Innovation and Development

VF-OS - VIRTUAL FACTORY OPERATING SYSTEM

The vf-OS project, an acronym for Virtual Factory Operating System, funded by the European Union's Program 'Horizon 2020', was formally launched on October 1st. The project’s purpose is to develop an open Operating System for Virtual Factories, including a Virtual Factories System Kernel (vf-SK), an Interface for Virtual Factory Applications Programming (vf-API) and Virtual Factories Middleware (vf-MW), specifically designed for the factory of the future.
The project’s final result will be an open use kit for applications development (vf-OAK) and for Manufacturing Smart Apps implementation meant for the industrial users. This kit will be made available through a Manufacturing Apps Store (vf-mApp) in a Virtual Factory Platform (vf-P). Thus, similarly to the use of Google Play Store or the AppStore to get Android or iOS applications, in the future it will be possible to access the vf-mAPP to get applications specifically designed for manufacturing industry.
CONSULGAL participates in vf-OS integrated in a consortium of 14 companies from 7 countries (Portugal, United Kingdom, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Germany and Lithuania), as the demonstrator of the Operating System’s utilization in the construction/works supervision field.

Period: 2016 - 2019

BIM (Building Information Modelling)

BIM is currently the construction industry’s new paradigm that will, in fact, change construction processes as well as behaviours, putting the focus on open and immediate sharing of technical information, produced by any intervening party, thus “shifting” the design effort to the pre-construction stage.  To this purpose, BIM resorts to the most advanced information technologies and to parametrical structure virtual models (from 3D to “n”D), needed to support the activities related to Design, Planning, Procurement, Manufacturing, Construction, Operation, Maintenance, Energy Management, Waste Management, among others.

The Company can provide a variety of services through the use of BIM Methodology.  From planning to BIM coordination, construction sequence studies, models and detail drawing generation (architectural, structural and of all other fields of expertise), construction feasibility analysis, design inconsistencies, quantities estimation, cost estimation, forecasts for any stage of the design or the project, risk analysis, BIM model third-party audits, maintenance management, etc.

From mid-2013, CONSULGAL started to adopt the BIM Methodology, acknowledging it as the main tool for the future of its activity in the field of Engineering.  From the commercial point of view, BIM’s advantages are countless, from training through all sorts of services in Engineering, its universal and innovative characteristics allowing the company to build up its internationalization effort, as in some countries (particularly in North and Central Europe, North America, Middle East and Asia), the use of BIM is compulsory or is about to become so.

Period: since 2013

Connect and Construct

Launched by the European Commission in 2013, the project – with an expected duration of two years – aims at improving the European construction industry’s competitiveness and efficiency, facilitating information and data exchange between sectorial companies, in all stages of a construction life cycle.

Such challenges are addressed through the development of an interoperability structure for an information exchange without borders.  The tool will be adequate for use by any company, in any ICT solution that may be currently implemented, as it will be based in existing solutions, systems and/or standards.  The final version of the tool was presented at a pan-European conference, at the end of November 2014.

The Pioneer/Pilot Companies will be given personalized guidance to implement the tool in its daily operations and existing systems, without any need to implement a new infrastructure or ICT solutions.

As a Pioneer/Pilot company, CONSULGAL will benefit also of other advantages, namely the access to electronic data exchange tools without structural financial investments; personal guidance on how to introduce quick improvements in business data exchange with other companies without having to make radical changes in its current ICT infrastructure; access to a network of European construction companies and a greater visibility from participating in an initiative promoted by the European Commission and by the industry’s largest organisations.

Period: 2013 - 2015

FITMAN (Future Internet for Total MANufacturing)

FITMAN is part of the FI-WARE Programme, which is part of the Future Internet Public-Private Partnership (FI-PPP), started by the European Commission in 2010.

Fi-WARE aims at developing a new Internet service platform, composed of generic reusable blocks (software routines) that answer to the needs of various activity sectors, from health care, telecommunications, to industry and environment, contributing to the significant improvement of their performance in terms of productivity, costs and reliability.

FITMAN aims at developing an Internet platform for manufacturing industry, based on 10 case-studies from as many activity sectors.

CONSULGAL participates in the project as a partner in a consortium of 35 companies from 10 European countries and, together with UNINOVA (technological partner), develops the case-study of construction/supervision of works, which is part of the Digital Factory Trials group.  The consortium includes companies such as Volkswagen or Whirlpool.

The case-study proposed by CONSULGAL under the scope of FITMAN intends to improve the efficiency of the concrete control process in a construction site.  The purpose is to develop an application, based on FI-WARE software, that allows to follow-up, via Internet, the concreting process evolution as well as to record the various process steps, to rapidly identify the samples and to easily access each operation’s concrete characteristics.

Period: 2013 - 2015

SUMMIT (Supply Chain Management in Construction Industry)

The project SUMMIT – Supply Chain Management in Construction Industry aimed at creating, implementing, testing and assessing a communication infrastructure based on Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to be used by the various stakeholders involved in construction.  This infrastructure’s purpose was the automation of orders, deliveries, invoicing and payments processes throughout the supply chain, developing organizational information flow systems connecting autonomous companies and tracking them to support intercompany coordination.

CONSULGAL participated in the project integrated in a 5 companies’ consortium from 3 countries, having developed a case-study related to prefabricated houses construction.

The SUMMIT platform’s objective was to establish and supply the mechanism to connect partner’s applications in use at its sites and a proprietary data format, to a data format and a communication channel based on the SUMMIT model.  At a following stage, data exchange was handled by the Translator Manager, which allowed the local and remote management of data in a network, using an ftp.  Moreover, a front end was developed for Internet browsing, providing a general interface for the services herewith described, for use by any user with Internet access and browsing facilities.

Period: 1999 - 2001

SABARECO (Satellite-Based Remote Multi-Project Reporting and Controlling in Construction Industry)

The project’s objective was to allow efficient information sharing between members of a team, at any time and in any place, overcoming restrictions imposed by time and distance, allowing European construction companies, including Small and Medium Enterprises, to increase their competitiveness on the global market, through the implementation of innovative solutions for information access.  These solutions would allow linking heterogeneous work places, through the use of Internet protocols, using satellite links as “service provider” and an information base configured through the integration of existing applications for ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), PM (Project Management) and HAPC (Horizontal Actions Planning and Control) solutions.

CONSULGAL participated in the project as part of a 5 companies consortium from 3 countries, as end user.  The case-study developed by CONSULGAL consisted of setting up two teams: a team of project managers at the head-office and another team of project managers at a work site.

As the head office team maintained the information base, the team at the work site would have the possibility to update that information base with the purpose of preparing reports, communicating between themselves through Internet protocols and satellite links.

Additionally, other organizations were involved (clients, suppliers, subcontractors) and were provided with an interface, allowing to visualize and access information subgroups (progress reports, cost estimations, etc.)

Period: 2000 - 2002

SEEM (Single European Electronic Market)

The SEEMseed project aimed at contributing to the development and implementation of European policies related to the concept of Single Electronic European Market.  In that sense, the project:

  • Contributed to the definition and development of a flexible technological structure for doing business electronically, having in mind language, cultural and economic issues of small and medium enterprises in the European space;
  • Carried out the assessment of technology’s state-of-the-art, of issues related to the then current society and public policies related to a single European electronic market, generating information that allowed maintaining a dynamic and easily manageable knowledge base;
  • Developed a prototype for use in a simulated scenario, involving all the issues related to a single European electronic market, which resulted in a viable concept for an important sector of European economy, in this case the transport and management of waste in the European space.

Following this, a discussion and results dissemination process was launched at European level, contributing to the definition of European policies for the Single European Electronic Market.

CONSULGAL, participated in the project as part of a group of 22 industrial and IT companies, universities and research institutes of various European countries.

Period: 2003 - 2008