April 27, 2021

Virtual hackathon reveals potential implementation of Ramboll’s True Digital Twin in telecom masts and towers

The True Digital Twin technology is becoming a core enabler for many future engineering services. The technology is already successfully applied in the oil and gas industry for many years and increased effort is ongoing for implementing the True Digital Twin in other business areas, such as wind, and telecom masts and towers. 

Ramboll initiated in 2018 a PhD project to investigate the potential implementation of the True Digital Twin technology in offshore wind. Inspired by the promising results from the PhD project, a group of Ramboll experts explored if other applications could also benefit from the True Digital Twin. They decided to test it through a virtual hackathon concept and launched the internal HackTwin 1.0 hackathon.
“The virtual hackathon is a perfect opportunity to share knowledge, network and bring together diverse competences from multiple business areas”, says Ronnie Pedersen, Project Manager of the Digital Twin PhD project in Offshore Wind.
Dawid Augustyn, PhD student working on the digital twin technology for wind, who helped organising the HackTwin 1.0, adds:
“We had Ramboll colleagues participating from Denmark, Germany, India, Norway, Sweden, Great Britain, Finland, and participants from Aalborg University in Denmark. Hosting such a diverse group in a virtual hackathon was challenging but the commitment from the participants and the high-quality products delivered during HackTwin 1.0 confirmed that it was worth the hard work.”
Applying the True Digital Twin to telecom masts and towers
Four teams consisting of 20+ tenacious hackers from Ramboll and Aalborg University were challenged to prototype solutions that aim at improving the structural capacity, operations, and maintenance of telecom masts and towers by use of remote measurement data.
Martin Jespersen, Chief Consultant, Towers & Telecom explains:
“We wanted these hackers to demonstrate how the latest measurement data technologies can supplement our existing solution portfolio within telecoms, with the shared aim of maximising returns to our clients’ asset investments. Ramboll comes from a strong position within True Digital Twin concepts for vital infrastructure such as bridges, wind power, and oil and gas, but these must be scaled and adapted to suit the particular market dynamics of telecoms, including its cost structure and value-chain. This presents both a technical and commercial challenge.
The outcomes of the hackathon are inspiring and mandate additional technical and market validation, emphasizing the strength of gathering a diverse team around common objectives.”
The HackTwin 1.0 is a follow-up of a successful M.Sc. project between Ramboll and Aalborg University, where techniques to monitor the structural health of an existing 48 m telecom lattice tower owned by Rail Net Denmark (Banedanmark) were developed. As a next step, during the hackathon, the collected data was used to optimise the operation and maintenance of existing telecom structures by applying the True Digital Twin technology.
Martin Ulriksen, Associate Professor at Aalborg University, emphasizes:
“We gain information on industrial-related aspects, which are quite often confidential. We can then implement this knowledge in our methodological developments and thus increase the likelihood of our methods being feasible and applicable for real-life applications.”
From idea to market implementation
The winning idea of the hackathon which entailed the implementation of a risk-based asset management solution, is considered for further development, integration and possibly market validation with prospective clients.
“We can confirm that further collaborations and projects will be initiated based on the ideas from the HackTwin 1.0 and we strongly consider arranging another virtual hackathon in H2 2021”, concludes Ronnie Pedersen.