New Control Technology Co. Ltd.
- Smart monitoring system provides real-time information on the structural condition of Niudou Bridge in Yilan County and Sanxiantai Arch Bridge in Taitung County
- Easy-to-use dashboard provides easy access to building health and data for research papers, and can create teaching materials at Taiwan’s National Chiao Tung University and Central Police University
Climate change is creating new problems and amplifying old ones for governments worldwide. With global warming contributing to an increase in the number and intensity of natural disasters, it has become more important than ever to improve the safety of structures. However, dwindling resources in the face of so many challenges means that such efforts must be approached efficiently and intelligently.
New Control Technology Co. Ltd. was established in 2002 to provide energy dissipation-isolation systems and intelligent monitoring systems for structures. Its technical team counts on the expertise of structural engineers, civil engineers and architects.
In addition to dampers designed to reinforce structures new and old, New Control Technology has also developed an intelligent monitoring system that provides real-time data on the health of buildings, bridges and other structures. Sensors can be installed directly into a structure’s damper system, providing even more accurate safety information.
AI-powered monitoring provides warning of structural issues, assessments following disasters
Taiwan’s location on the Pacific Ring of Fire means that it is no stranger to devastating earthquakes. Completed in 2010, Niudou Bridge connects eastern Yilan County’s Sanxing and Datong townships. In addition to earthquakes, officials tasked with ensuring the bridge’s safety must also contend with soil erosion and typhoons.
Government regulations require a visual inspection of structures every two years or after certain natural disasters, but the surveys cannot completely grasp the effects of such incidents on the strength of a structure. In addition, there is often a shortage of personnel and other resources to conduct inspections immediately after major natural disasters.
While it is a relatively recent construction, the National Center for High-Performance Computing (NCHPC), implementing an initiative by the National Science Council, chose the bridge for an assessment. The project began by gathering relevant data during initial construction for comparison after earthquakes, typhoons and other natural disasters. The data is used to predict the timing and technology of reinforcements for structures, helping relevant agencies to plan personnel and budget usage accordingly.
Due to its long-term investment and vast experience in detailed structural evaluation and seismic reinforcement, as well as related services, New Control Technology was chosen to collaborate with the NCHPC on the project. The firm — in conjunction with the NCHPC — developed an intelligent monitoring system that integrates and organizes the original data of a structure for analysis, and the creation and deployment of models. The system provides predictions and warnings about a structure’s health before natural disasters, and delivers immediate feedback after an event to help reduce the loss of life and damage.
New Control Technology’s monitoring system leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to conduct real-time assessments of structural health data. The firm’s sensors installed in a structure collect vibrational data, which an in-house neural network compares with healthy structural models to generate a health index. Following a disaster, the system examines simple harmonic motion in relation to the healthy models, helping to detect concrete shrinkage, cracking and even structural damage. As a whole, the system helps relevant agencies quickly and efficiently determine the health of a structure after a disaster.
Intelligent monitoring helps preserve structural integrity of scenic oceanside bridge
Sanxiantai Arch Bridge in eastern Taitung County is more than 30 years old. The scenic structure connects the island of Sanxiantai with Taiwan proper. While its seaside location provides a beautiful backdrop for visitors, it also means that the bridge is constantly exposed to powerful wind and waves.
Following refurbishment in 2015 and 2017, local authorities sought a more efficient way to monitor the condition of the bridge. New Control Technology met the requirements of the project, subsequently won the contract and deployed its intelligent monitoring system.
Due to the unique circumstances of the Sanxiantai Arch Bridge, New Control Technology configured its system to use AI to analyze vibrations caused by wind, waves and people walking on the bridge during normal circumstances. This data is used as a reference point when examining the effects of abnormally powerful waves and wind, as well as earthquakes. By calculating the difference between normal and abnormal activity, the system can more accurately model the effects of such events on the structural integrity of the bridge.
IoT platform provides data for safety and academic research
When National Chiao Tung University’s Department of Civil Engineering and Central Police University were seeking a partner to monitor the health of their buildings, they turned to New Control Technology. In addition to its IoT vibration sensing units, the company also provided the back-end infrastructure.
Thanks to its AI analysis capabilities, the system quickly supplies the universities’ administrators with structural assessments after an earthquake, ensuring that decision-making teams have all the relevant information they need. Due to its automated nature, the system provides real-time, round-the-clock monitoring for structures, which reduces staffing needs for structural inspections after incidents, whether they be natural in nature or the result of human activity. An information dashboard makes operation simple, and the system can also be used to create teaching materials and provide data for research papers.
- Networked, weather-proofed vibration sensing units provide data on structural health beyond what can be seen in visual inspections
- AI-powered back-end system conducts analyses of a structure’s health over time and can create predictive models for reinforcement
- Data analysis provides relevant authorities information to more effectively plan the deployment of personnel and resources for maintenance
- Intelligent monitoring system can automatically generate assessments on structural integrity following significant incidents, like natural disasters
- Sensors can be installed into damper system to provide even more accurate data
- Dashboard provides easy-to-use interface for accessing data, which can be used to create teaching materials and as reference for research papers