Quality Magazine

Mistras Awarded $3.4M Structural Monitoring System Contract

August 26, 2010

PRINCETON JUNCTION, NJ-Mistras Group Inc. announced that it has received a continuous on-line Structural Health Monitoring System contract valued at $3.4 million to be installed on the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge. Mistras will be the prime contractor for the project, responsible for the sensor and system manufacture, installation and implementation, and providing 24/7 remote health monitoring.

The bridge, which opened in 1936 and has one of the largest spans in the world, currently carries approximately 250,000 vehicles per day. The contract is in response to a fatigue defect that was found on a structural steel beam in a regularly scheduled inspection during the 2009 Labor Day closure. The monitoring system is a proactive and effective response to address safety, and supports Caltran’s reputation as the world's most progressive DOT operator.

The Mistras Structural Health Monitoring System will remotely monitor 384 critical eye bars for the early detection of fatigue defects using its advanced real time "expert system software,” listening to the 640 strategically placed acoustic emission sensors mounted on the bridge's eye bars. The system will operate by automatically sending a message alert to engineering personnel in the event a flaw indication is detected including its location, allowing Caltran’s personnel to promptly initiate a detailed inspection. When delivered, this will possibly be the largest and most advanced automated structural health monitoring system in the world.

Mistras is known worldwide for its comprehensive solutions for monitoring the integrity of infrastructure and designing and manufacturing remote structural monitoring systems since 1978. Within the last ten years alone, Mistras has provided testing and health monitoring on hundreds of bridges and structures worldwide, among which include some of the largest and well-known bridges in the United Kingdom, Pennsylvania, and the greater New York metropolitan areas. Most of these structural health monitoring contracts, particularly for these large historic bridges, involve multi-year monitoring of the structural integrity, generating annual revenue streams for these post-installation services.

Mistras has a long history working with various contracts related to acoustic emission research and sensor fusion development. They are also involved in testing with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and top universities, including a current project with Columbia University aimed at modeling the remaining life of bridge suspension cables. In addition, Mistras was the recipient of a $6.9M project awarded under the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Technology Innovation Program, which is intended to bring a transformational impact in the area of civil infrastructure structural health monitoring using affordable self powered wireless sensors. With approximately 165,000 structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges in the U.S. alone, the need for structural health monitoring has never been greater.