance insight into building portfolio performance, and assist facility managers in optimizing occupant comfort, operational performance, and asset management. Honeywell will also provide industry-leading fire and security systems to Nexii-built buildings. More than 90% of the commercial building stock in the United States is under 50,000 square feet. The majority of these buildings lack a proper building management system (BMS) to control energy consumption. Unlike competitive products, which are either traditional BMS solutions designed for large-scale, complex buildings or simple heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) control systems designed for smaller-scale use, the Honeywell Small and Medium Building Administrator enables multi-site businesses to drive smarter building operations and meet compliance requirements. Nexii's high-performance green building products are precisely manufactured in facilities utilizing 3D software to project specifications. This enables Nexii panels to fit together onsite like jigsaw pieces, reducing standard build times by 75% Nexii can reduce substantial construction waste via this method. Nexii products are manufactured offsite and assembled onsite. Nexii's groundbreaking materials and building processes provide greater energy savings, near-zero construction waste, and a much lower environmental impact than a traditional concrete building. Recent Nexii projects include a first-of-its-kind Starbucks café in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, constructed using Nexii's innovative construction technology to assist Starbucks Canada's goal to operate more eco-friendly stores as part of its global sustainability strategy. In addition, a new Popeyes restaurant was also built in Abbotsford using Nexii's building system. Nexii anticipates that their technology will reduce the operational building carbon emissions of both the Starbucks café and the Popeyes restaurant by about 30% compared to traditionally constructed buildings. Honeywell has committed to be carbon neutral in its operations and facilities by 2035. This commitment builds on the company's track record of significantly lowering the greenhouse gas intensity of its operations and facilities and its decades-long history of innovation to assist its customers in meeting their environmental and social goals. Approximately half of Honeywell's new product launch research and development investment goes toward products that enhance customers' environmental and social outcomes. About Nexii Nexii Building Solutions Inc. (Nexii) is a green construction technology company dedicated to building a sustainable future for people and the planet. Nexii creates high-performance buildings and green building products that are environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and resilient to climate change. The Nexii System also reduces construction timelines significantly, allowing for the fast development of green buildings throughout North America. Nexii is suitable for industrial/commercial/institutional, mixed-use, multi-family residential, single-family homes, and the green retrofit sector. About Honeywell Building Technologies Honeywell Building Technologies (HBT) is changing how buildings operate to enhance people's quality of life. We are a global leader in building controls, with operations in over 75 countries and a global channel partner network. Commercial building owners and operators use our hardware, software, and analytics to help create safe, efficient, and productive facilities. Our solutions and services are used in over ten million buildings across the world.

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MARKET

SOCOTEC GROUP FURTHER EXPANDS ITS PRESENCE IN THE NETHERLANDS

SOCOTEC GROUP | January 18, 2022

After its first acquisition in 2021 in the Dutch market, the SOCOTEC Group, a trusted third party and a leading company in building and infrastructure risk management, announces the acquisition of Inpijn Blokpoel, a major player in the Dutch ground investigation and geotechnical market. With the acquisition of Inpijn Blokpoel Engineers, SOCOTEC is strengthening its position as a key player in the Dutch construction and infrastructure TIC market and is expanding its service portfolio to better serve its customers. The ambition of the group is to become the leading company in testing, inspection and certification services in the construction and infrastructure sectors, alongside the lifecycle of any built environment. Founded in 1975 and headquartered in Son, close to Eindhoven, Inpijn Blokpoel Engineers, employs more than 100 people and has a turnover of over 12 million euros. With three main locations around the country (Son, Waddinxveen and Groningen), it is a key player in geotechnics, geophysics and environmental services, some of the core services of the SOCOTEC Group whose global ambition is to meet the growing challenges of environmental, energy, regulatory and digital transitions in the construction and infrastructure sectors. Inpijn Blokpoel Engineers is a specialist in the field of geotechnical and environmental consultancy services using the most modern ground investigation equipment and a cutting-edge laboratory. Consultancy services are provided in the areas of building foundations, construction pits, drainage, wind turbines, logistics centers, structural damage analysis, geophysics, dykes etc. During construction phase, full geotechnical supervision and monitoring can be supplied. Inpijn Blokpoel's clients are contractors, property developers, structural engineers, large engineering companies but also private individuals and of course most Dutch water boards, given its specific know-how in the field of dykes. Inpijn Blokpoel Engineers' core expertise in geotechnics is highly complementary to Hanselman Group acquired by the SOCOTEC Group last August 2021, as the company offers technical expertise for claim management, construction site nuisances management and monitoring services as well as technical inspection in the real estate market. "We are thrilled to have Inpijn Blokpoel as part of our group. Inpijn Blokpoel's brand reputation in the Netherlands and entrepreneurial culture fit extremely well with our organisation and internationalisation strategy. Also, Inpijn Blokpoel broadens our service offering following the acquisition of Hanselman Group. Even if they will remain independent, both companies will be much stronger together and will support the development of the SOCOTEC brand in Europe. With a €25.0m of combined turnover in the Netherlands, SOCOTEC is now a key player in the country and the only one able to offer such a range of services to the Dutch construction and infrastructure markets. Finally, Inpijn Blokpoel complements our existing network of pan-European experts in geotechnics and monitoring across France, the UK, Germany and Italy, from which I expect great technical synergies as well as commercial benefits." -Hervé Montjotin, CEO of the SOCOTEC Group Erik Geurtjens, Managing Director of Inpijn Blokpoel Engineers added: "Joining the SOCOTEC Group is a great opportunity for our organisation, our people and our customers. With the support of SOCOTEC and its technical expertise, we will be in an even better position to accomplish what we have been striving for as a team, over the last 45 years: to minimise the geotechnical and environmental risks for our clients when developing projects in the construction and infrastructure sectors, always looking for the most economical and sustainable options. In the near future, we will be able to expand our market further, serving our customers throughout the entire life cycle of a project." ABOUT THE SOCOTEC GROUP At the service of companies for almost 70 years, the SOCOTEC Group, chaired by Hervé Montjotin, has built its reputation as a trusted third party in the fields of risk management, compliance, safety, health and environment in the Construction, Infrastructure and Industry sectors.As a guarantor of the integrity and performance of assets as well as the safety of people, SOCOTEC develops a range of services in testing, inspection and certification (TIC) for companies in the public and private sectors for their buildings, equipment, infrastructures or constructions. SOCOTEC contributes to the optimisation of their performance by controlling the risks inherent to their activity. Its expertise enables SOCOTEC to support its clients throughout the life cycle of their projects and assets, resulting in a long-term partner position.N°1 in construction inspection in France, and a major player in TIC services in the Construction and Infrastructure sectors in Europe and the United States, the SOCOTEC group will achieve a consolidated turnover of €1bn in 2021 (50% of which was generated outside France) with 200,000 clients. With a presence in 23 countries and 9,700 employees, it has more than 250 external accreditations, enabling SOCOTEC to act as a trusted third party in many projects. In France, it has more than 150 locations throughout the country, including 32 training centers.

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