Robots and data will optimise Sund & Bælt’s operation and maintenance

Sund & Bælt has embarked on a technology leap that will ensure more efficient and intelligent operation and maintenance of its major infrastructure facilities. Consequently, the Group is investigating the potential for using robot technology for operation and maintenance on the Storebælt fixed link.

The initiative is part of a new business strategy whereby Sund & Bælt is looking to digitise the operation of its major facilities in collaboration with external technology partners.

In many industries, Big Data, the Internet of Things, sensors and robots are part of everyday life. However, such technology has yet to be fully utilised in the building and construction industry. Sund & Bælt wishes to help drive change in this area. In collaboration with innovative strategic partners, the Group wishes to develop and apply new technology in its daily operation and maintenance in order to enhance efficiency.

Robots inspect Storebælt Bridge

It is both complex and expensive to maintain largescale infrastructure facilities. Sund & Bælt currently invests around DKK 500 million in operation, maintenance and reinvestments, where DKK 300 million per year is channelled into the Storebælt Bridge. There are, of course, good reasons for this. Some 35,000 motorists cross the Storbælt Bridge every day, with the number expected to increase. This means that the need for operation and maintenance is set to increase.

Sund & Bælt’s ambition is to digitise the operation of the largescale infrastructure facilities using drones, robots and sensors to collect images and data. The aim is to achieve savings of 2 per cent per annum over the next five years.

Sund & Bælt, therefore, has joined forces with strategic partners, including the international consulting company COWI.  COWI is currently carrying out drone inspections at the Storebælt Bridge in order to identify the need for maintenance at the 325,000 tonne anchor blocks. Sund & Bælt and COWI have already built a digital 3D model of the anchor block.

The next step is to feed a supercomputer with the collected images and data enabling it to pinpoint areas where maintenance is required or where changes have occurred on the anchor block.

Knowledge can be shared with other sectors

Sund & Bælt’s digital ventures are not just a matter of process optimisation. By making Storebælt the focal point for the development and application of new technology, Sund & Bælt will be able to share experience and knowledge with both Danish and international partners.

Videos: See how robot technology is used in practice


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