Hexagon moves further into construction tech

Mar 15, 2018 | Hot Topics

A couple of years ago, at a HxGN Live, Hexagon’s Process Power and Marine group announced its entry into BIM — but not BIM as the rest of the world understood it at the time, a design tool. No, PP&M was going to repurpose existing assets for the building and civil construction market. The logic was that a lot of the tools and practices built for the construction of power plants, refineries and ships could be applied to infrastructure assets. It was also going to work more closely with the Leica brand of construction-oriented solutions like surveying total stations. This was also around the time that the lack of productivity improvement in construction was attracting attention from the news media, venture capitalists and smart software/app developers around the world.

Fast forward from 2015 to today. Hexagon just announced that it has acquired AGTEK, makers of solutions like Earthwork 4D which combine surveying, analysis, control and app-based monitoring solutions for the heavy construction industry. The “4D” is crucial here: a surveyor looks at a site and at the drawing or model of a proposed building. To fit the building, need to move a lot of dirt. How much dirt? Using what type of equipment, and what type of GPS-based machine controllers? AGTEK’s modeling software uses GPS data to create a model of the site that can be used for many downstream purposes. In the AEC world, 4D typically means time, but AGTEK also uses it to mean resources, with modeling and analysis tools that enable the civil engineer or site planner to estimate how much equipment is needed, for how many days, to do the job. Once you’ve got the dirt, you need to haul it somewhere; AGTEK enables the user to optimize equipment use and haul trips.

AGTEK isn’t, by any means, the only company that does this. Bentley, Trimble and others also offer solutions, but were (likely) unsuitable for a deal with Hexagon. I don’t have specific insight, but believe AGTEK’s revenue to be roughly $10 million. AGTEK will be combined into the Geosystems business unit, which also includes the Leica solutions. it’ll be a key component of Hexagon’s Heavy Construction offering which, until now, was focused on machine control and positioning — AGTEK moves this portfolio into analysis and planning, cost estimating, and progress monitoring.

Hexagon CEO Ola Rollén had this to say about the deal: “This acquisition gives construction contractors comprehensive field to enterprise solutions for construction management. AGTEK’s track record for developing ground-breaking, easy-to-use products make them an important addition to Hexagon’s Heavy Construction technologies portfolio. As we move towards a more connected world, civil construction projects will become increasingly digital, with a focus on intelligent workflows, asset management, and collaboration. The AGTEK acquisition reflects Hexagon’s commitment to integrate intuitive 3D control solutions that minimise learning curves and implementation costs for results-oriented construction professionals. Ultimately, AGTEK’s solutions will also bring value to our enterprise construction management software solution, HxGN SMART Build, designed to alleviate cost overruns and delays.”

No financial details were given, but it sounds like a done deal.