On 22nd June back in 2001 the Kadalundi River rail bridge collapsed leaving 59 innocent, unsuspecting people dead and more than 300+ injured (Source – Wikipedia). This horrific incident brought to light the alarming need for bridge asset integrity. Mourned by thousands, this was an appalling bridge construction failure in India. This catapulted the government into setting some strict guidelines for asset maintenance that have developed and upgraded over the years.
Common folk spends very little time thinking about the health of the structure that they commute on. However, each bridge we cross over our lifetime requires regular underwater bridge inspection to be safe for public usage. Routine inspections help the engineers in identifying causes of concerns and rectifying them before they create bigger problems that can jeopardize the safety of the commuters.
Why are Railway Bridge Inspections Necessary?
India has a staggering network of 1,47,523 bridges out of which around 37,689 i.e. 1 out of 4 are a century old or older. These bridges have passed their prime and require regular maintenance to function smoothly. These bridges act as an important link to various destinations boosting economic growth and offering a means of transportation. The life cycle of these bridges is diminished by the traffic volume and the load it takes year by year. If left uninspected the dilapidating bridge structure might cause a sudden or prolonged collapse. Thus, to avoid such disastrous incidents, regular inspections need to be undertaken to gauge the underlying problems in bridges.
What is Underwater Bridge Inspection?
In simple terms, underwater bridge inspection can be defined as the process of examination of the submerged structure of the bridge. During the inspection, the number of cracks, defects, anomalies etc. is measured (length and width), post that visual proof of the defects is taken.
In accordance with the documented defects and suggested measures, a budget is enabled to carry out the maintenance and repair works.
How is Bridge Inspection Carried out now?
Until recently, the inspection of bridges has been labor-intensive. These inspections are dangerous as the diver is required to travel to complex and confined locations along with equipment. Every inch of the structure needs to be reviewed to identify cracks, cavities, rust damage, and other indicators of structural deterioration.
It is a very slow procedure that can take hours and sometimes even days to complete. Furthermore, owing to the longer duration manual inspections are also costly and may require extended funding.
The Advent of ROV Inspections!
In contradiction to manual inspections, ROV inspections do not place human life at risk. So also, ROVs can capture data faster, require much less time and provide better accuracy and efficiency in comparison to traditional methods.
Underwater bridge inspection companies such as Planys have designed and developed ROV systems that can be easily mounted with the required payloads such as cameras, sensors, probes, etc. required for the inspection. In addition to easy inspection, we have also devised a solution for the effortless interpretation of inspection data. Our unique Planys Analytics Dashboard portrays the data with geotagged locations, defect quantifications and click-to-view video features. This helps our clients to understand the data better and make data- driven decisions for the health and safety of their underwater structures.
Have the Indian Railways Accepted our Technology?
Planys’ unique inspection solution is receiving an overwhelming response from the Indian Railway sector. In a first, Indian railway bridges are now being inspected by Planys’ robots at an affordable cost using state-of-technology and digital reporting methodologies. It is a huge leap for traditional sectors that were earlier using outdated technology and only relied on divers for underwater inspections.
Thus, it would be safe to say that Planys’ one-of-a-kind solutions are bringing about a new era for underwater inspections. ROVs are proving to be a safe, effective, and feasible option for collecting valuable asset integrity data. If you wish to know more interesting information about ROVs and their workings visit www.planystech.com or dial +91-8448188507.