TCG Institute of Technology

Contribute to society with technology development

1. Outline of Institute of Technology

(1)"Tsukuba," the Center of Science and Technology

TCG Institute of Technology (photo 1) was established in 1993 as the research institute for construction technology for TCG Group company Asunaro Aoki Construction, located in Tsukuba Science City, which has been leading the world in science and technology, located in an area rich with nature and adjacent to the University of Tsukuba. Currently, we operate as the Takamatsu Construction Group Institute of Technology and engage in development of technology to improve corporate value of Asunaro Aoki Construction, Takamatsu Corporation, and TCG Group companies.

Photo 1. Institute of Technology (front entrance)

(2) Main Facilities

The Institute of Technology campus incorporates the management building, experimental building, outdoor experimental yards, and aggregate yard, which covers an area of about 18,000 m2, with a construction area of about 3,000 m2 and a total floor area of about 9,000 m2. The management building and experimental building are RC buildings with three floors above ground. Management building houses the entrance hall, exhibition room, presentation room known as the "technical dream factory" (photo 2), large conference room, and library. The experimental building has several laboratories and experimental rooms.
The large roof structure between the experimental building and the management building is utilized as an experimental building for large structures (Photo 3). A large reaction force wall (12 m high x 17 m wide x 2.5 m-thick prestressed concrete construction) with a large reactive force floor (width 17 m x 20 m) Is located at the center of the experimental building. There are four large capacity actuators in the building, permitting structural experiments for civil engineering and architectural purposes.
These facilities were also built 30 years ago, and it Is time to consider renewal or renovation applying the same criteria as for social capital.

Photo 2. Technical Dream Factory

Photo 3. Large structural experiment building

2. Technology Development Structure

The Institute of Technology serves as a technology research institute for Takamatsu Corporation and Asunaro Aoki Construction, comprising of three research departments (Structural Research Department (Architectural Structure Laboratory, Civil Engineering Structure Laboratory), Materials Research Department (Concrete Laboratory, New Materials Laboratory), Mechatronics Technology Department (Mechatronics Group, ICT Group) and the Research Management Department (Development Office, Intellectual Property Management Office). As of October 2022, there are 47 employees, of which 7 are female researchers.
Each laboratory Is responsible for special technical development of the entire construction field, such as civil engineering, construction, environment, and disaster prevention. We are engaged in technological development and providing support for the sites, aiming at technological application ten years from now, in cooperation with the technical headquarters and the new business headquarters at the headquarters of our group company.

3. Examples of Technology Development

(1)Development of Seismic Ceiling Construction Method

(1)Development of Seismic Ceiling Construction Method "AA-TEC construction method" (Photo 4) (patent acquired in 2017) was applied to enhance suspended ceilings with height exceeding 6m (maximum horizontal seismic intensity of 2.2G) (high degree of damage occurred in the Great East Japan Earthquake) as earthquake-resistant celling construction method corresponding to the 2016 standard requiring ceilings without clearance with walls. Following the proof-of-concept experiment, we acquired a building technology performance certificate.
Application to music halls and clean rooms (Photo 5) are expected, and we would like to make social contribution with the technology.

Photo 4. Experimenting the AA-TECH method

(2)Improvement of Earthquake Resistant Bridges Using Friction Dampers

Asunaro Aoki Construction developed construction methods to improve the earthquake resistance of bridges using friction dampers in collaboration with the Metropolitan Expressway Co., Ltd. Damages to the pier base can be significantly reduced by installing friction dampers on bridges. In addition to application to the fixed bearing, development Is underway with a view to expand the scope of application to expansion bearings. Experiment using the large shaking table at the Public Works Research Institute was successfully completed in 2022, and ultimately, we would like to create a seismic system for bridges for wide utilization.
Installation of six units to were completed in 2020 for Metropolitan Expressway Route 11 Daiba Line (Photo 6), with further installation of 26 units completed for Route 1 Ueno Line. Moreover, the superior technology of the friction dampers was acknowledged at the 23rd infrastructure Technology Development Awards with a prize (September 2021). We will promote commercialization of the technology and contribute to the society at times of earthquakes.

Photo 6. Bridge with friction damper Installed (Route 11 Daiba Line)

(3)Examples of Key Technology Development Initiatives

  1. Carbon pool (CP) concrete
  2. Salt and frost tolerant concrete product
  3. Composite exposed-type column bases
  4. Improve life cycle assessment with high-strength high-resistance environmental concrete
  5. Development of technology to reduce architectural slab weight
  6. Development of technology to improve quality of building frame using plasticized concrete
  7. Friction damper for new buildings using damping brace method
  8. Risk reduction with construction visualization
  9. Partial high strength reinforcing bar
  10. Bar arrangement inspection system (automated)
  11. Construction visualization management technology using Al
  12. Development of technology for computer-aided construction technology
  13. Development of education tool on construction technology
    We are promoting development of various technologies related to design, construction, maintenance and management Including the above.

4. Role of Institute of Technology

We believe it is becoming increasingly important to develop technologies that contribute to continuous development and rapid progress of the business of the entire Group and for creation of new business domains In cooperation with the construction and marketing departments as the technology department of TCG to spread the technologies to the society. The results of development by the Institute of Technology are widely delivered to the customer as construction methods and products. Therefore, we would like to accurately capture the needs of the society and customers, select appropriate themes corresponding to the future construction demands, create social infrastructure through our business, and contribute to building social infrastructure with views toward the future including SDGs, carbon neutral, and green infrastructure with long-term vision.

"Virtual Space x Construction"
Asunaro Aoki Construction Metaverse Initiative

We are trialing further initiatives towards digitalized construction streamlining technology, "From Construction BIM to Architectural DX."
The definition for digital transformation (DX) by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry states "companies respond to rapid changes in the business environment and use data and digital technology to transform their products, services, and business models based on the needs of customers and society. At the same time, they are transforming the companies themselves, organizations, processes, as well as corporate culture and climate to establish a competitive advantage (DX Promotion Guidelines)." Asunaro Aoki Construction is promoting initiatives together with the "BIM/CIM Utilization Guidelines." by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT).
We have experience in providing construction BIM, information sharing system, ICT civil engineering, electronic small black board as designated by the client for construction streamlining technology in "Tochigi Common Building (18) for the Government Offices Construction Project," which was one of the three BIM trial construction projects selected with the revision of the MLIT "BIM Guidelines" In 2018. our departments are also engaged in DX with use of web cameras, construction career development system, facial recognition system, and document management system.

Support with BIM-Linked construction streamlining technology

(1) With 3D survey, BIM models for surrounding areas can be created without visiting the sites by receiving point cloud data for ground survey on surrounding areas before start of construction from sites using I-Construction. MLIT has officially adopted 3D survey using LiDAR function on !Phone for simple ICT constructions from FY2022.

(2) Construction is simulated using BIM model prepared with PC in virtual space for front-loading. Previous perception was that "80% is in the preparation." However, work sites can verify processes in advance using virtual space, and in combination with data that can only be acquired from actual mistakes, we are aiming to deliver visualized data on construction methods and safety to the sites.

(3) For building digital twins, we manage construction progress by comparing 360-degree image in BIM model (virtual space) with actual site Images. As it is a cloud-based, uploaded images can be viewed real time on iPad and iPhone, etc.

(4) For deployment of Open BIM, we are leveraging on the strength of leading Japanese BIM software "Revit," "Archicad," and "GLOOBE" to quickly create models. We responded to about 30 requests for SIM-based construction during 1 a FY ending March 2023 (April-June). In addition, we are acquiring more experience with "connecting BIM" which involves handing over BIM data prepared during marketing phase to construction. In addition to contributing to receiving orders, we are trialing inspections using 3D printers and AR technologies.

Further development of VR support for virtual space visualization towards construction Metaverse

Metaverse is a coined word from "Meta" which means transcend, and "universe." It refers to virtual space services. In general, there Is a difference in purpose between VR which is experienced by individuals in virtual space, and Metaverse which involves communication and Joint work. By using the collaboration function of "FUZOR" software introduced in 2018, we have been promoting business in a construction Metaverse which allows simultaneous participation in a BIM model from remote locations in Tokyo, Osaka, and working from home, enabling exchange of information and real time confirmation in chat format.

Further themes for virtual space in "Construction Metaverse" includes the following:
(1) Planning Model Space" for cross-organizational projects
Compared to meetings using drawings, using this space can save time for explanation on complex shapes and construction terms, and promote positive exchange of opinions between departments. We believe a walk-through will increase understanding of things that are not visible on a 2D drawing, and Improve the quality of meetings.

(2) By utilizing the "Work Site Model Space"
4D simulation model for sharing progress management, workflow for different types of construction and safety facilities can be experienced. We believe more Items can be confirmed and agreed upon than having each individual Imagine the scene in their head.

(3) Education Space" for standardizing knowledge through virtual experience
We would like to use it for educating the younger generation to complement the difference in level of experience in the construction industry which has higher employee turnover rate compared to other industries. We are considering providing a "hands-on" space by holding meetings in Metaverse, where site staff can provide guidance as the host, and guests can virtually tour the site with fresh set of eyes.
We believe this will enable learning about features and construction methods in each region, leading to standardization of knowledge and reduction in sense of isolation.

(4) In the "Social Space" Metaverse intended for use outside work site operation, participants do not need to wear helmets or fall prevention equipment, allowing a tour of the virtual site without creating burden for the work site such as interruption of work. It could be suited for model rooms, presentations, and internships. As we promote diversity, employees with interest who voluntarily participate using avatars are expected to increase. We believe meetings held in virtual space will Improve the quality of communication.

Going forward, we will promote trials to increase the experiences offered, such as for trialing "re-skilling" announced by the government, and building a Construction Metaverse where everyone can easily participate anytime and anywhere, taking note of their awareness using iPad and I Phone in various settings Including while child rearing, providing nursing care, using flex time, or working from satellite office.

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