IPAF’s ePAL app brings training into the digital era
The launch of IPAF's new ePAL app for operators of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) and mast-climbing work platforms (MCWPs) aims to bring training certification into the digital era and reduce the environmental impact involved in issuing plastic PAL cards.
The free app features the first ever digital IPAF PAL Card, operator log book and operator safety guide, and allows operators to receive the latest best practice tips and safety information, enabling operators to share qualifications with site managers quickly and easily.
Peter Douglas, IPAF CEO & MD, says: “A typical year’s output in terms of IPAF PAL Cards and certificates issued used to amount to a 130-metre stack of printed plastic and paper, shipped from supplier, to IPAF, to the IPAF Training Centre and then on to candidates. Then, after five years, the candidate would dispose of it and start again!
“The new app will lead to us reducing the number of steps in processing a PAL Card and cut down on all that waste, as well as the expense, delays and carbon emissions involved in shipping items around the globe needlessly. Developing an operator app has been a key priority for IPAF since I took up post in 2019, and we were excited to team up with IPAF member Trackunit to bring its considerable technical expertise to bear to roll this out.
“IPAF’s ePAL brings huge benefits for operators and IPAF Training Centres alike, while allowing us to streamline and digitise our processes. We are monitoring the roll-out of the new app and are already planning new functionality."
Søren Brogaard, CEO of Trackunit, IPAF member company and specialist in fleet management solutions for construction that helped develop the app, says: “This is a big step up for the industry when it comes to safety and efficiency. It has been long in the making, at least in terms of an industry wish-list, and now it is finally here.
“The app allows IPAF to communicate directly with operators and offers them a digital platform to record, show and share their qualifications and operating experience worldwide. ePAL is a commitment to enable collaboration between the operator and the digital ecosystem.
“We all know filling out paper operator logbooks and keeping them up to date can be a challenge. This app provides contractors and operators secure access to equipment and a convenient way to document machine activities. We can also use the app to encourage and make it easier to report an accident or near-miss incident through the new IPAF reporting portal. My hope is we can all contribute to building a safer, digital future for operators.”
Alan Woodage, Health and Safety Manager at Taylor Woodrow, comments: “The introduction of ePAL and digital PAL Cards is another great integration of digital technology welcomed by VINCI Construction UK. As we embrace digital technologies we become many things: More sustainable; better connected; more engaging; and, ultimately, efficient.”
Ben Hughes, Training Manager at Horizon Platforms, says: “ePAL has been something we have been waiting for, for a long time. Having a digital card, that can't be lost, broken or stolen, will cut down significantly on the admin demands of being an IPAF training centre, as well as being much more convenient for our customers.”
IPAF ePAL app is available now in the UK and Ireland. It is initially offered in English with other languages to follow, and is available for Apple iOS and Android devices. The app will be updated with additional features as usage demands and developing technology allows.
SafeAI attracts $21m funding as SmartMix AI tool launches
SafeAI is driving the transformation of the mining and construction industries through connected, autonomous sites. With chronic labour shortages, unsafe working conditions and frequent project delays, these industries are in a unique position to benefit from autonomy.
Unlike on-road applications of the technology, autonomous heavy equipment operates in controlled environments, which means companies can create smarter, safer, more productive project sites today that create meaningful, near-term impact.
“We are at a tipping point for autonomous heavy equipment,” said Bibhrajit Halder, founder and CEO at SafeAI. “We’ve proven that autonomy makes work sites significantly safer and more productive; now, we are on the cusp of mass adoption. Together with our valued partners, customers and investors, we’re poised to deploy autonomy in off-road industries like construction and mining, at scale, to rethink the way heavy industry operates.”
Heavy industry is a large, growing global market, ripe for disruption. The construction equipment market alone is valued at $140 billion, and expected to increase to $175 billion by 2025; construction-related spending accounts for a staggering 13% of global GDP, or $11.5 trillion.
But there remains significant room for growth; in construction alone, higher productivity could create an estimated $1.6 trillion in additional value. With just 25% of the infrastructure needed by 2050 in existence today, autonomy can bridge this productivity gap with greater efficiency and 24/7 operations. SafeAI is at the forefront of this transformation.
“There’s a tremendous amount of excitement in the autonomy space today; but it’s clear the biggest opportunity for this technology is off-road,” said Mark Blackwell, General Partner at Builders VC. “With its industry-leading autonomous software, scalable retrofit approach and partner ecosystem, SafeAI is uniquely poised to capitalize on this opportunity. We’re proud to support the company in its next chapter of growth as demand for autonomous heavy equipment continues to skyrocket.”
New investors LTC, DG Ventures, MACA and Vimson Group, and existing investors Autotech Ventures, Brick and Mortar Ventures, Embark Ventures, Monta Vista Capital and Obayashi Corporation, also participated in the round. The funding comes on the heels of a year of rapid growth for SafeAI, including new partnerships with Obayashi, Goodyear and Macnica, and expansion into Australia’s booming mining market.
A pilot program with Obayashi Corporation last November saw a Caterpillar 725 articulated dump truck autonomously complete a vital on-site function and carry out load-haul-dump cycles.
Giatec debuts SmartMix AI tool
Giatec has debuted what it claims is the world's first concrete AI tool for producers, SmartMix. The web-based AI tool allows producers to optimise concrete ingredient proportions, reduce cement usage, and predict the performance of their mixes while still meeting project specifications.
Giatec believes this tool will lower Greenhouse Gas emissions resulting from concrete production by 400 million tons annually, the equivalent of taking 110 million cars off the road.
SmartMix builds on Giatec's first AI software program Roxi, which has collected millions of data points from the company's SmartRock wireless concrete sensors across 8,000 projects and 80 countries.
Giatec's head of research and development, Andrew Fahim, said the new technologies are going to pave the path forward for the industry to meet increasing infrastructure demands.