As the CEO of PASCHAL, a Danish construction equipment supplier, Jacob Christensen asked a tech company to develop a tool it could use to monitor the concrete pressure inside of formwork it rents out. That gave the tech company, Sensohive, the idea of trading its work on the pressure-monitoring tool in exchange for Christensen’s help creating a system to monitor the internal temperature of curing concrete. It then leveraged the emerging capabilities of the internet of things to continually report the data in real time, delivering concrete maturity monitoring over the internet, anywhere.
The resulting product, called Maturix, attracted the interest of a Canadian admixture company, Kryton International, which bought a 30% share in Sensohive in September to bring it to North America, which it plans to do this spring.
Christensen is not an investor, other than to purchase units to rent out. His contribution has been to deliver expertise to guide Sensohive in the creation of the hardware and software to meet his, and the construction industry’s needs.
“Since that time we have bought all this stuff and have rented it out to contractors who have used it and are quite happy about it,” Christensen says.
So far, he says his is the only company supplying the system in Denmark, although he knows of a Danish concrete delivery company that offers it to its customers, and of other firms using it in Norway.
The system doesn’t use cell phone networks or modems to convey data from sacrificial sensors inside curing concrete. Instead, the Maturix reusable data collection units fling their data into the air every few seconds, conveyed by ultra-low bandwidth, low-power radio signals, for distribution by an emerging network of IoT receivers beginning to be deployed worldwide. Users can log into a dashboard presenting the internal concrete data to see granular information about the curing concrete’s temperature, strength and maturity.
“I can access my data from anywhere in the world. That’s the beauty about it,” says Gregory Pereira, materials control coordinator at SCP Geotek, a civil, geotechnical and environmental engineering firm based in Montreal.
Pereira says IoT data transmission coverage is spreading rapidly, making harvesting the data simpler. “Also, I am able to share my data with the other people involved in the pours. Once I start the sensors, they get a notice and can follow the data in real time. We are all looking at the same [user friendly] screen,” he adds.
Christensen says the system can tell you when to remove formwork and shoring systems, and concrete quality will be improved by preventing cracks and other defects. For example, one customer detected a sudden temperature drop on a part of a curing bridge deck. He found a cover had partially blown off in a storm and was able to save the work.
By knowing much more about concrete and its behavior, it will be possible to put in less cement and make it more environmentally friendly, Christensen says. “If you have more data about the concrete, then you can optimize it,” he adds.