The DIFCAM platform demonstrates world-class capability in the use of optical techniques to rapidly monitor & assess asset condition. It is initially designed for rail tunnels using a vehicle-based capture system, but intended for eventual use in other unsafe, hostile or remote asset management environments.
The system captures a complete visual record of the structure in question as well as a 3-dimensional model. Using a high-grade inertial guidance platform, these datasets combine to produce a high quality 3-dimensional representation of the asset in question as well as indexing the raw data for later analysis. The captured data is inspected but also compared to previously captured data, identifying potential new defects or deterioration of defects identified previously, for example cracks, spalling or bulging.
Benefits and advantages of the DIFCAM approach
- Rapid data capture: depending on the asset / structure in question, the capture system functions at speed to collect data as it passes the structure, unlike a site inspection.
- Direct inspection-to-inspection comparison: the system can highlight differences down to 1mm.
- Full record of the structure: the system creates a re-usable time history of appearance and shape to support further inspection or other purposes.
- Frees up the time of experienced inspectors: reduced need for inspectors to attend on site, as assessment of defects can take place remotely.
- Reduction in cost and improvement in workforce safety:
- Autonomous control of the system can be used for hazardous or difficult-to access environments
- Earlier detection of defects enables more proactive tunnel maintenance strategies
- Richer, more detailed spatial data: 3D measurements of the structure can be produced e.g. area or length of a defect.
- Modular architecture: individual or combined elements of the platform can be adapted for numerous further application areas.