Home » Scottish university develops ‘first of its kind’ remote concrete inspection device

Scottish university develops ‘first of its kind’ remote concrete inspection device

by Liam Turner
A man inspecting a concrete fault in a wall

The University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Nuclear Research Centre has developed a “first of its kind” platform for the remote detection and classification of faults in concrete structures.

The device could lead to increased inspection speed, accuracy, and safety, the developers say, allowing major asset owners to make “significant” cost savings.

The platform – named ‘ALICS’, or Adaptive Lighting for the Inspection of Concrete Structures – combines advanced methods in image capture, scene lighting, and colour with AI to detect faults in civil concrete infrastructure, including nuclear power plants and bridges.

ALICS’s remote, technological solution could allow civil asset managers to bypass the risks and challenges associated with the manual inspection of a growing catalogue of assets, the developers say, and as a result, to avoid outages and closures that can cost in the region of £1m per day. 

While the research has been led by University of Strathclyde’s Dr Marcus Perry, a senior lecturer in Civil and Environmental Engineering, ALICS has been supported by industry partnerships with Cavendish Nuclear (Babcock), Altrad Babcock, Bruce Power, EDF Energy, and InspectaHire.

With this industry backing, the ALICS team approached two of Scotland’s seven innovation centres, Built Environment – Smarter Transformation and CENSIS – for further partnership-working and financial backing.

‘Take on global challenges’

Marcus Perry said: “Partnerships between industry, Scottish innovation centres, and universities are different.

“They allow research to be designed, funded, and delivered with continuous dialogue between all three parties.

“This sustained feedback means industry partners can steer our research direction more effectively.

“This ensures the academic delivery team deliver not only world-leading science, but high-impact engineering outputs and products with real world applications.” 

Fiona MacDonald, impact manager at BE-ST, said: “BE-ST is delighted to support such a collaborative and impactful R&D project that can enhance not only safety within the industry, but the efficiency and commercial performance of invested partners all while creating a technology with the potential to truly transform operational performance within our built environment.”

Rachael Wakefield, business development manager at CENSIS, said: “The ALICS project is a notable example of how imaging technology can be used to make critical infrastructure and the built environment safer.

“Inspection is rightly an important part of maintaining assets, and with innovative technologies like this, it can be done continuously and more efficiently.

“This is also a great demonstration of how, by bringing all the expertise and skills we have in Scotland together, we can take on global challenges.”

Image credit: aomas/Shutterstock

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