Bentley’s BIM (building information modelling) and iTwin technology helped establish a digital twin as part of the delivery of Asia’s first professional cargo airport, explains Teresa Elliott, senior director, industry marketing, Bentley Systems.
In the east of Ezhou in Hubei province, the new Ezhou Huahu International Airport is being developed as Asia’s first professional cargo airport and is expected to function as an aviation logistics port and multimodal international cargo hub for China. The CNY30.8bn project covers 11.89km2 and a construction area of 900,000m2 with 15 single units, including a passenger terminal and one of the world’s largest transfer centres. Positioned as a cargo hub, passenger transport branch line, public platform, and air cargo base, it has a planned annual capacity of 2.45 million tons of cargo and 1.5 million passengers by 2030. Hubei International Logistics Airport is responsible for overall airport construction and operation management.
Collaborative digitalisation is key
The large-scale project presented coordination challenges that required the integration of numerous elements of process equipment, systems, and participants, compounded by complex geological conditions and a tight timeline. Involving civil aviation, municipal administration, and construction industries, 29 different disciplines – consisting of more than 50 parties and over 600 on-site personnel – needed to collaborate across various locations. Hubei wanted to implement comprehensive BIM application and collaborative digital workflows. However, faced with no existing civil aviation BIM standards and 25 million model components, the company realised that it needed a digital platform capable of supporting large volumes of multi-sourced data and intelligent lifecycle operations.
An integrated solution
Hubei selected Bentley’s BIM and iTwin technology to develop a 3D model of the airport and the first full-lifecycle digital construction management platform based on BIM standards in the China’s civil aviation industry. It used OpenRoads to develop a rapid professional modelling tool that contained 11 categories and 40 sub-items, and ProStructures and Navigator to coordinate structural modelling with the on-site construction team. ProjectWise provided a controlled, collaborative environment to manage and streamline the various multidiscipline workflows. Using the Bentley iTwin platform, Hubei integrated 25 million model components from the different software applications to develop a cloud-based, digital twin capable of incorporating the voluminous engineering and data components.
Savings and innovation
Working in an open connected data environment using Bentley’s BIM applications and ProjectWise helped Ezhou Huahu International Airport streamline multidiscipline collaboration, shortening model delivery time by 90 days and saving CNY12m. Compared to traditional construction methods, using Navigator to provide and engage the on-site construction team with the model improved productivity by 25%. Utilising Bentley’s cloud-based iTwin platform featuring large modelling capacity, the Hubei team established a digital twin supporting multi-sourced 3D models, attributes, and documents, resolving approximately 6,000 issues, and saving CNY300m (£36,631m) in costs. In addition to solving technological and coordination problems, the digital twin solution helped develop innovative digital management concepts and workflow processes to achieve full lifecycle BIM application for China’s civil aviation industry.
“Bentley iTwin’s super-capacity load technology has effectively solved the problem of multidata fusion of 25 million components in Ezhou Huahu Airport, providing a strong data guarantee for later construction management, operation, and maintenance,” concluded Zou Xianqiang, chief engineer, Hubei International Logistics Airport.
Source: Airports Internatioanal