Palfinger, together with VCE Vienna Consulting Engineers ZT and the Angst Group, has founded Palfinger Structural Inspection, Vienna (Strucinspect).
The new company says it will revolutionise the inspection of structures, chiefly railway and road bridges. It will combine the use of UAVs, multispectral sensors, artificial intelligence and three-dimensional data processing, with the aim of considerably shortening the time required for inspecting buildings and structures, meaning it will no longer be necessary to close these work sites to traffic.
Under the new approach, a comprehensive digital assessment of the structures’ state of repair and of any changes in the materials will be made, meaning a precise, cost-efficient and the structural survey, any necessary maintenance and lifecycle planning.
Palfinger holds 51% in the new company, and the two technology partners hold 24.5% each. “We have identified great opportunities for Strucinspect in Austria and Germany alone,” said Andreas Klauser, CEO of Palfinger. “After all, more than 40,000 road bridges and over 25,000 railway bridges have to be inspected on a regular basis to guarantee road safety.”
The joint venture combines Palfinger’s access to the global market with VCE’s bridge inspection expertise and customer base and the Angst Group’s technological know-how. The current market value of bridge inspections in Europe comes to at least €100 million, said the company.
Strucinspect will use the latest data collection technology, 3D data processing, AI-assisted data analysis to create a digital 3D twin of the structure, providing a precise view of its exterior and interior state, as well as its performance to provide a reliable forecast of its service life. This substantially increases the efficiency and cost-effectiveness not only of the inspection process, but also of the operation of the structure, added the company.