IoT Applications in Construction: Concrete Curing Monitoring

The construction industry is slow to embrace new ideas and technologies. One of the areas in which IoT is making an impact is concrete curing monitoring. Companies adopting the technology are witnessing significant improvements in productivity, efficiency, safety and convenience.

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Image of a concrete truck and hard hats
Illustration: © IoT For All

Construction has one of the worst lag times when it comes to embracing new ideas. This lethargy is due to complexity, the high-risks as well as the conservative character of construction companies. Despite all these barriers, new technologies have proven to have a tremendously beneficial effect on the overall performance, productivity, safety and efficiency in this industry. It’s essential for contractors to consider the Internet of Things (IoT) devices for concrete works at their job sites.

“IoT” refers to The Internet of Things, and in its simplistic form, it is the connection of devices through the internet. Cellphones, computers and wearable technology to cars, homes, appliances and field sensors all make up IoT when connected through a giant network. Below is a summary of the benefits of IoT in concrete maturity monitoring.

Efficiency

Improving efficiency in construction is a real nightmare. The number of projects that are not delivered on time and the cost attests to this. One of the challenging areas is concreting. It is critical that the scheduling of casting concrete and tracking maturity be done precisely to allow critical activities like formwork removal to happen.

Developments in IoT now allow real-time monitoring of concrete maturity through internet-connected temperature probes that connect to the internet. These tools communicate in real-time and process the data to simplify decision making and accelerate construction schedules.

Employing connected technology and installing sensors such as Maturix, SmartRock and Concrete Sensors at a job site enables efficient site management. All data is gathered using wireless sensors into an intuitive software platform. This approach optimizes planning and workflows, automates documentation, allow remote access and eliminates manual data collection.

Safety

The construction job site can change very fast. Concrete placement and strength have to be managed very carefully to keep workers safe. The use of faulty or poor quality materials can create hazards. Non-destructive methods of testing structures are a safe alternative. They allow the measurement of critical properties in real-time and send data wirelessly to decision makers. The process requires relatively little work and takes the guesswork out of the way for stakeholders.

Innovation

In some cases, the environmental conditions fluctuate, making it challenging to monitor variables like humidity and temperature which are critical for structural integrity. Besides adding on to the expenses of a project, accuracy is also compromised. Traditional ways of measurement become challenged and provide inaccurate values for decision making. IoT sensors are shaking up the construction industry by bringing on robust ways of collecting critical data. Forward-looking companies are finding the business case of smart solutions compelling.

Dependability

New technology solutions are optimized for the intended application and are thus more likely to be of higher accuracy and consistency compared to traditional methods. For example, consider the break test methods for strength estimation of concrete: many things can go wrong during storage and testing. Wireless sensors are connected to in place concrete and give actual data in real-time.

Reports show that IoT sensors consistently achieve 90 percent accuracy in maturity-based strength estimation when compared to standard concrete cylinder breaks. Advancements in concrete sensing technology and IoT devices are eliminating guesswork and delivering more accurate data, thus improving the credibility of test results. Decision-makers get actionable data that they can trust.

Convenience

Physically monitoring concrete curing progress during construction is a laborious and slow process. Traditional methods of collecting temperature, humidity and strength data are time-consuming. IoT devices bring convenience to the job site. Labor is optimized and costs are minimized. By design, IoT sensors aren’t , don’t require expensive components and provide critical real-time data to site personnel for faster decision making. Consulting engineers and Readymix suppliers provide pre-calibrated data online instead of requiring contractors to calibrate mixes themselves.

Conclusion

The proliferation of sensor technology in construction is a great leap towards the future. IoT tools have the potential to improve outcomes throughout the value chain.