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LafargeHolcim, IBM in partnership to develop road design optimization solution

A major boost is on the way for road design in Nigeria as LafargeHolcim, the global leader in building materials and solutions, seals pact with IBM Services to further develop ORIS, the first digital platform for road design optimization.

Whereas LafargeHolcim, as a company, is active in four business segments including cement, aggregates, ready-mix concrete and solutions, and Products, IBM Services works at the intersection of strategy, creativity and technology to help clients digitally reinvent their businesses.

As a design solution, ORIS comes with lots of benefits as it can reduce road project costs by up to one-third and carbon emissions by up to half while tripling road durability and usage life-span.

It allows decision-makers, road infrastructure authorities and project investors to improve road construction and sustainability and reduce inefficiencies through smart project design. This is especially timely as governments design stimulus packages to revive economic activity post-Covid-19 while also responding to the impact of climate change.

An average of 700,000 kilometres (435,000 miles) of new roads are being built globally every year. Improving road quality and resilience will help reduce the massive amount of carbon emissions attributed to transportation.

Because roads vary, depending on location, climate, vehicle types and traffic volumes, it is a complex challenge to define the most sustainable and cost-effective mix of building materials and technologies early in the design phase and this is where technology like ORIS calls.

ORIS assesses road pavement designs from different perspectives and recommends efficient construction and maintenance patterns with local materials availability and capabilities. It is supporting public policies that conserve natural resources, enabling a more local and circular economy in road construction.

“We are accelerating the digitalization of our solutions for sustainable and high-performance construction,” said Marcel Cobuz, Region Head of Europe, and a member of the executive committee with responsibility for innovation at LafargeHolcim on a global level.

“With global solutions like ORIS, we are committed to leading the way in low-carbon and circular construction as well as responsible natural resource consumption for roads and beyond. We have already entered into pilots with different partners such as road authorities, international financing institutions and engineering firms to use ORIS in both developed and emerging markets,” he added.

It is expected that LafargeHolcim will leverage IBM’s portfolio of digital platforms, hybrid clouds, digital design services, as well as IBM’s expertise in machine learning, artificial intelligence, industrial Internet-of-Things and data analytics to enhance further its materials knowledge in cement and ready-mix concrete products, as well as its solutions and products.

“Data-driven solutions and digital technologies have the potential to transform road construction towards more sustainable, circular, low-carbon, low-resource and cost-efficient techniques,” says Hervé Rolland, Vice President, industrial solutions at IBM Europe.

According to him, ORIS is instrumental in recommending appropriate and tailored approaches to road-building, thus minimizing costs, environmental impacts and project delays.

“IBM Services help businesses establish the right industry-relevant platforms that support rapid digitization, standardization and simplification, as well as vertically integrating both industrial and business operations,” he explained.

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