THE TIDEWAY Innovation Forum went to Carnwath Road last month, where attendees were given updates on previous innovations at a ‘Food for Thoughts’ event at lunchtime before new ideas were pitched – and backed – at the Forum afterwards.
Inside the packed ‘hub’ at Carnwath, dozens of guests heard about some successful innovations already backed by the team. Chief Technical Officer Roger Bailey (left) introduced the session, telling the Forum: “As a major project, we have a real obligation to set higher standards. It takes quite a lot of courage sometimes to take innovative steps. Often you’re not quite sure of the outcome. And all of us have got our day jobs.
“So, on Tideway, two or three years ago, we started setting aside a specific pot of money, ring-fenced, which we could allow people to draw down. We’ve spent collectively between us about £1m. And we think we’ve got the benefits of at least one-and-a-half to twice that with the things we’ve done.”
Attendees at ‘Food for Thoughts’ heard from Sean Melody, BMB Works Superintendent, who provided an update on an idea he brought forward from his time on Crossrail – tracking people and plant to avoid collisions and improve on-site safety. Tideway had initially funded a feasibility study and subsequently invested in trials at both Central and West and as a result of this, West are now introducing a system of two-way radios that each feature GPS chips. This allows the user to digitally see where people and plant are on site; to create exclusion zones and initiate an alarm when those zones are breached.
Eilidh Weir (right), who was part of the team who won funding from TIF in 2017, also provided an update on her innovative modelling system to prove the shaft ‘zone of influence’ (ZoI) was much smaller than the current industry standard. Data is still being collected, but the findings are set to be peer-reviewed in the autumn before being shared with the industry and the Tideway Alliance.
During the afternoon session of the Forum, two new ideas won the backing of the Tideway’s Innovation Forum: a VR cube allowing anyone to experience the 3D models in a 1:1 scale; the other, a ‘traffic light’ system for arches on bridges on the Thames. After negotiating with the supplier, Tom Price was able to get a discount on the cost of the VR cube and, in turn, win the financial backing required to move ahead with his proposal. Equally successful was John Davies’s pitch to install a system allowing ‘shared use’ of bridges arches on the Thames – which was described as a ‘no brainer’ by Roger Bailey as he gave it his stamp of approval. Now it’s time to harness all this enthusiasm, and work to get all the paperwork signed off so we can maximise the benefits from the latest raft of innovation successes. Thanks to all involved.