The never-changing essential task of a construction company involves producing results of the highest “quality” by carrying out projects "safely" within a given time. Hyundai E&C is actively introducing smart technologies to perform such task perfectly. We met with Hyundai E&C members who are leading the company’s smart safety and quality technologies while struggling to achieve innovations in the field.
YOON, JOONGHOON Senior Manager (Safety Support Group)
JUNG, SEUNGGYUN Senior Manager (Quality Management Group)
KIM, JINWOO Team Leader (Building & Housing Works Technical Group)
HWANG, JAEWOONG Senior Manager (Infrastructure Support Group)
Introduction of “Smart Technologies” to Prevent “Human Error”
Q Safety and quality management applying digital technologies is particularly drawing attention this year.
KIM, JINWOO Team Leader(hereinafter ‘KIM, JINWOO') In the past, the construction environment improved significantly when a new technology was applied to the site, but now that technology has been upgraded and leveled up, we have reached limitations. People began deploying smart technology for on-site applications in order to improve productivity, safety, and quality that had been stalled for a while. Hyundai E&C has been preparing to introduce smart technology to our sites for the past 3 to 4 years.
YOON, JOONGHOON Senior Manager(hereinafter ‘YOON, JOONGHOON’) Trends on smart safety technologies can be largely divided into sensors, robots, and CCTVs. In dangerous situations, sensors or robots work on behalf of people or a 360-degree cameras(CCTVs) can be used to manage and record on-site environment in real time.
JUNG, SEUNGGYUN Senior Manager(hereinafter ‘JUNG, SEUNGGYUN’) As for Korea, there are many cases in which construction companies develop safety and quality technologies after receiving proposals from IT companies, which is usually the other way round. However, since smart technologies are often not applicable to on-site environment, even if they are introduced, they often face limitations quickly. Hyundai E&C is the only construction company in Korea which conducts safety and quality management based on our proprietary platform.
HWANG, JAEWOONG Senior Manager(hereinafter ‘HWANG, JAEWOONG’) Safety and quality management systems vary among construction companies, however, conventional IT technologies fail to address such variability. There are cases where we would rather not use these technologies as they are inconvenient. Hyundai E&C does not bring in external technology as it is but builds on digital technology to further develop and refine our safety and quality management platform tailored to our company's environment.
Commitment to Safe and Flawless On-Site Management
Q What are the smart safety and quality technologies of Hyundai E&C that you are particularly proud of?
HWANG, JAEWOONG I would like to talk about Silane's unmanned automated application equipment, which won the gold prize at “Singapore Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Awards” last year and the grand prize at our company's innovation award. This is a feat achieved by on-site staff at Singapore's Tuas Finger 3 landfill project. In the field of marine port caisson production, our company has been leading the world with much-accumulated experience and technological innovation. However, the operation for applying silane to ensure the durability of concrete exposed to sea water has relied on manual labor of workers. On-site staff put their heads together with a goal of automating the application process. Since there were no off-the-shelf products, field employees developed an automated robot facility that can be applied and maintained by rotating under direct injection pressure. I think the fact that "engineering geeks” who did not major in mechanical engineering gathered to achieve from planning to developing the technology itself is a testament to the unique DNA of Hyundai E&C.
KIM, JINWOO We are currently operating a “SCMP(Smart Construction Management Platform)”. This is a smart construction management platform that allows for a real-time 3D management of production, transportation and installation status of major construction materials including PC (Precast Concrete) components and steel frames, etc.
JUNG, SEUNGGYUN Hyundai E&C has a developed a smart integrated inspection system called "Q-Pocket" with the goal of systemizing 100% of the tasks performed by on-site quality managers. Q-Pocket is a proprietary system that can manage quality in real time via mobile/web, and some of its features have been patented.
YOON, JOONGHOON “HIoS (Hyundai IoT Safety System)” is a safety management system developed for the first time in the industry by our company in 2019. While other companies operate smart safety systems for each element, Hyundai E&C can have an integrated management of our safety operations with HIoS such as preventing tower crane crashes and warning workers against restricted access. Smart safety technology which is of particular interest this year is “AI-based Disaster Prediction” that has been in operational since October last year. The AI analyzes the probability of a disaster in a construction project by predicting the details of the construction that will be carried out in the future when the on-site manager enters the information including progress rate or equipment used in the system. Although it is still in the demonstration stage, but we are doing our best to implement perfect technology with the idea that Hyundai E&C is the leader in smart safety technology.
Q The construction site scenes have also changed a lot.
HWANG, JAEWOONG In the past, people were reluctant to embrace new technology no matter how much we talked about its benefits. However, now, from new sites to directly-managed projects, they first ask, “Can we use this technology in our site?”
YOON, JOONGHOON In the past, when things were not compatible with the site or to check whether the equipment was available or not, we had use a radio or make calls. Ever since the introduction of smart technology, it has become possible to quickly check what equipment available on site and who the driver is through the mobile on-site management system “HPMS.” Safety management using smart technology has now become the daily norm for field employees.
JUNG, SEUNGGYUN Even two to three years ago, many people complained about how individual knowledge and know-how being systematized into big data, fearing that smart technology could make 10 years’ experience of a senior employee indistinguishable from those of a newly recruited junior. Moreover, as young employees are quick to understand or adapt to IT technology, senior employees felt a lot of pressure. But the wind of change is already here, and if you're behind now, you can never keep up. Employees who once hesitated are now beginning to adapt to smart technologies.
Q How do you envision the future sites to be?
KIM, JINWOO We live in an era where Google and Toyota are building smart cities and Tesla is building high-speed underground tunnels. The competitive paradigm in the market has completely shifted. Although we may be better at applying technologies to the field, it is the IT companies that own the source technology. As technology convergence is all the more relevant, we are putting our heads together and seeking ways for combining technologies inspired by other sectors with construction. Future sites are expected to become increasingly unmanned, and humans be freed from labor. ‘In that era, what should be role of Hyundai E&C?’ is what I constantly keep thinking about.
HWANG, JAEWOONG Simple supervision and monitoring tasks are rapidly becoming mechanized and automated due to the introduction of smart technologies. Now, people will spend more time on more creative things, such as improving processes according to project-specific on-site conditions and suggesting ideas to produce meaningful results from data analysis.
YOON, JOONGHOON Like the movie "Minority Report," a world will soon come where AI can analyze all the big data that integrates all on-site data to identify dangerous situations in advance and take preemptive measures. We would be able to naturally achieve “Zero Severe Accident” with Hyundai E&C’s smart safety technologies such as sensors and image analysis techniques.
JUNG, SEUNGGYUN Smart technology currently allows us to accumulate a huge volume of data. For example, by simply entering values such as concrete production site, mixing region, humidity and temperature in the “concrete quality system”, we can pile up so much data on concrete placing based on which we can obtain optimal concrete mixture. It is expected that smart quality technology will enable “perfect quality control” going beyond “proactive quality control” in the near future.
Written by Park, Hyunhee / Photographed by Lee, Seulki