Digitalisation in construction

How innovation is accelerating track construction

High resource consumption, a shortage of skilled workers and insufficient digitalisation are the three main issues currently facing the construction sector. Rhomberg Sersa has risen to these challenges, taking a major step into the future of track construction with innovative new projects.

Text: Michael Lieberherr and Andreas Heer,

The construction of rail infrastructure is immensely challenging, involving tight time frames, night shifts and hard, hazardous physical labour. In a tunnel, for example, the lack of space means the number of machines or workers cannot simply be doubled. And a non-operational or incorrectly positioned rail wagon could delay work to an unacceptable level.


Meticulous planning is therefore essential. In many cases, digitalisation, planning and implementation could be simplified with information about the machines and end-to-end simulation of the construction site on a digital twin. However, when construction companies attempt digitalisation projects like this, they often fail because they lack focus or the right culture.

Increasing efficiency with digitalisation

But family business Rhomberg Sersa has risen to the challenge, in collaboration with Swisscom. Co-owner Hubert Rhomberg says: “We need innovation to become more sustainable and efficient. The construction industry produces a huge volume of emissions. In terms of organisation, it’s also highly fragmented.”


In this project, heavy machinery, gravel, crushed stone and steel have been combined successfully with 5G, the Internet of Things, the cloud and data-driven business. According to Rhomberg Sersa, the 5G network, which acts as a link between all devices, is key to this upcoming project. 


Discover what a digitalised construction site looks like in the video.

Implementing innovation with new technologies

In this joint project, Rhomberg Sersa and Swisscom have developed and tested several sub-projects for the digital construction site. Local 5G construction site networks connect all machines and devices that generate and transmit data. This is particularly important in tunnelling and at an international level, where mobile phone coverage is less extensive than in Switzerland.




The collected data is processed locally in the edge cloud or directly on IoT devices by machine learning. Machines and devices can be tracked and located, even in different countries, which helps with construction planning. Monitoring also proactively prevents outages and automates accounting. Details of each individual sub-project are available in the whitepaper.

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