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Wednesday, 17 July 2019
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Raw materials & technologies, Technologies

Robot inspects concrete garage floors and bridge roadways for damage

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Because they are regularly subjected to heavy vehicle traffic, emissions, moisture and salt, above- and underground parking garages, as well as bridges, frequently experience large areas of corrosion.

"BetoScan": robot that can inspect concrete floors for damage in parking garages. Source: Uwe Bellhäuser

"BetoScan": robot that can inspect concrete floors for damage in parking garages. Source: Uwe Bellhäuser

Most inspection systems to date have only been capable of inspecting smaller surface areas.

Scanning large areas of concrete for damage

Employees from the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing IZFP, together with the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) and industry experts, have joined forces to develop a robot platform that can independently scan and inspect large areas of concrete for damage without impacting the surface. Referred to as "BetoScan", the system was designed as a self-propelled, self-navigating robot platform for nondestructive inspection sensors.

Robot identifies corrosion at an early stage

"Our robot can easily inspect parking garage surfaces as large as several hundred square meters in one day and requires only one person to operate and monitor the system," explains Ralf Moryson, an engineer at Fraunhofer IZFP. The robot can independently scan obstacle-free concrete surfaces using a preselected grid while simultaneously recording the data acquired by the various inspection processes. The cascadable mounting system for the inspection sensors permits the utilisation and quick replacement of commercially-available sensors. When selecting the sensors for the system, the developers focused on automated logging of the measurement results, as well as on the use of well-established inspection methods. This provides an extensive inspection capability that ensures the timely identification of surface corrosion. While scanning the surface, the system also creates a survey of the structure being inspected.

Combining different nondestructive testing processes

"A major advantage of our robot system is the integrated combination of different nondestructive testing processes. The sensors analyse factors such as moisture content and the thickness of the concrete, as well as the depth and condition of the reinforcement," adds Moryson. The complete measurement results can be graphically displayed. Rounding out this development is the ability to administer the measurement data.

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