What’s New in TILOS Version 8

This week we have been released the beta version of TILOS 8. Version 8 will provide the foundation for a new a new product line for linear scheduling. The most significant changes are under the surface of the application – in its software architecture, which has been completely rewritten.

We are very proud of the results:
TILOS has bigger capacity in data and it performs actions like opening projects, changing views or rescheduling up to 50 times faster than the previous version. The most plus in speed we got by generating grouped Gantt chart outputs. They now open directly after clicking due to optimized data management and overworked screen display. TILOS 8 is not only speeded up with software optimization, but also with optimized hardware usage by using multiple processor and multi thread technology.

The final release is planned for the end of January 2013. If you would like to test the new version before, please send us a email to betatest@tilos.org. We will supply a download link and an activation code to test the full functionality of TILOS 8.

TILOS Explorer changes

The explorer displays now 3 main folders to simplify the navigation:

1. Views:

In this folder you may group or sort all the different new (and old) views: Time distance views, Gantt charts views, list views generated from tasks, links, resources, micro progresses and others.

2. Project Data:

Here the entire project specific data is displayed, like distance axis informations and cell contents.

3. Library:

This folder contains base data not specifically linked to a project, such as task templates, resource and cost library.

 

 

Enhanced Grids usage

The data grids (Tables/Lists) have been completely reprogrammed. Now the grids have a more common look-and-feel and new fuctions:

  • By clicking the column header the rows get sorted by the values in this column, even in the gantt chart panel
  • With the cursor keys it is possible to navigate in the rows and columns
  • Tab key will jump to the next field in the row
  • Pulldown values can be selected by typing keys
  • The content of each data grid can be exported to the clipboard
  • In general the whole table grid can be used without mouse, only by keyboard

Cross project drag & drop in grids

Drag & Drop in Grids allows to create new lines just by copying existing lines in the same grid. You can do that also with the Shortcuts Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V.

As one of biggest enhancements in this context: It is possible to drag items (of the same grid) between parallel running TILOS Sessions. For example you may copy line styles, symbols or task templates between different TILOS files to synchronize the data in different projects. By this way: missing lower level objects gets also be copied to the destination, if needed.

Finally complete Sub-projects can be copied from one TILOS session to another: This special case replaces all data of the Sub-Project. As a result both (source and destination) content is similar. This option can be used to merge project data from different files into one file to make cross project analyzes.

Multiple sub project in same planning cell

One major benefit in project displaying of TILOS 8 is, that you have the possibility to display more than one Sub-project in the same Time-Distance-planning cell.
In combination with the new drag & drop functions for copying project data, this is very powerful new functionality: Plannings from different files or different states can be overlayed and compared.

Project controls, Baselining and Reporting

  • In previous versions, each sub project and baseline could be created with an own report date. Now the new baselines are working on file level and there is only one report date.
  • New created tasks, added after the baseline creation, now can be merged into existing baselines.
  • The dash board can be displayed in a cell of a view. The dashboard is showing the performance figures like progress actual and planned, schedule and cost performance index. The task base for the dashboard report can be set up by assigning a filter (e.g. take all welding tasks from different Sub-projects: Cross-Project Report for just one work type)
  • The task baseline values can be included in histograms to compare planned against actual values. The S-Curves then display planned quantities against actual achieved quantities, planned time against actual time, etc.

Mass Haulage Diagram

As a complete new functionality the Mass Haulage Diagrams has been added to TILOS Version 8.

This special new diagram displays all cut and fill areas and highlights the soil classes by different colors . The arrows are displaying the haulages between the cut and fill areas. These haulage lines can be created just by drawing on screen.

TILOS now provides an overwiew about the flow of material and also the transported quantities. Extractions, dump sites, stock piles are displayed in the border area of the Mass Haulage diagram.
The mass balance curve displays the balance between cut and fill calculated from the left side. Ideally this curve should be zero at the end.

The cut (blue) and fill (gold) tasks can be generated automatically from the context menu of a haulage line. The task quantity is set by the haulage quantity while duration is calculated from the work rate.
The time histograms displaying planned cut quantities per week, the summary curve displays the stock pile of the crushing zone.
The planning of big mass movements are more easy and transparent with the new functionality. It is included in the controlling concept along with TILOS.

Data Exchange

All exchange modules have been adapted to the new data structure. To shorten the number of clicks, the addon modules can now directly communicate with TILOS online. No need to create and read xml files any more, as long as both applications run on the same machine.
The XML-Exchange-Profiles can be included in the TILOS file itself.

Data exchange is now much easier and more comprehensive.

Google Earth Addon

One of the most interesting aspects of TILOS 8 is the new Google Earth add-on component. Just a couple of clicks are required to visualize your project on the globe.
We have already published that:

http://blog.tilos.org/development/tilos-version-8-contains-google-earth-integration/

 

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The concept of Linear Scheduling (Part 2)

Other Features

Spend profiles and resource histograms

Spend profiles and resource histograms are simple to create once costs are added to labour, equipment and materials used in the march chart.  Figure 9 illustrates an example where the weekly cost per crew and the total cumulative cost is presented in a histogram and table.  It is also possible to display the resource histogram per week (or month or day) to determine camp requirements.   Spend profiles are a function of time and are displayed parallel to the time axis of the march chart. It is also possible to create a spend profile parallel to the distance axis to show the cost per section of the pipeline.  Any changes to the march chart (i.e. crew moves) would automatically create a change to the spend profile.

Weekly Spend Profile (per crew with weekly and cumulative totals)

 Applying work and speed profiles to crews

Most estimates, schedules and march charts assume a consistent productivity (or work) rate for each pipeline crew along the ROW. This productivity factor is then applied for the entire length of the spread to determine the duration of each crew.  Applying a constant productivity rate for a crew doesn’t account for changes in profile, soil, terrain (muskeg versus mineral soil conditions) or vegetation type.

For example, a logging crew that has a productivity rate of 2000 m/day would require 15 days to complete a 30 km ROW.  While this provides a rough estimate it doesn’t account for productivity rates based on changes in vegetation types or whether there is any logging required in certain areas (for example an old burn area that doesn’t have  any salvageable timber).

The following examples (Figure 10 and Figure 11) illustrate the difference when a vegetation classification system is used to define the productivity rates for a logging and clearing crew in a Northern pipeline spread. In this example the vegetation data and productivity rates for both crews in a particular location were imported directly into the march chart from an Excel data file supplied by a survey.

Logging and Clearing Crews with constant productivity

In Figure 10 we can see that the logging and clearing crews have very similar productivity rates and a duration of 25 and 26 days respectively for the logging and clearing crews.

The vegetation index in this example defines the amount of work (area in ha) and work rate for each vegetation type along the ROW.  Once this data is known and available in a spreadsheet format,  it is easy to apply this index to each crew as shown in Figure 11 below.  The first noticeable change is that the crews are not consistently progressing along the ROW. Each crew line now reflects a different productivity rate with each change in vegetation type.  More importantly we can see that the duration for each crew has changed significantly.  Logging has decreased from 25 days to 16 days while the duration for Clearing has increased from 26 days to 40 days!

Logging and Clearing optimized by vegetation index

This approach could easily be used in any other geographic location where a known variable impacts the work rate of crews along a ROW. The ability to define productivity in terms of the ROW conditions will enable you to create a more accurate project plan and spend profile when compared to simply applying a uniform rate to each crew.

Applying a speed profile to a crew, based on known changes in productivity, creates a more accurate picture of how the crew is moving along the pipeline ROW (Figure 12).

Crew Speed profile

Progressing March Charts

Progressing crews on a march chart requires the start KP, end KP and the date range for each progress period (based on the inspector field reports) is applied. The exception to linear meters would be counting the number of welds (usually back end welds) or the number of UPI items (such as bag weights).

Figure 13 (below) shows progress for both the grade and the haul & string crews.  Progressing is as simple as selecting a crew by clicking on it, right click and select enter progress.  Enter the start

Progressing Crews in March Charts

and end date for the progress period and the start and end KP.  The march chart software calculates the physical percent complete based on the amount of work completed divided by the total length of the pipeline.  In this example grading is 61.02% and haul & stringing is 40.44% complete. It should be noted that this progress is for the segment that starts at KP 0+000 and ends at restricted access area, it doesn’t include the other two segments for each of these crews.

Progress Bar Charts

Progress can also be indicated in a bar chart format where each the progress of each crew is represented by a shaded bar chart.  As progress is applied to a crew the bar chart view is automatically updated to reflect this progress.  In Figure 14 the direction of build is from right (KP 162+000) to the left (KP112+000). In this example the clearing, pioneering and grade crews have completed the entire length of the spread. Haul & String are between 40% and 50% complete. The automatic welding crew has just started.

Crew Progress Bar Chart

Conclusion

The goal of this guide was to provide a comparison of traditional scheduling tools to march charts which are better suited for linear construction projects such as a pipeline.  This overview of march charts went from explaining and drawing simple lines on the march chart, to adding constructability issues (environmental restrictions) and risk (weather).  Other risks can just as easily be added to the march chart to develop a clearer picture of the pipeline job.  Creating spend profiles is simply a matter of applying costs to each crew.

As described, it is fairly easy to apply speed and work profiles to crews to connect the productivity rates to soil, timber or any other factor that will have an impact.   Progressing during project execution is dependent on the addition of crew inspector report data. Typically the start and end KP for each crew is recorded daily.  UPI items and welding may be tracked as the number installed or completed each day.

March charts connect the schedule to the geography and risks of a project in a manner that is not at all possible using non-linear methods. Hopefully this guide has helped you understand the basics of march charts and the opportunities that are possible.

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