Time travelling into infrastructure integrity

Time travelling into infrastructure integrity

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By Wisse Hettinga

Cette publication existe aussi en Français

The predictive twin solution of TNO’s spin-off SHM NEXT makes it possible to look into the future of an asset, predicting exactly when maintenance will be required

SHM NEXT’s system “listens” to deviations in a structure, such as hairline cracks, using wireless acoustic sensors. By continuously measuring changes in sound, a clear picture of where damage exists in the structure is created. In just a few weeks, not only is the extent of the damage apparent, but also the progression of the damage.

This makes it possible to make predictions about the future and look back in time. There is a 100% correlation between changes in observed sound waves and the development of damage. SHM stands for Structural Health Monitoring: using specialized wireless acoustic sensors from SHM NEXT, the condition of the structure can be monitored. Even the tiniest cracks are detected long before they become critical.

“The system is based on three pillars,” explains one of the creators, Dr. Pooria Pahlavan. Firstly, the wireless sensors “hear” exactly where and how severe the structural damage is. The second element is that the system uses this information to predict the remaining lifespan of the structure, calculating how quickly the damage is worsening using AI. The third element is visualization. With a VR headset, you can literally view the visible and invisible damage to the structure from any angle, even from the inside. Additionally, you can scroll backward and forward in time through a dashboard to see how the damage has evolved and will evolve.

The method has been used on various parts of the Dutch infrastructure in recent years. Examples include the Van Brienenoord Bridge in Rotterdam, the Merwede Bridge, and other steel bridges, industrial cranes, concrete foundations, and coatings for organizations like Rijkswaterstaat, AkzoNobel, Port of Rotterdam, and TATA Steel.

Twin prediction can be applied to any imaginable construction made of steel, concrete, wood, or combinations thereof. Predictive digital twins can forecast when maintenance or renovation is needed to ensure safe usage. Predictive maintenance leads to a more efficient maintenance regimen.


Learn more at TNO

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