Creagh Concrete

Creagh Concrete is one of the UK’s largest producers of concrete products for a diverse range of market sectors. Creagh is leading the market with innovation in concrete, providing new solutions across the construction industry.

About Creagh Concrete

Creagh Concrete is one of the UK’s largest producers of concrete products for a diverse range of market sectors. Creagh is leading the market with innovation in concrete, providing new solutions across the construction industry.

Creagh is changing the way people think about concrete, bringing new levels of efficiency and performance to their products, with Spantherm thermally efficient flooring and Rapidres, an offsite fastrack build system.

Driven by their principles and fuelled by passion, Creagh is committed to quality and excellence. Maintaining the highest standards in everything they do is simply the Creagh way.

Creagh Concrete and Made Smarter Innovation Sustainability Accelerator

Neil Ward, Chief Operating Officer, said:

“The team at Made Smarter Innovation Sustainability Accelerator has been very beneficial for our company, encouraging, leveraging and simulating alternative thinking and discussion resulting in the best approach to our business challenges. What we valued most was the availability of expertise signposting us to innovators which meets the needs of our business model – we didn’t have an available resource to research the marketplace for solution providers thereby limiting our reach and the potential success of the solution for our business.”

Challenge 1 – End to end life cycle tracking of custom concrete facades/products

Challenge Background

To increase energy efficiency, resource efficiency and productivity, for this challenge, Creagh is seeking a tracking solution to track the life cycle of a product for the purpose of digitalising their manufacturing process to achieve goals in sustainability. Creagh’s estate covers a massive 70 acres, including plants, workshops and an open area.

Part of Creagh’s business is the production of custom concrete facades that have various complexities and parameters in their design. Each facade begins its journey as a computer-aided design (CAD) drawing and makes its way through Creagh’s facility until it leaves as a finished product on the back of a lorry to a building site.

Each stage of this lifecycle takes part in different areas of the site for different periods of time and can vary depending on factors such as weather, labour resources, design complexity and client deadlines.

Creagh’s current infrastructure and ways of working do not allow for metrics around a product’s lifecycle to be measured. This means there is no visibility on an asset’s location, how long it spent in a specific stage or who was directly responsible for a stage in the life cycle.

For this Challenge

Creagh Concrete is looking to take their first step into digitalising their production facility with a sustainable aim in mind. By focusing on developing an asset tracking solution they would be able to create visibility in their ways of working and analyse metrics that they were blind to or have had little visibility over.

Creagh’s vision is to build a solution that will track a prefabricated product from the moment a CAD model is printed to the point where it is loaded onto the courier truck. The two main metrics that a successful solution will measure is location history and concrete maturity.

The known location of an asset will allow Creagh to determine which stage in the life cycle the product is, allowing them to forecast completion times and optimise work schedules. Location accuracy should have a maximum of one metre radius as this will differentiate between different zones on their site.

Measuring concrete maturity will allow them to determine when moulds have cured and are ready for their next stage. It will also give insights into how well their products are performing.

In order to track assets in their current environments, a digital communication medium needs to be established and therefore the successful companies will be able to provide infrastructure to enable this, as well as developing a solution on top of this infrastructure.

Creagh will look favourably upon companies who can provide analytics and metrics beyond that of localisation and concrete maturity.

Creagh is interested in:

  • Set up a radio network that can provide site wide coverage in order to track assets and create a communication medium
  • Desired items to track are; finished products (large concrete slabs), tools, labour time spent in a specific area, high value tools
  • Metrics that would be of interest to track are localisation of asset, including historical timeline, conditional monitoring of asset, (i.e. temperature, humidity)

Challenge 2 – Data analytics for manufacturing process

Challenge Background

Creagh Concrete aspires to increase confidence in their weekly plans with the aim of reducing waste and increasing productivity. This is not easy to achieve due to the high volume and high variability of units produced by Creagh. By taking a data-driven approach to planning, Creagh will be able to produce plans with a high degree of confidence and therefore increase resource and energy efficiency and reduce waste.

Within Creagh’s manufacturing pipeline, there is a specific manufacturing process that is concerned with the production of its precast concrete frames and panels that constitutes the highest value section of its pipeline. As it currently stands, data collection and therefore analysis of this pipeline is an area of focus that Creagh is looking to improve upon through working with selected tech innovators.

This manufacturing process takes place within a specific shed on Creagh’s site. This shed will be the central location for this challenge and any developed solutions.There is Wi-Fi in the shed so the selected tech innovators in this challenge can use the current network.

For this Challenge

Creagh Concrete is interested in a two-phase solution, where the proof of concept in phase one will create the foundations for improving the planning of its work through the use of a system for collecting and analysing data from the precast manufacturing process. Applicants to this challenge will be given the opportunity to be walked through the manufacturing process step by step at a stage in the application process.

Applicants would be expected to deploy a system that is able to collect and analyse data about each of the manufacturing steps and the factory operatives involved in those steps.

The two critical pieces of information that Creagh expects to be collected are:

  1. The number of minutes each task takes
  2. Which factory operative is completing each task

Applicants that are able to also collect and analyse further pieces of data of manufacturing operations will be more favourably judged.

This data will be used to better inform the planning process, identifying common issues, sources of inefficiencies and opportunities for improving the manufacturing process, increasing resource efficiency and reducing waste. Examples could include a computer vision based system that monitors progress or embedded sensors that record information on the state of the product at all stages of production. However, the challenge is not restricted to just these types of systems.

Any solutions developed through the timeline of this challenge may be standalone, however there is an expectation that they are eventually able to integrate with Creagh’s current production record system and future enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Applicants that are able to show consideration for this requirement will be more favourably judged.