Smartbridge concept points to future of bridge risk assessment

James Fisher Testing Services (JFTS) has played an instrumental role in the development of Smartbridge, a concept that uses state-of-the-art technology to provide a continuously reviewed and updated structural risk assessment for bridges.

Funded by Innovate UK and developed by JFTS, TWI, Brunel University and Innvotek, the Smartbridge project has developed a demonstration system for the connected digital twin, which is installed at a rail bridge on London Underground’s network, near Watford. Bringing together structural health monitoring (SHM), inspection data, FE modelling and deterioration prediction, this has borne a proof-of-concept demonstrator for a connected ‘digital twin’ of a bridge.

Smartbridges

Smartbridge combines existing state-of-the-art SHMS technology with finite element modelling, deterioration models, analysis algorithms and machine learning routines, effectively using big data to constantly update the risks posed to a structure.

New quantitative risk-based inspection data can also be added to this process to further update and calibrate it. The system can also determine areas where future inspection and maintenance efforts should be focused. A key objective is to use minimal sensors in conjunction with complex, but reliable, analysis routines and models, providing enough live information to give confidence about the integrity of all parts of the structure, even where there are no sensors nearby.

Matthew Anderson, Head of Bridges and Structures at JFTS, says:

“Using cloud computing, the Smartbridge ‘digital twin’ combines and analyses data, improving the reliability of information about the bridge’s condition and streamlining the asset management process, leading to efficiencies and cost savings.”   

The demonstrator system is designed around specific modules, which can be further developed, configured and deployed as required for each bridge. New user interface functionality and sensor technologies developed in the project are already being rolled out to improve existing SHM installations. 

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