Sub-project D1: Multi-level product and interaction modeling in tunneling

Problem Definition and Motivation

A transparent, holistic and detailed planning and evaluation of individual systems and processes in mechanized tunneling is essential for the low-risk construction of tunnel structures. The interactions between the soil, the machine, the tunnel construction, above-ground buildings and the material flow play a crucial role. In the first phase of the research project basic concepts for the data-related modeling of essential system elements, processes and interactions have been developed. The information relevant to each individual system element needs to be stored in an expandable product model. IT-based interaction concepts are needed to investigate the interactions between individual system elements and processes to address specific issues in mechanized tunneling.

Results of the 1st phase

The execution of an individual interaction or an entire chain of interactions requires the provision of relevant information. This information is based on existing product data and also on temporary calculation results, carried out by corresponding numerical components, which can be freely exchanged. For the management and storage of basic data, a 4D information model for mechanized tunneling was developed. Information on the progress of a tunnel construction are usually distributed across different computer systems using different data formats. To provide a uniform data access, all relevant information was classified, structured and linked to create a holistic, object-oriented Tunnel Information Model (TIM). This information model forms the basis for the implementation of mechanized tunneling interactions. In the first phase of this project, four main sub-models in mechanized tunneling were specified and linked accordingly.


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In particular, the sub-models include a hybrid ground data model, a machine driving model, a tunnel structure model and a built-up area model. These models were chosen on their significance to the overall tunneling process. The ground type, for example, influences the advance rate of the machine, the settlements or the annular gap grouting. The actual modeling of interaction chains is based on a systems engineering concept, formally defined by the Systems Modeling Language (SysML). The basis is formed by a meta-model for the definition of interaction chains, where an interaction chain here consists of a set of product data, process analysis and interaction elements. An interaction element is based on the exchange of relevant information between two analysis components. The control of an interaction chain, consisting of several related interactions, is managed by so-called interaction workflows. For specific purposes, specialized analytical methods and interactions were derived from the general framework. Specific methods include numerical simulations of the driving process (DrivSim, TP C1), the annular gap grouting (GroutSim, TP B4) and machine logistics and supply chain (LogSim, TP C3). To describe interaction chains, a domain-specific modeling language was developed.


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Objectives of the 2nd phase

In the second phase of the project, methods to assess given problem-specific interaction chains in mechanized tunneling will be developed. Both the existing uncertainties and the transient nature of data and models need to be considered. Special focus is placed on the adequate consideration of the current soil, the settlements and the machine data. This data must be able to be integrated in a consistent and transparent manner as part of the defined interaction chains. For this purpose, the interaction platform has been systematically extended by additional methods based on concrete problems. A major scientific objective is the evaluation of the quality of results by the inclusion of interaction chains developed specifically for this purpose, in particular to assess the added value of interaction modeling based on a suitable context-sensitive metric. However, the evaluation of an interaction chain should not be done exclusively as an analytical process. Rather, appropriate methods have to be developed to properly navigate in and visualize  complex interaction chains.


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The proposed navigation and visualization are based essentially on the product and interaction models implemented in the first phase of the project. After a successful assessment of existing interaction chains, the question often arises whether an even higher quality of results can be achieved by adjusting certain parameters. To this end, concepts are to be developed that can provide information on the costs of such adjustments and on the quality of results achieved thereby. Another goal is the development of concepts for saving and reusing experiences gained during the processing and adaptation of interaction chains. This will lead to the development of knowledge based systems and their integration into the overall processing framework.

Project data

Title: Multi-level product and interaction modeling in tunneling

Type: Sub-project, SFB 837

Principal Investigators: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Markus König

Researchers: Dipl.-Ing. Felix Hegemann, M. Sc. Puviyarrasan Manickam; M.Sc. Andre Vonthron

Computing in Engineering
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