Looking back, the construction industry has evolved to fit into the digital world of today. Companies are experiencing major innovation improvements in structure design. Things like utilizing virtual and augmented reality to ideate, construct, and maintain buildings. So, the industry needs to prepare itself to stay on pace with the rate of modernization in construction. Technology is also playing a huge role in the manufacturing of materials. Opening in May 2020, the Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C is currently under construction using a custom-programmed CNC (computer numerical control) machine. Engineers are working to construct a 450-foot-long stainless steel tapestry that will depict the site of the 1944 Allied D-Day Victory on the coast of Normandy, France.
Technology in Construction
As technology continues to modernize construction, future developments are likely to come. For example, in the form of faster data incorporation and more streamlining of the design-build process. Improvements through technology have enabled what used to be time-consuming tasks and made a way for both faster and more accurate processes. Without technology, today’s job-sites would struggle to make improvements on structures. New technologies are offering efficiency within construction, allowing engineers to build stronger, taller, and energy-efficient structures. Finally, improved scanners and seamless software interfacing may eventually lead to a nearly automatic construction process. The possibilities are endless.
The Eisenhower Memorial Meets High-Tech Design
Surely, the fabrication of the Eisenhower Memorial is a complex and multi-step process. Using a graphic file, the project design team converted the artwork into three dimensions. The stainless steel tapestry is being produced by weavers using the custom-programmed CNC. The machine works with various spools of stainless steel thread to create 604 3ft. x. 15ft. panels for the Eisenhower Memorial. Additionally, scenes from the life of the 34th U.S. president, Dwight D. Eisenhower will be depicted behind the statutes. The Eisenhower Memorial will be a site that will not only commemorate the Allied D-Day Victory, but also the life of the former U.S. president.
In order to help meet the exacting requirements, engineers chose to use laser scanning. This technology offers much efficiency when assessing sites or as-built construction projects. Laser scanning captures highly detailed information and accurately displays conditions of the space or facility. In terms of high-tech usage in the construction industry, laser scanning is especially suitable for analyzing potential clashes between exiting conditions and new building elements.
The team used Faro scanners to take about 25 overlapping virtual scans of the site. Each scan taking about five minutes to make. Additionally, the process was similar to the digital 3D scans used to help reconstruct the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
Overall, the Eisenhower Memorial scans were compiled into a point cloud. In other words, an image that looks like a 3D model. Then, the team will overlay the design model with a rendering of the tapestry to gauge the precise placement of each embedded plate. Technology plays a huge role in creating the virtual model of the Eisenhower Memorial. To achieve this, the design team uses computer programs such as:
- Synchro Software
Building the Future
Technology will continue to formulate improvements and bring quality to construction projects. From streamline practices, reinventing personnel, equipment management, and even utilizing virtual and augmented reality to ideate, construct, and maintain their buildings, construction will only get better. When it comes to construction technology, the sky is the limit. And U.S. Bridge is helping pave the way with steel bridges. So, contact us today to get more information about our bridges, our building process, and how we can help you get your project started.