Keeping an Eye on the Project Lifecycle

Case Study

Innovative German Technology Scores International Project Success 

FRENZEL-BAU was therefore contracted by the Chinese Ministry of Railways to implement the new DURFLEX technology on China’s longest bridge, the Tianxingzhou, over the River Jangtse.
This innovation offers our customers the chance to reduce the costs of their railway lines
Naturally, the modern IT infrastructure at FRENZEL-BAU also supports international projects such as the construction work over the Jangtse river.

Innovative Railtrack Engineering from Freden Establishes Itself in Asia

This year, the municipality of Freden an der Leine in the Hildesheim district of Niedersachsen won a German Federal President’s Award. It is now one of the locations selected by the “Germany – Country of Ideas” initiative. The reason for the award was an innovation of the mid-size family company FRENZEL-BAU, which developed the “Track Superstructure System of the Future”, as reported in ‘Focus’ magazine. In this system, the cavities between the ballast stones in the track bed are permanently filled with flexible polyurethane. Besides increasing the durability of the track bed, this DURFLEX technology, as it is called, enables a significant reduction in noise emission. DURFLEX not only caused a sensation in Germany, however. Flexible track laying can also be extremely important for China – in regions prone to earthquakes and to guarantee virtually non-stop freight and passenger transportation. FRENZEL-BAU was therefore contracted by the Chinese Ministry of Railways to implement the new DURFLEX technology on China’s longest bridge, the Tianxingzhou, over the River Jangtse.

This bridge is the world’s first double-decker rail bridge with four tracks on the lower deck and six lanes for motor traffic on the upper deck. With a length of 4,657 metres, it connects the large cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan.
High-speed trains are to cross the new bridge, which spans 504 metres at its widest point, at speeds of up to 250 kilometres an hour. This means it has to bear a load of 20,000 tons.
This was an excellent opportunity to promote the benefits of the new track construction technique – a joint development of FRENZEL-BAU and Bayer MaterialScience, a world leader in the polyurethane market – abroad and to test it in practice, adapted to the specifications prescribed by the Chinese client. 

Project Lifecycle Measurement in Track Engineering

“The lifecycle of a track bed is normally about 25 years,” says Jörg Frenzel, Manager of FRENZEL_BAU GmbH & Co. KG. “With DURFLEX technology, we forecast roughly twice that,” he continues. The Freden-based company endeavours to always consider the entire lifecycle of a construction project. The actual costs of a project continue after a line is put into operation throughout the entire lifecycle. “This innovation offers our customers the chance to reduce the maintenance costs of their railway lines, just like our UMSTEIGER-PLUS 2000 solution did in the area of prefabricated station platform systems.  Not only that, our customers can enhance their network efficiency at the same time. Last not least, the significant reduction of vibrations achieved by our solution can mean less subgrade rehabilitation as well,” say the track engineering experts from the Frenzel company.

Process and Cost Management Within the Company

Project lifecycle management is a key issue within the Frenzel company, too: modern IT systems are used for end-to-end linking of project-related tasks with the company’s commercial processes. With technical ERP software from RIB, Frenzel has found a solution for the whole company. “The software supports various roles of the entire construction process,” comments Helmut Seegert, authorized representative of MSB-MANAGEMENT GmbH, an external business service provider that works for the FRENZEL-BAU Group. “Its flexible design enables us to handle new processes of our client step by step using the software system,” he says. The objective of the company is to make all project and business processes available to all the staff at all times – not only during the normal working hours of a tax consultant’s office.

Supported by RIB’s IT systems, FRENZEL-BAU recently succeeded in introducing the project-related booking system. Instead of sorting project tasks according to cost centres as in the past, the company can now control all the work and process steps of the construction project – right from the beginning of the tendering process – centrally via a project number. Another feature of the software enables automatic booking and invoicing within the two companies. In connection with the Bau-Mobil software of Connect2Mobile GmbH & Co. KG, the site managers of the Freden company will also be able to perform mobile time recording on site, which is then directly entered in the wage accounting of RIB’s ERP software. This keeps the client in the picture on how many hours have been worked each day. There are also plans for mobile activity recording on the construction sites of FRENZEL-BAU in the near future, with the aim of enabling site managers to exactly allocate the actual working hours of their staff to work items.

International Cost Control

Naturally, the modern IT infrastructure at FRENZEL-BAU also supports international projects such as the construction work over the Jangtse river. Jörg Frenzel says: “Before we started installing the DURFLEX technology, we had to supervise the track construction work that was being done there from Germany. After all, for an innovation to really be as good as it promises, it has to be built under the conditions inherent to the system, particularly in the initial phase. When we then installed the DURFLEX solution on the site together with BayerMaterialScience and the Chinese track construction contractors, it was tremendously important to keep an eye on costs in relation to time taken. This is extremely easy with the support of RIB technology. Our project manager in China, Mr. Matthias Puppe, just had to log in to the Freden terminal server with his UMTS card to make daily actual/target comparisons. He was also able to use this technology to cost-calculate new tenders of the DB AG directly from China in parallel- a great advantage in terms of efficiency.”



Industries>Architecture, Engineering & Construction>Contractors>FRENZEL-BAU Group

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