“As the engineering team for the built environment, while we are not directly touching our customers, we have a really important role to play so that Bayer can ultimately reach our customers globally.” - Jaco van der Westhuizen, team lead for capital project expansions in Africa
Innovation is Key to Growing a Healthier World
In 1897, only 34 years into its founding, Bayer went global with the “drug of the century”—aspirin—and the future course was set. Crop Science launched as a division in 2002, globally headquartered in Monheim, Germany, with South African headquarters in Isando, Gauteng. As the first legally independent Bayer subgroup, Crop Science has one of the largest research budgets in the business and a powerful mandate: to develop new integrated solutions to help farmers and communities feed and protect our planet.
The Row Crop Seeds organization in South Africa utilized Matterport when a project needed expert 3D point-cloud scanning. Jaco van der Westhuizen, team lead for the capital project expansions in Africa, overseeing interdisciplinary engineering teams that design processing facilities to produce various seeds, explains:
“Our specific scenario was to digitize and integrate a legacy design process into a new greenfield site facility, and to make sure that we had design material in a highly accurate, digital format.”
Prior to using Matterport’s digital twin platform, Jaco’s engineering teams often had all kinds of legacy site information to combine, or worse, sometimes had none at all and would have to hire an architect or mechanical designer to manually create it. That entailed traveling on-site, drawing up site plans, building and equipment sketches, or conducting existing condition surveys, then creating the digital footprint, which could take the best part of one to two weeks.
But that documentation workflow came with challenges. Says Jaco, “The moment you are back at home, you realize that you didn't capture a specific brace element or something that is impacting the design. Or sometimes we only found that out during the construction phase.”
Using Matterport, Jaco’s team was able to easily obtain multiple file types to use in their design, including 2D floor plans, a photorealistic 3D model, and BIM assets delivered from their Matterport digital twin’s point cloud data directly in a LOD (level of detail) 200 Revit file. This integrated into their building information modeling methodologies, creating a valuable parallel work stream. While the design team was progressing with the new phase of the design, Matterport simultaneously enabled Bayer to create the same digital quality for their legacy systems to interface together in the larger design phase.
The team is now able to integrate a legacy process with the new workflow process, making sure that both connections of those interfaces are highly accurate. This, according to Jaco, “benefits the construction timeline and project management team, and ultimately the biggest beneficiary is the construction team on site when the physical build is seamless and running according to plan.”
Jaco explains that a complex project, like a greenfield project, could touch about 50 cross-functional people, including leadership that supports it, the internal customer team, the engineering team, cost engineers, and the discipline leads. So having a tool that can integrate with building information modeling software to make complicated 3D conditions easily understandable by all, regardless of level of technical expertise is absolutely valuable. Going from a very high level to a very granular detail level cuts across all the resources and users in that space.
Jaco’s team enjoys using the digital twin as a visual aid to communicate in a collaborative way, immersing the end users and suppliers of their global engineering group to explain what they are doing and to walk site personnel through that process without any travel required, saving time and costs for Bayer. Instead of trying to explain to the design engineers in a virtual meeting environment, they can immersively bring them there, as Jaco puts it, “As if you are inviting them on a business trip to the specific facility.” In another project, Jaco’s team shared the Matterport digital twin of a facility with an external services provider after receiving a cost proposal. The opportunity to navigate the space together with the supplier reduced their cost calculation, preventing a contracted price that was overbid.
The improved, digitized project workflows and communication come at a whopping savings to Bayer as well.
“The traditional way would have been to have a physical team present on a specific site. So that includes flights, hotel costs, and the man-hour cost of the team. And if we compare that to the Matterport scenario, we really cut down on the cost in terms of having people multiple times down to a specific area. It could be multiple locations that we have to get to in a calendar year. We're cutting down on that cost and really making sure that a one-time capture gives you the highest amount of quality and multiple reuse opportunities. It’s absolutely valuable. For us, that easily translates into a saving of around $80,000 per year,” says Jaco.
Bayer’s Crop Science division’s mandate to develop new integrated solutions that help farmers and communities feed and protect our planet reverberates through their use of Matterport’s digital twin technology and powerful SaaS functionality.
Jaco summarizes, “In the design space, as atoms are the building blocks of life, data are the building blocks of a connected, efficient world. So Bayer's vision, ‘Health for all, Hunger for none’ is really enabled by delivering a digital end-to-end value stream.