Structural health monitoring (SHM) is a tool which helps engineers in improving the safety and maintainability of critical structures. Various sensing technologies are combined with embedded measurement controllers to process and analyze real-time data. Basic functions performed by SHM are monitoring and testing the health and performance of structures which include bridges, dams, buildings, stadiums, large machinery and equipment.
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SHM implements damage identification strategy for various structures which helps in avoiding future damage. SHM is used to measure stress on wind turbine blades, and temperature and stress monitoring on rails. It also finds application in implanted sensors in concrete, wood and steel for the monitoring of infrastructure. In medical sector it is used for precision stress monitoring on bone implants and prosthesis.
There are various structures worldwide which are hundreds of years old and are declared as national or international heritage structures. These structures are attracting people from all corners of the world, increasing the profits of that country. Structures such as Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower are the icons of India and France, respectively. Countries are giving more importance to such infrastructure for prolonging the life of heritage structures. Also, new security norms are making it compulsory for the infrastructure firms to use SHM.
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These factors are driving the SHM market worldwide. Moreover, new technological developments such as highly responsive sensors and data sharing techniques are improving the accuracy of SHM. Huge amount of operating costs are saved in long term due to the usage of SHM, which is driving the market for SHM. Use of SHM during the construction phase of an infrastructure will help in identifying the loopholes in its construction and design. SHM system requires high energy for functioning, especially, the wireless SHM system. This increases the cost and energy consumption. Sensors which are collecting data are having low multiplexing capabilities, reducing the number of data points collected from the measurement. The amount of data which is collected from the readings becomes exhaustive.
Manual data collection proves to be a difficult task as many readings are taken from the sensors which are placed all over the structure leading to errors. Moreover, large amount of manpower is required for manual data collection further increasing the cost. However, latest technological developments have made data collection easy through automation and data collection techniques. New technologies and trends are improving the accuracy and data collection rates of SHM. Non-destructive monitoring, non-contact vibration measurement systems are the new trends in SHM. These techniques are improving the SHM accuracy.
As the industries across the globe are going through a phase of change in the infrastructure, large projects are being undertaken to fulfil this change. Further, increasing number of sporting events such as Olympics and FIFA World Cup are creating demand for infrastructure including the stadiums. Governments are promoting the use of SHM as it increases the security of the infrastructure. Furthermore, large projects such as smart cities are using SHM to monitor the health of the overall infrastructure. These projects present tremendous opportunity for SHM market to grow.
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Major players in the SHM market are Advitam, Inc., COWI A/S, Digitexx Data Systems, Inc., Geocomp Corp., Geokon, Inc., Geosig Ltd., Hottinger Baldwin Messtechnik GmbH (HBM), Nova Metrix LLC, Sodis Lab, Strainstall Uk Ltd.