Elop, a recently founded, innovative company, has developed a technology that makes it possible to ‘read’ sections of concrete using an ultrasound scanner, which is called COBRI. The technology makes it possible to quickly and safely obtain information on the actual condition of the concrete in buildings, bridges and other structures.
This condition data makes it easier to carry out preventative maintenance and to plan future investment requirements. Extending the life of critical infrastructure benefits the environment, reduces costs for society and can potentially save lives.
There is currently a backlog in relation to maintenance work on concrete structures across the world. In the worst case, failing to maintain concrete can have fatal consequences, as was seen when a bridge collapsed in Italy in 2018. A deeper understanding of the actual condition of critical infrastructure can contribute to optimised operations and maintenance. This is the challenge that Elop has decided to solve.
3D data obtained from Elop’s COBRI scanner, displayed in real-time via an intuitive user interface, makes it possible for the scanner’s operator to interpret the concrete structure and to identify any defects or other weaknesses in the concrete. This helps concrete to continue to be in use for longer, while concrete that needs replacing can be located before there are any significant serious consequences.
The concrete production process currently generates 8% of the world’s CO2 emissions. Extending the life of concrete that has already been produced is therefore beneficial from both a financial and an environmental perspective.
One of Elop’s objectives is to be a data-driven company that owns, manages and analyses the enormous amounts of data that can be gathered from concrete structures across the world. In order to achieve this, the company is working with one of our collaboration partners, Cognite, on developing a cloud-based software solution, with assistance from Itera.
The aim is to be able to carry out inspection and maintenance work in a more efficient and smart way by combining data from the scanner with other relevant information, such as weather, climate and traffic information. This will make it possible to see how concrete develops over time.
Extracting and bringing together industry data from different systems will make it possible to build new insights, in addition to using artificial intelligence to optimise operations.
Itera has helped Elop to develop a prototype of a system that combines pre-existing bridge data and weather data with data from the COBRI scanner. The primary focus has been to demonstrate the potential of the scanner by using the data in a system that concrete inspectors and maintenance planners would find useful.
Over the longer term, all the data from the scanner will be sent to CDF, and it will be exciting to see how machine learning can be used to analyse the data in order to create predictions about the condition of concrete.