Spring 2018

Under the surface with: Joe Lawson

Under the surface with Joe Lawson 21, project development lead at Prolec

Tell us a bit about yourself

I joined Prolec straight after finishing my degree in geological oceanography at Bangor University last May. I am a passionate about watersports and I enjoy sailing and wakeboarding and spent much of my holiday time on the sea, and working on different maritime projects over the years. I think the combination of the land surveying I undertook as part of my studies, with my experience in product design and development has significantly helped me in this role.

What’s your role at Prolec?

I’m responsible for bringing together the many different experts and departments that work on Prolec’s Confident Construction system and to investigate ways of pushing the project forwards.

Confident Construction is a sophisticated suite of product enhancements based on Prolec’s PME 500 machine envelope control system and the Prolec pcX-Pro guidance system that offers efficiency and safety improvements by automatically setting height, reach and slew limits with minimal operator involvement (as previously reported in Pelican). It’s a really exciting concept which we expect to transform the construction market.

In the past, you had to set up individual safety limits for any vehicle on a construction site, then re-set those limits every time each vehicle moves. But this system allows you to set up the safety limits for the entire site in one go then load it on to any number of different machines so they can all see the same hazards and avoid them in exactly the same way.

What stage are things at?

We have our phase one system up and running with Transport for London and other development systems being tested on construction sites and highways elsewhere. The technology and concepts are continually evolving and we are working with Cranfield University on a shared project which hopes to result in a Confident Construction system with even more functionality.

What does the future hold?

The phase two system will understand three-dimensional hazards enabling the operator to work in incredibly complex environments with no risk of damage to assets. Our ultimate goal is to create a system so comprehensive and safe you can eventually take the operator out of the machine, with complete confidence that the machine understands its environment dynamically. This would allow any task in hazardous locations to be done with no danger to human life.

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