Title
The Smart Anchor
Microcontroller Enables Structure Stress Monitoring
Technologies used

    Microcontroller

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    26 Glass, Ceramics, Construction Products
    28 Other Fabricated Metal Products
    29 Tools and Machinery
Abstract

Cintec International Ltd is a company of 15 employees specialising in the design, manufacture and supply of high technology reinforcing anchors for buildings and other major structures, and the supply of associated consultancy services. The company's products and services are used exclusively in the construction and civil engineering industry.

The company's market is worldwide, and the Cintec system has been installed in Europe, New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada, Egypt, and Israel. Company sales at the start of the application experiment in 1999 was 4.24 MEuro. 20% of the company's sales are exports.

The company's products are used to strengthen, restore and protect buildings, bridges, and other major structures, including historic buildings. The products consist of mechanical strengthening braces, and cementitous grout filler compounds. These products previously incorporated no microelectronics, and the company's technical expertise therefore lay in the areas of civil and mechanical engineering. The company has no previous exposure to microelectronic technology.

The existing product is not currently considered a mainstream re-inforcing product because of the invisible nature of the strengthening performed. The market potential for the system is however much larger. The objectives of the application experiment were therefore to demonstrate to customers, first, the need for additional strengthening in structures, second, the strengthening benefits of adopting the Cintec re-inforcing system, and that the installation of the system is conducted reliably so as to deliver this strengthening performance. These product enhancements will provide improved customer confidence in the company's anchor systems, thereby resulting in additional worldwide sales.

The application experiment introduced microcontroller technology into the company's anchoring systems to improve the quality of the installation process and to allow stresses in the strengthened structure to be monitored. The functions performed by the microcontroller device in the new 'Smart Anchor' product are:

  1. The monitoring of grout pressure at designated positions along the anchors during installation. This allows confirmation of correct installation, and provides evidence that maximum reinforced strength has been achieved thereby providing customer satisfaction.
  2. The monitoring of loads at selected sites along the load over time, and the recording of this information for later interrogation.

The improved customer confidence in the company's reinforcement system, together with the exploitation of new opportunities where load monitoring of structures is required, will provide new exploitation possibilities for the Smart Anchor in the construction industry.

The application experiment was conducted over a period of 10 months, and cost 65 K Euro to complete the prototype development.

The increased sales of the Smart Anchor are anticipated to result in a return on investment of 2,544% over a 5 year product life, and to payback the initial investment of the prototype development costs in 20 months.

Company

    Cintec International Ltd
    Factory Road
    Newport
    Gwent
    NP20 5FA
    United Kingdom.


Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Microcontroller technology provided Cintec International Ltd. with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.


Further information   Guiding Technology Transfer Node
For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
Homepage: http://www.fuse-network.com
Univercity of Glamorgan
Mid Glamorgan
Pontypridd CF37 1DL
United Kingdom