Have you ever asked yourself how to display an infrastructure project in a Gantt diagram – in a proper way?

Location based Scheduling is the main target of TILOS – Time Location Scheduling.

See below a Gantt Diagram structured by Location coming along with the correspondent Location Maps – converted from a Time-Location-Diagram.

Click at the sample pictures to enlarge and watch out for TILOS Version 9!

Time Location Diagram

Time Location Diagram of a Sample Infrastructure Project

Arrows

Structured Gantt Diagram with Location Maps of the same Project

Structured Gantt Diagram with Location Maps of the same Project

 

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New TILOS Version 9 is presented at InnoTrans 2014 in Berlin

On many construction sites in Europe and all over the world TILOS has successfully proved on minor and major construction projects.
The development goes on and Linear project will present TILOS 9 for the first time on the InnoTrans fair in Berlin from September 23 to 26 2014.

The major goal for the version 9 release is: Improving the methods of structuring projects and their visualization.

Task Grouping is displayed in most Gantt chart based systems using headlines and summary tasks. A direct link to the location is not possible. Grouping in TILOS can display coloured vertical ribbons with graphics attached left to the text panel. The location is includes in such charts and this improves the understanding an communication of work execution.

TILOS Version 9: A grouped Gantt Chart with Sitemaps

TILOS Version 9: A grouped Gantt Chart with Sitemaps (Click to download full pdf plan)

The task boxes can be formatted with text, logos (responsibility) and traffic light indicators similar to the cards in planning tables.

The same project structure now can be visualized also in the time distance diagram by using WBS or category summary tasks. Those are calculated from the task categories or WBS. The time and the distance coordinates of the detailed tasks are summed up to the structure above. This is ideal for displaying top level plans from detailed data set.

The detailed activity data can be imported from Primavera, MS Project and ASTA Powerproject with all the structures included. Only the graphics for the WBS or category nodes have to be assigned as well as company logos for the executing companies.

The new pure location links in TILOS 9 allow to set distance coordinates based on links in a similar way to time coordinates during the reschedule. Planning locations is then much easier and more flexible now.
Example: One driving task in a tasks group (process) can define the distance to work on both: Predecessors and successors.

The full list of all functions of TILOS 9 will be published soon.

Please visit us at the InnoTrans!
You find us: Hall CityCube Berlin A booth 508

 

 

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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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Video blog: Displaying different projects with different distance scales on one page

See how to create a second Time-distance-diagram, that contains a different project. That method can be used either for showing separate distance areas in one project but also to display different stages of the same project: Displaying the main schedule and a scenario schedule on one page.

Video:


This video ist hosted by youtube. please change to the best resolution availlable in the bottom settings bar.
(Direct link to the video: http://youtu.be/sdE0xfJc6ow)

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How to import activities to TILOS from a simple Primavera Excel-Output

Primavera P6 allows to put activity data in an Excel Spreadsheet. This small guide is showing how to set up the TILOS Excel import profile in order to create a TILOS chart fast and easy.

1. Preparation

a. Location information:
In Primavera create the activity user defined fields “FromLocation” and “ToLocation”. For each activity in question fill the location values. (e.g.12’580).

b. Template information (Display of the TILOS tasks)
One activity field is necessary to contain the TILOS task template information in order control the display of the task in TILOS.  You may use codings that are containing all names of the TILOS task template. (e.g Code “Welding”, that points to the task template “Welding” in TILOS.)

c. activity selection (Filter)
In most cases not all activities shall be transported. Please use a filter to select the activities to export.

d. Export to Excel file
For Primavera output use the predefined P6 activity fields and add the user defined fields for template code and FromLocation and ToLocation.
The Output file looks similar to that sample: On the page “TASK” you find some columns containing you activity data. The table has two headlines.
(You may also export the Links in the Excel file. In this case for links there will be a page “TASKPRED”.)

Primavera Excel Export

e. Prepare the TILOS file
Adjust the Time-Distance-Diagram to show the time and distance range fitting to the activity data.
Approve, that all activity templates are existing and the display is set up correctly

 2. Importing into TILOS

  • In  TILOS choose “File -> Import” to call the Import Wizard.
  • Import Wizard Step one (Import format): Choose “Microsoft Excel (XLS)” (Note: You have to licene that module)
  • Import Wizard Step two (Data source): Select the xls file that cotains the data.
  • Import Wizard Step three: (Select profile): Select the template profile “Primavera Import Sample WBS as Task field”.
    Once you have to change the profile to match your spreadsheet. Later you may reuse it.

Here are some important hints:
The Format m/d/yyyy h:nn:ss AM/PM describes the Standard US date formatting Primavera uses for the dates.You may adjust that to your local settings.
TILOS Import: Formatting

Number 3: Edit the activity field list used in the spreadsheet. The fields and the number of the columns in the spreadshee has to match:

TILOS Import, Fieldlist

  • Import Wizard Step four (Sub-Project selection):  Choose the subproject the data should be inserted in.

During the import the Wizard is doing.

  • Creating each line as a task with the desired field values
  • Assigning the Template (Display) for each task
  • Checking the Task-Id: if this task is already existing there will be no new task created. Only the values will be updated on the existing task

 

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How to insert watermark or background images?

How to add signs for draft or confidential / copyright information to a plan?

There is an easy solution using the layer fuctions to display graphics or texts in the backgound in any cell:

  • Please create a Layer and name it “watermark”.
  • Insert the pictures/objects into the desired cell in the normaly way.
  • Assign the pictures/objects to the layer “watermark”

Now use the layer order and move the layer watermark to the bottom, even beneath the calendar layer:

All objects assigned to this layers are now displayed behind all other objects in the background.

Tipps:

  • Unselect the Display-Flag and and select the Print-Flag for the Watermark layer to make the watermark invisible on screen, but still printed.
  • Unselect the Active-Flag for the Watermark layer: Now the assigned objects canot be selected – and not be moved by accidant.

The layer oder and layer visibility can also be used to order tasks and other objects

– and especially – to hide and show special information on a schedule.

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How to set up tasks with transparent background – for displaying overlapping tasks?

Sometimes you need to display multiple tasks at the same place – or need to overlap each other. TILOS has the possibility to use transparent colors, that support the desplay of overlapping tasks. The transparent color can be set not only as a solid background color but also as a transparent part of a pattern.

Take the tagged color from the color picker to select the transparent color:

 

 

 

Create different looking transparent task shapes:

Addition:

Use the object order and the layer order additionally to order the tasks and get the desired look by this way.

 

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The concept of Linear Scheduling (Part 1)

Introduction

Traditional scheduling software for the construction industry is dominated by Primavera, Microsoft Project, Power Project and others.  All of these solutions provide opportunity to develop a series of activities that are logically connected to provide a sequence of events from project start to finish.  While these tools are very powerful, they are designed for the construction of buildings and other facilities (power generating stations, refineries, etc.) and are not adequate for the constructability issues and demands of building a linear project  such as a pipeline, rail system or roadway.  The definition of a linear project is where a series of crews move, in sequence, along a ROW (right-of-way) during construction.

March charts (also known as Time-Distance charts) have been widely used in linear projects, particularly in Europe and the U.K.  This methodology is newer to the Americas, but is rapidly gaining widespread acceptance.   March charts are often hand drawn, prepared in Microsoft Excel or in a drawing program such as AutoCAD.   Linear planning and scheduling software that automates the development of the plan and progressing is relatively recent (last 15 years or so).  Key advantages of march charts are that the schedule are connected to the geography of the ROW and any constructability issues that are important to the project.

The intent of “The concept of linear scheduling” is to provide an overview of how to interpret and use march charts with an emphasis on using some of the linear planning software tools that are currently available.  A list of software is provided at the end of this appendix.

The Basics

Differences between Gantt and March Charts

Gantt charts are familiar to anyone that has planned and scheduled a project. The planner creates a series of activities based on the project execution plan and then logically connects these activities (Finish-Start, Start-Start, Finish-Finish and Start-Finish).  Resources can be added to each activity schedule and resource loading can be easily displayed.  In order to maintain crew sequencing in a pipeline project the planner would make sure that each activity is connected to its successor by a Start-Start and a Finish-Finish relationship.  A typical Gantt chart for a pipeline job is shown in Figure 1.

Traditional Gantt Chart

This Gantt charts clearly shows each activity with the start and end date of each activity. Any progress would be shown on the Gantt chart as the percent complete for each task. The problem with a traditional Gantt chart is that reporting that a bending crew is 45 % complete is quite meaningless because these traditional tools assume that progress is from start to finish and there is no connection between progress and the geography of the ROW.  The ability to include crew moves, permitting delays, environmental restrictions and other construction issues is not possible.

A march chart on the other hand displays these same crews as a series of lines moving along the ROW.  Each crew is logically connected to its successor with Start-Start and/or Finish-Finish relationships.  Completed sections are easily identified with crew moves, crossings and environmental windows clearly visible on a march chart. Using same example, a march chart will clearly display what 45% of the ROW has been completed by the bending crew and how any moves or ROW access issues have impacted the progress.

A typical march chart (Figure 2) in its most basic form shows each crew represented by a different line type. Usually distance along the ROW is horizontal and increases from the left to the right. Time is typically represented vertically, increasing from bottom to top (although it can just as easily be shown increasing top to bottom). It should be noted that the orientation of the time and distance axes is a matter of personal preference and can easily be switched in the software.

The advantage of march charts is immediately obvious as you can easily determine the location of each crew at a particular point in time.  Any issues associated with crew productivity rates are also readily apparent. For example, the red arrow in Figure 2 indicates that, based on the productivity of each crew, the lower-in crew will overtake the ditching crew between KP 25+000 and 30+000. This was not obvious in the Gantt chart view (Figure 1).

Simple March Chart

In a march chart the slope of the activity indicates the relative productivity rate for the crew.  The steeper the slope, the slower the crew is moving (because more time is spent and less distance is completed). Non-work periods, such as scheduled days off or work stoppages appear as vertical segments on the crew line.  A vertical line indicates that time is passing, but the crew is not moving. Figure 3 shows an example where the grade crew is moving slower (468 m/day) than the Haul and String crew (600m/day) with each crew working a 6 day 10h shift rotation. The green bars across the march chart, and the short vertical jumps in each crew, indicate the day off each week.  This march chart shows that grading has to start about 18 days ahead of string in order to keep these crews from overlapping.

The productivity rates that are displayed are calculated automatically by the march chart software based on duration and length of each task.

For clarity and ease of explanation, all of the following examples in this guide will only show a few representative pipeline crews.  Typically each crew is assigned to a different layer of the march chart so that the planner can display one or many crews simultaneously by activating the layers.

Productivity Rates and Slope

 Constructability Issues

With a basic understanding of these march chart elements a march chart can be further enhanced to display any other critical elements of your project. These can include the ROW profile, crossings, environmental restrictions and land acquisitions.  Other elements such as vegetation type, soil type and rainfall data can also be included on the march chart.  The amount and type of information shown on a march chart is determined by the project team.

ROW Profile

The ROW profile is important in developing the hydro-test plan and to determine productivity rate changes based on elevation (discussed later in the section on speed profiles). Most profile data (LIDAR or survey) is available in a spreadsheet format and can be easily imported into a profile diagram using the import function of the march chart software to generate the ROW profile as seen below in Figure 4.

Elevation Profile and Restricted ROW Access

Restricted ROW Access

Construction of the pipeline may be hampered by periods when certain parts of the ROW are not accessible. This would include environmental windows for wildlife and rare plants, permitting issues or ROW acquisition delays.

Restricted access periods are easily represented graphically on a march chart by rectangular shapes as shown in Figure 5. Once the impact of a restriction has been evaluated it may be necessary to modify the work plan to avoid working in the restricted area.   This can be done by splitting the crews so that the work that is impacted by the restricted area will be completed at a later date once the restricted period is over.  Figure 5 illustrated a move for both the grade and string crew to avoid the restricted area.  In this example, both crews skip the restricted area (1 day lag to allow for move) and continue to the end of the ROW at 30+000.  Once this work is finished, and the environmental restriction has expired, both crews move back to the restricted area and complete it in a reverse lay.  The red dashed lines indicate the logical links between each crew segment.

Restricted Access Showing Move Around

Crossings

Once the environmental or land restrictions have been established on your march chart the next step is to identify crossings. Crossing types can include foreign utilities, roads, rail or water and are important features to locate on your march chart.  The method of crossing will be dependent on the type of crossing.  Water crossings usually require an open cut (if permissible under the environmental guidelines) or will utilize a HDD (Horizontal Directional Drill). Most roads and rail crossings utilize some type of bore method while foreign utilities are exposed using a hydrovac.  Each type of crossing can be color coded on the march chart for quick and easy identification.

Figure 6 (below) shows a highway (at KP 1+793) shown in grey and a blue river crossing (KP 29+690) on the march chart.

Road and River Crossings

Stockpile locations and Valve Sites

Virtually any information that is important can be inserted into the march chart. The following example (Figure 7) shows the stockpile location (KP 26+102) and the supply zone for this pipe (KP 0+000 to KP 29+655).   It is interesting to note that stationary items (such as mainline block valves) can also be shown on a march chart.  The two valves shown in Figure 7 are represented by a series of rectangular shapes indicating different stages of installation from civil to mechanical to instrumentation and telemetry.

Stockpile Sites and Valve Locations

Weather Risk

Risks related to weather events (precipitation amounts, temperatures) are easily evaluated by overlaying meteorological data on the march chart. In the Figure 8 the different shades of blue represent average monthly rainfall amounts.  The heaviest amounts of rain occur in the lower right of the march chart (represented by a darker blue).   In this example the planner has avoided working in this area during high rainfall amounts thus reducing the risk of heavy rain impacting construction.

March chart showing monthly average rainfall data as colored backgound

 

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Getting in touch with TILOS-Software: Watch Videos

Have you already watched the TILOS Videos on the TILOS Website?

They provide an excellent and fast overview on the TILOS user interface and the way of working with time schedules along the distance axis. They are not only useful for interested people trying to get a first contact of the Software, but also for new users – seeing how to start projects and do the things in the right way.

The TILOS Videos

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