In June 2021, GeoMind KB, a Swedish geotechnical consultancy firm, commissioned CEMS: CRUX Engineering MicroServices BV to develop a code that automates the generation of cross sections of a quay in Plaxis. The Södertälje Canal, a 5,2km busy ship transport route containing the biggest lock in Scandinavia, was due for maintenance.

Part of the activities is widening the canal and lock to accommodate larger vessels. In the design, the canal’s gradual under water slope is removed and sheet piles are installed, making the canal suitable for larger ships.
Image 1: Photo of the lock. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJtb-NfTKgA

Because of the variation in ground level, 25 cross-sections spread over 3 areas had to be investigated. CEMS developed a code that generates the cross sections in Plaxis, thus taking a large and repetitive portion of the work out of the hands of the engineer. With pre-defined soil and rock material characteristics and structural elements, the engineers had to provide only the soil layer levels, loads and the anchor angle in each cross section. This provided the engineer time to focus on the details of the particular cross-section, thereby optimizing the design. Unexpected variations in bedrock level, the thickness of the sand layer on the canal bottom and the slope of the soil behind the sheet pile wall increased in the number of cross-sections (from 16 to 30-35) in the first two areas. The code proved its value as the design was finished within the planned time. The installation of the sheet piles started in January 2022.
Image 2: Artist impression of the canal. Source: https://www.sjofartsverket.se/sv/farledsprojekt/malarprojektet/sodertalje-kanal-och-sluss/
Image 3: a script-generated cross-section in PLAXIS.

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