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March 4, 2019

Asset management 2.0, Guardian angel for concrete (article published in the newspaper Limburger)

Asset Management

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Asset Management 2.0 is one of the most promising projects of the Euregion Rhine-Meuse-North.

One of the project goals is sensor development that monitors the condition of concrete structures such as bridges, tunnels and buildings in real time. Some of the partners involved in this project are the municipality of Venlo and Mönchengladbach , the province of Limburg, P3 communications and RWTH Aachen. Smart remote monitoring can significantly reduce costs as well as prevent accidents. Nowadays, when cost-efficient actions for construction and maintenance are necessary, a sensor embedded in concrete infrastructure could be a solution." As soon as the system detects harmful penetration of moisture, it warns bridge manager or property owner. As a result, they can act pro-actively", explains Andrija Blagojevic, Head of Research and Development at Concrefy.

On the basis of Big Data, it can be predicted when an existing or a new concrete structure needs maintenance. Time consuming and often expensive periodic visual inspections thus become largely redundant. "Many bridges in the Euregion were built between 50’s and 70’s with the intention to have a service life of at least 50 years. Theoretically speaking, we are approaching the end of its service life. Smart maintenance or replacement? Just as a dentist acts on a cavity before it can be threatening, our sensor send early warning signals when it comes to potential concrete deterioration, corrosion or reduced bearing capacity". Meanwhile, a prototype has been developed and a method is being developed to translate the generated data reliably into valuable information and clear predictions. The goal is to roll out the sensor technology worldwide.

Photo: Researcher Andrija Blagojevic with prototype of the sensor in hand and sensor embedded in concrete.

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