A bridge that tells you when it needs repairs?

It's just a small bridge in Germany. Yet without it, airplanes flying into Düsseldorf Airport could not refuel. The bridge is the only access route to the airport's fuel tank farm. Every day, over 120 tank trucks, each carrying over 30,000 litres of kerosene use it-a huge load that will eventually lead to material fatigue. If the bridge was damaged, could you imagine the consequences? It would be a disaster for the airport's entire flight operations.

Wouldn't it be great, therefore, if the bridge could inform the airport authorities when it needs to be repaired? This is about to become a reality. Deutsche Telekom, a German telecommunications company, has partnered with BS2 Sicherheitssysteme, a manufacturer of innovative sensor technology for monitoring corrosion and moisture in buildings, to install a pioneering digital early warning system in the fuel bridge, to be followed by other critical infrastructure and concrete buildings at the airport.

From ten up to more than 50 sensors [will be] built directly into the road surface and bridge copings to measure temperature, humidity, chemicals (like salt) and corrosion-factors that can cause major or even irreparable damage to the reinforcement steel in concrete structures. The data will then be transmitted to a backend via Deutsche Telekom's NB-IoT network, where it will be analysed in near real-time and notifications will be sent out in case of critical conditions. The sensors can be installed in new structures or retrofitted into old ones and allows remote assessment of the conditions of the concrete infrastructure without having to restrict traffic and extract material samples, as it was done in the past.

Watch this video for more information about the innovative use of IoT in the bridge at the German Airport.

This article was first published in Cities Today.