Data analysis to help detect strain on military bridges

British defence, security and aerospace company, BAE Systems has announced it testing a new integrated Bluetooth and sensing technology which reports the remaining service-life of military bridging systems.

Without the use of an automated fatigue monitoring system, the remaining service life of rapidly deployable military bridges is based on manual records and can be difficult to judge - image courtesy of BAE Systems.
Without the use of an automated fatigue monitoring system, the remaining service life of rapidly deployable military bridges is based on manual records and can be difficult to judge – image courtesy of BAE Systems.

Simulating thousands of military bridge crossings by a variety of wheeled and tracked vehicles, the BAE Systems can assess bridge performance using comprehensive data records on how the various components perform.

The technology uses a series of wireless sensors fitted to the bridge components which undergo the most strain, and records around a hundred strain readings per second to monitor.

The sensors then wirelessly transmit data to a handheld device, allowing soldiers to easily assess the health of the bridge.

The ‘fatigue monitoring’ continuously detects the stress and strain on bridges designed to be used by tanks such as the more than 60 tonne Challenger 2.

An advanced computer-analysis then gives a component-by-component overview of bridge health, giving military engineers the peace of mind that their bridges remain healthy, even on extended military campaigns where bridges can remain in place for many months.

John Lees, bridging business manager for BAE Systems Land (UK), explained: “The biggest obstacle to monitoring bridge health is achieving a continuous flow of accurate data telling you what the bridge is experiencing. Simply monitoring the number of crossings – as most military users do now – doesn’t give an accurate picture.

“Our new solution monitors and analyses all of these variables to give a real-time, accurate assessment of bridge condition. It will make it easier to use our bridges in civilian situations such as disaster relief, where keeping accurate data on crossings is very difficult. It will also reduce whole-life ownership cost by ensuring bridges are serviced only when required and that they can confidently be used for their entire service life.”

Without the use of an automated fatigue monitoring system, the remaining service life of rapidly deployable military bridges is based on manual records and can be difficult to judge, resulting in bridges being retired early or overused.

BAE SYSTEMS ENGINEERS DEVELOP BLUETOOTH-ENABLED SENSORS TO DETECT HEALTH OF MILITARY BRIDGING SYSTEMS – image courtesy of BAE Systems.