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Choosing the right approach for inspecting your infrastructures is directly related to ensuring a structures safety and longevity. It determines how accurately and quickly you get to know the real problem and put its solution forward. Meanwhile, the choices available today to asset owners is clear,  you can go with a 50 year old manual and subjective infrastructure inspection or opt to obtain more quantitative data with a robotic inspection system to scrutinize your infrastructure. Without a doubt, the latter would come up with even accurate results than the manual one.

Wire rope inspection service

Broadcast Tower Guy Wire Inspection Services

Video of exterior of wire. Locates loss of metallic area/corrosion  inside the steel strands.

Typically, when it comes to the damaged infrastructures, deteriorating bridges are of the primary concern. According to the ARTBA Bridge Report, one out of every three bridges needs repairing or replacement. There are around 46100 bridges in the USA that are structurally deficient and need replacement or repairing. Besides, manual inspection although still in common use  should by now be obsolete.  Imagine if you are the asset manager and a bridge collapsed, killing innocents and the best technology available was not used to locate issues. Asset managers, engineering firms and Department of Transportation have a duty to the public to keep our infrastructure safe and that safety starts with conducting proper inspections.

By the end of 2021, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for automated inspection will increase by 21%.  How are robotic inspections difference from manual inspection and why you need a robotic inspection system. So, let’s get the ball rolling.

Non-Destructive Testing (NDT)

Before we move on to the topic, let’s first see the exact definition of non-destructive testing (NDT). It is a technique adopted by industries to examine the properties of materials and structures’ strength without causing any damage to the facility. Likewise, the robotic non destructive tesing services are much better results than the manual inspection methods.

 

Why Should Manual Inspection Not Be a Choice?

Since the robotic inspection came under the spotlight, the manual approaches of inspections have become less effective. Here are some of the points that indicate the secondary importance of manual inspection:

  • Manual inspection is more time-consuming with less efficient results.
  • It involves environmental risks because of destructive testing that adds to the pollution.
  • Human intrusion is needed, and it might be risky sometimes.
  • Results generated from the manual inspection are not entirely accurate.
  • Reduced collection of data.
  • Typically require lane closures and heavy equipment that are dangerous to the public
  • Require lane closures that affect traffic and a loss of GDP

     

How is Robotic NDT Technology Better?

 

Since the mainstreaming of bridges, they are inspected visually; workers note the cracks on the bridge’s surface and determine its strength. But this visual inspection is only confined to the damages that are obvious with the naked eye. The cause is too late. The internal fractures remain there, and sometimes these unidentified cracks cause catastrophic failure. Let’s now discuss the factors that make robotic technology better than manual and visual inspection:

 

  1. Superior Collection of Data 

While inspecting bridges using manual means, there are obvious chances that something might be forgotten or hidden from the human eye. Essentially, it is not the case with robotic inspection of the bridge since the accuracy level is way better than the manual inspection of structures.

 

For example, if cable-stay bridge inspection is needed, the manual inspection currently in use requires a lane closure and heavy equipment.  Typically a bucket truck and a crash truck to prevent cars from hitting the bucket truck. The crash trucks are frequently hit, hence the name.  An inspector is sent up at height to look at a large round cable.  The inspector cannot possible see all 360 degrees of the cable. They are also inspecting the HDPE sheathing and not the steel strands that hold up the bridge.

 

Using robotic inspection, you will identify the structure’s internal condition, which should be the required part of the inspection but usually ignored while inspecting manually. See below a robotic magnetic flux leakage robotic cable stay inspection service. This nondestructive inspection is looking at 360 degrees of the HDPE sheathing as well as inspecting loss of metallic area/corrosion inside the steel strands.  Future inspections can provide deterioration progression over time allowing for better budgeting for maintenance as well as being able to address issues before they become critical.

cable stayed bridge inspection

Compliments of Infrastructure Preservation Corporation, CableScan® inspection service

2. Increased Accuracy of Inspection 

 

Robotic inspection of structures offers much better and accurate results if compared with traditional inspecting techniques. A bridge deck inspection today is comprised of a visual inspection along with dragging a chain across a bridge deck to listen for changes in the sound to determine delamination.  This is the method of choice today when a simple inspection using a more modern device like BridgeScan® can completely map a bridge deck delamination, debonding, rebar placement, water intrusion, underground compactness and more.  

ground penetrating radar

BridgeScan® Bridge deck inspection service (InfrastructurePC.com)

With a service like BridgeScan®, you can see where cracks are forming well in advance of it having an effect on traffic. This advanced inspection will help engineers to know the exact depth of fault along with its tendency. The higher sensitivity of equipment records very minute structural flaws that are impossible to uncover with the naked eye or other conventional methods. The results can provide the severity of condition, quantity of materials  and budgets for repairs.

Subsequently, with the greater accuracy offered by the robotic inspection, engineers can take timely actions to avoid considerable damages. More quantitative data, less risk to inspectors and safer for the traveling public.

 

  1. Less Consumption of Time

     

Besides the technical superiorities associated with the bridges’ robotic inspection, less time consumption is an appealing factor that can benefit you enormously. As a result of the robotic inspection, configuration profiles get generated automatically from the frequently conducted tests to ensure the bridge’s quality. It quickly diagnoses defects and their intensity with a clear picture on the screen for the inspector.

 

Engineers can easily compare the new data with previously available data to monitor the position like changes in the cracks, delamination, corrosion, etc. Accordingly, the analysts are better positioned to ascertain the problems and suggest their solutions after collecting all these parameters in a while.

 

  1. Minimum Need for Human Entry into Hazards 

     

Another critical aspect is eliminating chances for human beings to get involved in inspections at some dangerous sites. Robotic inspection allows you to stay away and offers even improved results contrasted with any inspection conducted by a human being. Moreover, streamlining inspection of bridges through robots avoids traffic jams, saving time for people.

  1. No Environmental Risks 

The non-destructive robotic inspection poses no threat to the integrity of the environment. Conversely, conventional inspection methods are problematic and destructive. Similarly, robotic inspection causes no damage to the structure, provides more quantitative data does not put inspectors or the traveling public at risk

How May We Help You?

Infrastructure Preservation Corporation (IPC) is a non-destructive robotic inspection company that deals with inspecting various components of the infrastructure worldwide..bridges, roadways, and high mast light poles, bridge columns and shafts. 

IPC’s core competency lies in transporation infrastructure like Bridges, Dams, Box Girders, High Mast Light Poles and industrial inspection services, like Broadcast towers, Flare Stacks, Cranes, Hoists, Parking garages, Stadiums, Concrete, Post tension tendons.  

With diversified advanced inspection technologies, IPC has been serving its customers for years. With its non-destructive testing services, IPC is also playing a  role in  keeping infrastructure and the traveling public safe worldwide

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