Blog - Smoothride technology takes off at Frankfurt Airport

Our new SmoothRide system has recently helped pull off a full revamp of Frankfurt Airport’s notoriously busy airstrip, Runway West, in just five days.

As the fourth busiest airport in Europe, Frankfurt manages over 60 million passengers every year. Over 50 per cent of these depart from Runway West. With the strip in such high demand and so heavily used, closing it for maintenance is a big challenge. Any work must be carried out quickly and without costly errors to minimise disruption for passengers. With a window of just 120 hours, the team needed an integrated, fluid and seamless system that would help streamline the process from survey to build. They opted for new SmoothRide system.  

Combining cutting-edge hardware and software, the SmoothRide system includes: Topcon’s RD-M1 scanner - a vehicle mounted road resurfacing scanner; Mobile Master Office visualisation processing software; MAGNET® Office with resurfacing software; and the RD-MC machine control 3D resurfacing solution for milling and paving.

Using its mobile 3D scanning capabilities to survey at speed, the team working on the Frankfurt Airport project covered 45,000m² in just three hours – gathering a high degree of precise data. The vast number of point clouds were then processed into a computerised 3D model, using SmoothRide’s accompany software programmes.

With the 3D model in place, accurate measurements could then be transferred to a screen in the milling machines’ cabs to give drivers guidance on exactly how much material to remove. Providing drivers with this level of detail not only removed the potential for human error but also helped ensure the surface result was as smooth as possible.  

Embracing this new technology reduced both the time and subsequent cost of the project in Frankfurt, and resulted in a flawless runway.

Following the time-saving and cost-reducing benefits SmoothRide has been delivering for contractors, the pioneering system has recently been shortlisted in the Building Awards 2017. To find out more, visit:

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