cablex AG | Tannackerstrasse 7 | 3073 Gümligen |

12/03/2020  /  Carolin Primerova

Digital Twin.

cablex implements virtual tunnel training for SBB.

New technologies offer many ways to create a digital map (digital twin) of an entire infrastructure. Technical systems are extremely cost-intensive to operate. To maintain reliable transport operation while taking safety and environmental aspects into account, potential risks must be evaluated and safeguarded against well into the future. The Test and Training Facility of the Ceneri Base Tunnel is a practical example of how cablex uses digital solutions to simplify processes. cablex implemented the project, called TUSA 4, on behalf of SBB.

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The Test and Training Facility of the Ceneri Base Tunnel is a practical example of how cablex uses digital solutions to simplify processes. cablex implemented the project, called TUSA 4, on behalf of SBB. 

Statement Andreas Tondi, Project Manager GLCM, SBB

"The Ceneri Base Tunnel is a highly frequented rail route. Therefore, servicing the operating installations is extremely important for us. To avoid disruption to train services, maintenance can only be carried out during restricted times. So it is important to have well trained personnel in order to increase efficiency. It is also not feasible to train maintenance staff in the tunnel. For us, the possibility to train in virtual reality is a big step into the digital future!"

The "Test and Training Facility".

TUSA is short for "Test- und Schulungsanlage" (English:Test and Training Facility). TUSA aims to train an infrastructure operator's staff – in this case SBB – in the operation, maintenance and servicing of technical systems. Technical installations are often located in remote and difficult to access places; access also often involves a certain amount of potential danger.

In the practical example of TUSA 4, cablex created a digital image of the Ceneri Base Tunnel's technical installations located at Cross Passage 17. This allows training courses to be conducted virtually, rather than on the real installations in the tunnel or on expensive and static replicas. To this end, the installations were realistically and comprehensively mapped and simulated in virtual reality.

To make this possible, from January to March 2019, eight BIM drafters created a 3D model of Cross Passage 17 and 400 metres of tunnel in the east and west tunnels of the Ceneri Base Tunnel (CBT) from 2D plans. Staring in March 2019, an external partner spent three months animating the 3D models in the VR environment. Step by step, the digital twin of the Ceneri Base Tunnel was impressively brought to life.

Following customer specifications, 23 different training scenarios were configured with the 3D models. When students put on the VR goggles, they are immediately transported to the virtual tunnel. Gamification encourages them to interact and learn with the Systems.

Quality assurance of the training courses.

To date, 10 main training topics have been defined, and a total of 23 training scenarios mapped. There is a "free mode", in which the user can move freely in the virtual environment of the cross passage, and a training mode. Students are initially introduced to each of the 23 scenarios with a training video. Next, they have to solve the training tasks themselves with the help of the VR system. 

In the last training section, students have to solve the corresponding scenario without support in expert mode. The VR system analyses students' actions, evaluates them and creates a report on the learning progress.

This ensures that SBB can always access the exams taken and the corresponding certificates.

The training wall in the Biasca training centre.

Studies show that VR training is more sustainable than training in the real world. Nevertheless, Biasca has a "real" training wall in addition to the VR training. The wall contains part of the technology that can also be found in Cross Passage 17 of the Ceneri Base Tunnel. It is used to simulate the effects of actions in the virtual cross passage. The VR environment and the wall communicate with each other. For example, if you operate the light switch in virtual reality, you can see how the light also illuminates the wall. In addition, haptic experience with the technology can be trained here.

The advantages of virtual training at a glance.

  • The VR training system is always available; training courses can be repeated as often as needed.
  • Theoretically, any number of students can be trained at the same time, as the training environment can be easily reproduced.
  • The VR training is not location-bound. Hence there are no travel costs and expenses.
  • The quality and planning reliability of the training are consistently high.

Gavan Collett

Head of Digitalisation

"Our vision is to deliver a specialised software platform for construction projects that enables the seamless and 100% transparent implementation of any construction project across all phases, from the initial idea to optimal operation – in other words, the "digital construction site".

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What do we offer our customers in the field of digitalisation?



Just imagine you could digitally map your entire infrastructure project – from the initial idea through planning and construction and even operation. As the most significant partner for Swiss network construction, we are a driving force behind digital transformation. Join us in this mission and help shape the digital transformation in your own organisation – together with cablex. 

Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Building information modelling (BIM) combines software tools and management disciplines to digitise and standardise the planning, creation and operating processes of a construction project and make them available and fully transparent to all parties involved. This increases project efficiency over the entire lifecycle and minimises outlay in terms of time, resources and costs. 

The digital construction site.

The digital construction site.

cablex uses dbA² NG, which was specially developed in house, as a central data management platform for the digital construction site. The dbA² NG platform supports all the stakeholders of a construction project through the phases of the SIA 112 performance model, from phase 1 "Strategic planning" up to phase 6 "Operation". Here, the platform provides a functional, logically-structured and easy-to-use user interface for entering and processing project data. 

Virtual Reality.

Virtual Reality.

The digital twin can also be used to create virtual 3D representations of a building – what is referred to as virtual reality. To achieve this, 3D model data from the dbA² NG platform is processed so it can be displayed in 3D glasses together with documentation and engineering data. 

Augmented Reality.

Augmented Reality.

To provide professional support for installation and maintenance work, cablex uses augmented reality (AR). The purpose of the application is to provide the user with all the information needed to perform their tasks in context-sensitive and user-friendly AR glasses. 

Cable management.

Cable management.

Geographic information systems are indispensable when planning technical installations in large structures or over long distances. cablex uses LIDS 7 from Asseco BERIT for cable planning and management. LIDS is an open geographical information system and resource management tool in one and was developed to collect, manage and analyse spatially oriented data in institutions of all sizes and areas.

cablex AG | Tannackerstrasse 7 | 3073 Gümligen | Phone 0848 222 539 | cablex.info@cablex.ch