Heathrow Airport has unveiled new tracking technology that will allow it to connect its network of offsite construction hubs around the UK, which will be used in the construction of a new runway.
The technology, devised by Siemens Digital Logistics, will track the millions of component parts that will be manufactured to make up the expanded airport in real time. It will allow Heathrow's four offsite hubs to work in unison throughout the project.
The final four hubs have not yet been selected although this latest announcement coincides with the last stage of the search - the launch of the Invitation To Tender (ITT). It will see the 18 shortlisted sites named in March this year make their final case to the airport, demonstrating that they have the diverse supply chain, local support and the skills the project requires. Contractors Balfour Beatty and Graham Group are among the shortlisted companies.
The final four sites will be announced next year.
When constructing Terminal 2, parts of the new building such as the car park were assembled in Northern Ireland before being transported to Heathrow. This approach allowed for several tasks to be completed simultaneously in different locations, instead of being concentrated at one congested building site, reducing the amount of time and money spent on the terminal's construction.
With the expansion of Heathrow, offsite assembly will be used on a much bigger scale on more sites across the country.
Emma Gilthorpe, executive director of Heathrow Expansion said: "Expansion secured the overwhelming support of MPs across the country because it was clear that the project would deliver for every region in the UK.
"This announcement sees two exciting opportunities coming together, as we green light a ground-breaking solution from an Innovation Partner with the final step in our search for Expansion Logistics Hubs.