7 December 2021 | LB Foster
An earthworks monitoring solution which uses LiDAR technology has won the Award for Equipment Innovation category at the Ground Engineering (GE) Awards in London. This prestigious award recognises excellence through new product or technology development for the ground engineering industry.
L.B. Foster’s award-winning submission detailed the deployment of its Insight Earthworks Monitoring solution on a project for Network Rail in Gloucestershire. Little Hagloe is on the coastal rail line adjacent to the River Severn in Gloucestershire. The railway runs along the bottom of a steep embankment and has a history of failures of the cutting slope. L.B. Foster’s Insight LiDAR units are now providing real-time monitoring of slope integrity at critical sites along the line.
Adam Cousins is Head of Business Development at L.B. Foster. He says: “Winning this award is recognition of all the hard work that has gone on behind the scenes to design, develop and deliver a truly outstanding remote condition monitoring solution for Network Rail.
“On Friday 28th August 2020, our Insight Earthwork Monitoring system measured a slippage that was reported in real-time. This was after the system went live in June 2020 for full site reporting to Network Rail’s local infrastructure management team. The report generated from Network Rail noted that the system measured a slip. LiDAR head 2 recorded the movement on the track point measurement. The Insight system recorded the slip at precisely 07:24:31am, with Network personnel receiving the email alarm notification at 07:25am.
“This event during live reporting operation of the system showed the excellent response time of the system to a detected cutting slippage of sufficient dimensions to cause concern. Of particular importance was the ability of the train controllers to action signalling to halt trains on receipt of a critical alarm prior to potential concern for a derailment. ”
Network Rail manages a portfolio of more than 190,000 earthworks assets, including slopes, embankments, soil cuttings and rock cuttings. Many of these assets are over 150 years old and pose a significant risk to the railway especially after heavy rainfall, making the earth saturated and more prone to movement. Insight Earthworks Monitoring deploys LiDAR units to scan the earthwork slope, comparing against previous scans to detect tiny movements of the earthwork. Software ignores non-valid movement, such as wildlife and vegetation detection, and determines if the slope has moved sufficiently to raise an alarm. The amount of valid movement depends on the slope, soil type, vegetation, and water saturation and threshold limits for alarms can be configured to meet customer requirements.
The Ground Engineering Awards celebrate the very best in geotechnical engineering and are organised by GE Magazine. This year’s awards received almost 230 submissions across 18 different categories.
Nia Kajastie, editor of Ground Engineering, said: “We were delighted to host the GE Awards as an in-person event once again, and it was great to have so many industry representatives join us to celebrate the achievements of the ground engineering industry.
“The last year and a half have been tough for us all, but this sector and the people at the centre of it
have shown their perseverance and adaptability in the face of sudden changes.
“Despite the pandemic challenges, this was a record-breaking year for entries to the GE Awards. With a total of 227 submissions of a high calibre, our expert judges had their work cut out for them to choose the amazing winners.”