Research Category

Industrial Research

Project Start Date

1 March 2019

Duration

30 months

Project summary

Structural steel is the material of choice in the vast majority of structures in coastal and offshore locations due to its combination of durability, ease of fabrication and ability to provide a relatively cost-effective solution. Despite its many benefits, steel is of course prone to corrosion, which is the principal cause of deterioration of steel waterfront structures. However, it has recently been acknowledged that steel piles are significantly more prone to advanced corrosion rates than previously understood. What is now known, is that ALWC (Accelerated-Low-Water-Corrosion) can rapidly compromise the integrity of affected structures and will lead to significant costs for repair or replacement, with major implications for safe operation.

PileSense is an innovative NDT solution for corrosion sensing in steel piles, in particular, those sited in marine environments. It is a remote sensing system and that offers rapid and smart assessment of steel piles. Our solution overcomes limitations in state-of-the-art inspection systems, which are rudimentary and labour intensive. Protective coatings on the other hand are proven to be unpractical both from an application and maintenance perspective. PileSense will revolutionise the detection of corrosion in steel piles for infrastructure operators and inspection companies, who are represented in the consortium by CH2M and RED respectively.

The PileSense project will respond to this challenge by developing a completely portable, cost-effective and non-invasive UGW (Ultrasonic-Guided-Wave) corrosion sensing system that provides a quick and accurate representation of the steel sheet piles that marine infrastructure systems are so dependent upon. In doing so, we expect to generate combined revenues of £14.63million (<2% market penetration), net profits of £4.74million, and the creation of \>70 high skilled jobs. Taking into account total investment for manufacturing and operations scale-up (£500k pre-market-launch; £950k Year 3 postmarket- launch), this will result in an attractive ROI for SME development partners INDT, JRD and KCC of 721%.

Public description

Structural steel is the material of choice in the vast majority of structures in coastal and offshore locations due its combination of durability, ease of fabrication and ability to provide a relatively cost-effective solution. Despite its many benefits, steel is of course prone to corrosion, which is the principal cause of deterioration of steel waterfront structures. However, it has recently been acknowledged that steel piles are significantly more prone to advanced corrosion rates than previously understood. What is now known, is that ALWC (Accelerated-Low-Water-Corrosion) can rapidly compromise the integrity of affected structures and will lead to significant costs for repair or replacement, with major implications for safe operation.

PileSense is an innovative solution for corrosion sensing in steel piles, in particular, those sited in marine environments. It is a remote sensing system and that offers rapid and smart assessment of steel piles. Our solution overcomes limitations in state-of-the-art inspection and monitoring systems, which are rudimentary and labour intensive. Protective coatings on the other hand are proven to be unpractical both from an application and maintenance perspective. PileSense will revolutionise the detection of corrosion and defects in steel pile infrastructure for maintenance operators across the globe.

Lead organisation

Integrity NDT Logo

Integrity NDT

Integrity NDT Limited (UK) is a small SME, established in 2004 and with a sister company Integrity NDT Engineering Limited (Turkey) established in 2009 and centred in Ankara.

Integrity NDT are primarily an NDT Service provider, bringing extensive industry wide experience and expertise in offering; conventional test methods and metallurgical analysis, alongside our focus on ‘advanced NDT applications’.

Integrity NDT designed software systems provide Inspection project and inspection record management, to enhance our ‘inspection management’ system. And Integrity NDT designed bespoke AUT system ‘scanners’ provide the delivery of inspection solutions to our clients around the world.

Our programme of continual investment in our Engineering Team and focus on technological advancements in the field and R&D, underpins our partnering approach with our clients.

Role in PileSense Project

Integrity NDT take the ‘lead role’ in the project and as coordinator.

With established overseas networks and existing service contracts to provide UGW (pipeline inspection applications).

Integrity NDT will manage all aspects of progression towards deliverables, endeavouring to bring together the consortium and to strengthen collaborative relations in delivering PileSense to the market.

TWI Limited

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Role in Pilesense Project:

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Brunel University London

Brunel University London (BUL) has been highly successful in creating an industrial innovation research resource, named Brunel Innovation Centre (BIC), which sits between the knowledge base and industry, supporting partners in industry to transfer academic research into industrial application.

Brunel has a wide range of knowledge and expertise in the following research areas:

  • Power ultrasonics; detection, cleaning of fouling and fouling prevention techniques non-invasively software,
  • Smart NDT; autonomous devices, miniaturised multifunction systems for NDE in bespoke environments; marine, high temperature, aerospace, pattern recognition hardware / software,
  • Active SHM and Condition Monitoring
  • Design of associated hardware and software
  • Signal and image processing and numerical modelling - Noise reduction, signal condition and control (including active vibration control), data interpretation and analysis,
  • Automation and robotics of inspection system,
  • Improved or new and robust sensors (Piezoelectric, Electromagnetic) e.g. high temperature inspection, transduction
  • Electronics - Low power consumption for multiple channels, wireless, high speed, wideband, fast bps, energy harvesting.
Role in Pilesense Project:

In this project BUL will develop signal processing algorithms for data interpretation and provide access to specialist development equipment and software such as 3D Laser Vibrometer and Condition Monitoring hardware.

Kingston Computer Consultancy Limited

Kingston Computer Consultancy (KCC) is a leading services provider in IT, digital and engineering solutions for organisations; partnering with clients in industries ranging from infrastructural monitoring to aerospace, to simplify, strengthen and transform their operations. KCC ensures the highest levels of certainty and satisfaction through a deep-set commitment to our clients, comprehensive industry expertise and a global network of innovation and delivery centres. Established in 1997, KCC has grown to its current position as one of the largest IT and engineering services firms in the UK based on its outstanding service record, collaborative partnerships, innovation and corporate responsibility.

Role in Pilesense Project:

KCC will lead WP4, developing the cloud and user interface required for remote sensing and data transfer. They will be assisted by BIC, who will lead T4.3, which involved developing the signal analysis algorithms. KCC will fully test the acquisition and cloud interface in T4.4 prior to integration.

KCC will develop the algorithms need for data filtering and processing. KCC are experts in software and cloud data systems for NDT equipment and lead WP4.

KCC will deliver WP4, which includes treatment of the data (e.g. filtering) and it’s processing, in order to enhance the detection capabilities as part of an automated defect recognition.

CH2M Hill United Kingdom

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Role in Pilesense Project:

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Reach Engineering & Diving Services Limited

Reach Engineering and Diving Services (REDS) has been providing its customers with comprehensive and innovative solutions for 20 years.

REDS provide diving, specialist access and engineering services to marine and energy industries worldwide. Our multi-skilled and experienced workforce provides essential services to offshore and marine renewable energy, subsea cable providers, nuclear power stations, port and local authorities, major utility companies, government agencies, and civil and consulting engineers globally.

REDS provide specially trained teams and equipment to undertake such projects, providing creative solutions for:

  • Diving services
  • Subsea engineering experience in pile inspection, repair and protection.
  • Rope Access
  • OSP & Tower Access
  • Shore End Cable Installation & Burial
  • Confined Space Operations
  • Decommissioning

REDS has built a reputation as being a leading innovator in the field by providing safe and reliable access and engineering solutions.

Definitions of roles in project

REDS role is focussed on work packages 1 and 6 but with input as required in packages 2,3,4,5,7 and 8.

The company has years of experience in the field of civil engineering that includes pile inspection, repair and protection, this experience was used to:

  • Select sheet pile design and the definition of pile properties
  • Review of inspection standards and techniques used currently and, in the past
  • Provide a list of desirable specifications for a sheet pile inspection system.
Ongoing roles within this project
  • Organise field trial logistics
  • Design experiments to then be complete during a series of on-site tests.
  • Analyse the results and complete reports post experiments.
  • Organise and design demonstration trial then perform system demonstration.

JR Dynamics Limited

Transmission Dynamics are an independent privately owned company established in 1996, who deliver world leading Internet of Things based solutions to complex industrial challenges, drawing on their extensive expertise to create Smart Sensor Networks.

Transmission Dynamics design and manufacture their range of wireless telemetry and data acquisition systems, focusing on machine learning, low power  consumption, exceptionally low noise and unbeatable performance, for recovering in-service load information from the most demanding of environments. Products and services are delivered to customers and partners around the world, including blue-chip technology companies from renewable energy, mining, marine, defence, automotive and rail sectors.

Role in Pilesense Project:

In this project Transmission Dynamics will provide hardware and electronics assistance on the PileSense device itself including wireless communication between the main workstation and the handheld device, and the provision of their Global Data Network as an initial data collation portal.

Funding body

Innovate UK