Connecting Denmark with machine control

Case study

Author: Karina Lumholt

The Danish Road Directorate is building a 40-kilometre motorway between two Danish cities of Herning and Holstebro. At the cost of 5.4 million euros, it will become the longest and fastest built motorway in Denmark. The motorway will connect the northwest of Jutland to the large southern motorway network that connects Denmark with the rest of Europe.

Equipment from Leica Geosystems is used on several stages for a project of this scale. Preliminary investigations were made on 2013 and the actual work commenced in 2015.


Digging to reveal the past

Digging to reveal the past

4 million cubic metres of soil have been excavated – a cut through the landscape that has given archaeologists a unique chance of exploring the history of the old arterial road between Herning and Holstebro.

3D machine control solutions from Leica Geosystems are used for digging the search trenches to get a sideway (layered) view of the deposits. This establishes if there are archaeological objects in the area and places them in a chronological order. The Leica Viva GS12 GNSS antenna, together with the Leica Viva CS15 field controller, are used by the archaeologists to automatically and precisely map the findings on the site.

Archaeologists have in average made a finding every 500 metres of digging, including a prehistoric sword from 600 AD, a prove of the historic traffic between the two cities for more than 1500 years.


Specialised workers build the motorway

Specialised workers build the motorway

One of the leading construction companies in Denmark, MJ Eriksson, has the contract for an 8-kilometre section of the motorway near the village of Tvis, Denmark. On a typical day, MJ Eriksson has on site for the project:

  • Approximately 30 workers
  • Ten dumpers
  • 7 Excavators
  • 2 Bulldozers
  • 1 Grader
  • 3 Rollers.

Workers from all over the country have come to work at this large motorway project. Up to 600 people have at times been working on the site. They are specialised workers who know each other well from other large projects – many of them live together at a camping outside Holstebro during the week.

Glenn Lautrup, one of the men behind this large-scale project, works as foreman for MJ Eriksson and has worked on the project since August 2016. Latrup explains how machine control solutions are used onsite; “Products from Leica Geosystems are used on the entire project, both in the form of machine control solutions and products for grade checking and as-built documentation.”

Up to 25 per cent of the total budget for the motorway has been reserved for the preservation of nature. Several water channels and fauna passageways for hares, mice and frogs have been established and a 50 m broad fauna bridge, the largest of its kind in Denmark, has been built to ensure that also red deer can safely cross the motorway.


From office to site

From office to site

Line Christensen is an engineer working with data preparation at MJ Eriksson’s office in Holstebro. Christensen works with Leica iCON office software for the preparation of the road models that are loaded into the machine control solutions.

Christensen explains her working procedure on a typical day; “I receive the AutoCad line file from the Danish Road Directorate. For this project, we are currently working on the thirteenth version of the file because there have been many changes to the project. I then use the Leica iCON office software to transform the AutoCad file to create triangulated files for the machine control solutions. Afterwards, I upload the file to Leica ConX, call the machine operator and tell him that there is a new updated file available.”

Christensen visits the project daily. “It gives me an understanding of what the operator needs so I can improve the preparation of the files for them,” she explains.

Heine Vendelbo is one of the operators that are in contact with Christensen. He works as a machine operator for MJ Eriksson and works with machine control on excavators, bulldozers and graders. Vendelbo was one of the first persons in Denmark to work with machine control solutions. He has been using machine control technology since 1985 and was one of the first persons in Denmark to implement GNSS in the heavy construction industry.

I am 100 per cent dependent on machine control in my daily work. Before the implementation of machine control, I would have to find a surveyor for the measuring of the area and for placing pegs and strings, and he would have kept a tight watch on my work.” Vendelbo explains. “Now, I just load the file with the 3D model that I receive from Line Christensen into the machine control solution. I can do all the excavation alone just by following the model. If there are changes in the project, I simply delete the file and load the new version into the panel.”

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