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:
- 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.
- 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.