OR3D – Repairing the Road to the Olympics

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Repairing the Road to the Olympics

TeamPlatform provides a pivotal support role in a high profile construction project to fix one of UK’s busiest motorways and a major channel to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.  CAD, Scan and other 3D Formats hosted on TeamPlatform involving dozens of different sites and 5 different companies collaborating with the Olympics Games days away. The solution is a winning combination and the Olympics proceed as scheduled.


Boston Manor Viaduct built in the 1960s, is a 1.03 kilometre long steel structure that supports the M4 motorway that runs into the centre of London.   Not only is the motorway a major arterial route for London commuters but is designated as part of Olympic Route Network during the London 2012 Olympic Games.  Its purpose is to provide Games officials, athletes and the world’s media fast access to and from Heathrow airport, competition venues and other key sites.

Prior to the start of the Olympics, during routine inspection of the viaduct, hair line cracks were discovered in some of the welds.  According to the Highways Agency, 1,000 weld joints were inspected and of those, 34 needed repair.   A 7.5 tonne weight limit was imposed on the above the viaduct severely restricting traffic on the major thoroughfare with opening ceremonies looming a mere eight weeks away.

To make the viaduct operational in time for the Olympic Games, precise analysis would be required so that a custom fitted repair could be constructed for each failing weld.

The road to the Olympic Games was closed due to cracks in the welds, a fix was needed with only days remaining before opening ceremonies. Cars are being diverted and the road approaching the Olympic games is completely empty.

Boston Manor Viaduct construction site, main route for athletes, spectators to London Games. Unless the welds were analyzed and fixed, athletes were at risk of arriving late to their events. Arrows point to two of the dozens of areas requiring analysis and repair.


OR3D, a laser scanning and reverse engineering company, based in North Wales was selected to provide 3D survey data of the flange sections and produce CAD models for analysis. Working with its business partner Impossible Creations, the two-company team was tasked to design manufacturable CAD models that could be used to program CNC machines to mill custom plates.  Armed with the portable ROMER Absolute Arm portable CMM, OR3D could mobilize the measurement system to be in close proximity to all 34 joints requiring dimensional characterization.

Due to the structural sensitivity at locations needing repair, site supervisors demanded that OR3D’s must not affect the weld in any way.  Instead of using surface contact measurement with the portable CMM to characterize the joints, OR3D attached a laser scan head to the ROMER Absolute Arm and proceeded to use the sub millimetre accuracy 3D scanner to capture a very fast, highly accurate, non-contact recording of the flange’s geometry without affecting the weld in any way.

The highly detailed 3D surface scan of the weld and surrounding joint meant that bridge engineers ARUP based out of Solihull, West Midlands, could use the 3d measurements for structural analysis calculations to make informed decisions on whether a particular location required a custom CNC milled profile plate for the repair.

As the scan data of welds were captured and processed one-by-one by OR3D and Impossible Creations, the next challenge was how to effectively transfer a continual stream of data from Boston Manor to the engineers at ARUP.

3D Process and Collaboration between Organizations

Knowing that 3D scan data and CAD models would be common file types transferred during the multi-week collection phase of the project, OR3D recognized they would need a fast, flexible and reliable method to share and work on data.  OR3D called upon the online 3D project collaboration portal TeamPlatform (www.teamplatform.com) to enable joint collaboration on project data between the repair site, ARUP in Solihull, and the two CNC machine locations in Essex, Dartford and south in Portsmouth, Hampshire, who would be fabricating the custom-milled plates.

Five companies and dozens of sites were involved in this time-critical project. Map shows the amount of geographic spread of the project team including Engineering (ARUP), CAD (Impossible Creations), Machining Contractor, and 3D Scanning (OR3D).  Teams collaborated in TeamPlatform to fix the road to the Olympics.

With the tight time constraints placed on the project, it was essential that 3D scan and CAD data would be easily accessible and could be easily disseminated to the varying parties across the UK.   Since OR3D had been using a trial of TeamPlatform previously to this contract which allowed them to thoroughly evaluate the solution to ensure it met their diverse needs, the company was eager to apply the web based solution to an actual project where safe and secure storage of customer data was critical.

In addition, TeamPlatform allows users to view multiple CAD and scan data formats directly from the browser which made working together on 3D scan files, Geomagic Design X  reverse engineering files, and SolidWorks models for the final CNC machined designs more convenient and allowed the multi-company team to be much more responsive by being able to access and visualize any format of project data on demand.

Due to the fast paced nature of the job, where repair work was going on round the clock.  Cloud based storage solutions such as TeamPlatform, were they only viable solution for the demands placed on the contracting companies.

James Earl, Managing Director of OR3D commented, “As a service business, we are always looking at ways to increase efficiencies, and provide our customers with results, fast.  TeamPlatform allows us to do just that.”

“Using TeamPlatform allowed us to quickly collaborate with our business partner, milling companies, bridge engineers and main contractor.  It was a very good fit for the 3D design and measurement technologies we were using and it exceeded our expectations.”

Seamless transfer of 3D scan, geometry analyses, and a variety of CAD formats between a variety of locations across the UK meant dramatically improved communication, availability of data, and clarity in team members activities.  OR3D and the rest of the high-profile project team were able to outpace the immovable deadline of the 2012 Olympics Games opening ceremony to reopen the Boston Manor Viaduct to allow international fans and world-class athletes make it to the Olympic venues without a hitch.

Jigs allowed large area scans to be made in very confined areas. They were custom-built for the project.

Laser scanner capturing the flanges surface geometry to identify the cracks and design fixes.  



After 7 weeks of high intensity work the repair was complete. Using the latest 3D technologies and high precision mechanical engineering solutions, and TeamPlatform to connect the distributed team of engineers, machinists and consultants, the Boston Manor viaduct was able to fulfill its role in the Olympic Road Network.

TeamPlatform days before the Olympics containing CAD, Scans, Plans to fix the road to the Olympics.