Skip to main content

The A-Z of Wireless Monitoring

Senceive

Published Tue 15th Nov 2022

The A-Z of Wireless Monitoring: Your guide to Senceive's intelligent monitoring technology

 

 

A is for Applications

Because our solutions are so versatile, they’re used for many structural and geotechnical applications and throughout a project’s lifecycle.

Use them short-term, for example in an emergency situation, to allow people to work safely around an unstable structure; medium-term, such as a multi-year construction programme; and long-term, for example for structural health monitoring (our longest deployment so far will operate for 25 years).

 

B is for Bridges

Find out how you can get real-time structural stability monitoring data from the comfort and safety of your desk. With wireless technology you can identify problems earlier, increase asset lifespan, get the most from limited resources and prioritise safety: Bridge Brochure (flippingbook.com)

By reducing the need for site visits by as much as 80% you will cut carbon emissions, reduce the risk of accidents on site and have more time to focus on assessing performance and making well-considered decision.

Example bridge applications include monitoring convergence of arches or relative movement of piers, settlement due to foundation failure or scour, excessive joint movement, and measuring strain in critical elements such as cables and beams.

 

C is for Crack Sensor

Our Crack Sensor Node can be used to monitor structural behaviour including the development of cracks in concrete or masonry, movement of expansion joints and pile separation.

The crack sensor kit comprises a FlatMesh or GeoWAN wireless node and a potentiometric linear displacement sensor that is mounted to span across the crack or joint, with fixings at each end. A kit can typically be installed in minutes and will deliver 12 to 15 years of remote monitoring. Users will get alerts of excessive movement that could represent an emergency, and a large body of data to enable assessment of “normal” cyclic trends and anomalous behaviour indicting more gradual deterioration.

 

 

D is for Data Visualisation

The need for precise, repeatable measurements is a given for any monitoring project. For wireless monitoring projects it is also critical to consider how the data will be communicated from site to stakeholder. Our product range has a number of communications gateway options to suit different sites and applications. The gateway collates and forwards data from sensor networks to the internet. Factors to consider include availability of mains power, cellular signal, and Wi-Fi as well as the capacity for data storage in case of communications outages. Our experts will be able to advise which gateway is most suitable for your project.

 

E is for Earthworks

Most types of infrastructure depend on the performance of earthworks such as cuttings and embankments. The ability to detect ground movement quickly and reliably can save lives and reduce disruption.

Senceive technology is used to safeguard earthworks near critical assets. Our InfraGuard™ solution is the world’s most widely used wireless remote slope monitoring technology. Users get near real-time warning of sudden movement such as landslides and can also track longer term incremental movement. A range of sensors such as borehole piezometers and soil moisture loggers can be integrated with the wireless system.

 

F is for FlatMesh™

FlatMesh™ is the intelligent monitoring platform for applications where you need a dense, highly responsive monitoring solution. In a FlatMesh™ system, smart sensor nodes ‘talk’ to their neighbours, relaying data in a series of hops to a cellular gateway and onwards to the outside world. This dynamic, non-hierarchical system is extremely robust and can tolerate damage to individual devices without systematic loss of performance. It is suited to dense networks concentrated in relatively small areas. It is particularly appropriate for sites that are difficult to access, with obstructions that would constrain other technologies.

  • Range: 300 metres
  • Reporting frequency: up to 1 second
  • Max nodes per gateway:  100
  • Battery life of sensor nodes: up to 15 years

 

G is for GeoWAN™

GeoWAN™ is our long-range platform and is ideal where sensors are more widely dispersed.

GeoWAN uses a lower frequency radio band than FlatMesh. It is based on the industry standard LoRaWAN protocol and is capable of long-range transmission with sensors able to communicate with a gateway at a distance as great as 15 km.

Monitoring systems using GeoWAN have the power to transmit through physical obstructions, enabling, for example, integration of sensors in boreholes or on buildings above a tunnel with movement sensors measuring deformation inside the tunnel.  

From the gateway the options for getting the data to the outside world are restricted only by the available infrastructure. The simplest option in most cases is to use the gateway’s integrated cellular (2G/3G/4G) modem; alternatively, the gateway’s Ethernet connection may be used to enable connectivity via WiFi, ADSL or cable connections.

  • Range: up to 15 km depending on the environment
  • Maximum reporting frequency: 30 seconds (depending on network capacity)
  • Battery life of sensor nodes: up to 15 years

 

H is for High G

Both our IX and Nano Triaxial Tilt Sensor Nodes have High G versions, specifically designed for high shock and vibration environments like railway sleepers/ties.  These highly robust sensors have a repeatability of 0.0025° (±0.0436 mm/m), compared to the repeatability of our standard IX and Nano Tilt Sensors, which is 0.0005° (±0.0087 mm/m).

In addition to high vibration rail environments, they can also be used for other monitoring applications in very challenging environments. Typical applications include monitoring of structural elements of conveyor belts, settling or separation tanks on mining sites, or foundations of machines in an industrial environment.

 

I is for InfraGuard™

InfraGuard is the intelligent wireless monitoring solution developed by Senceive to help asset owners manage critical infrastructure. InfraGuard not only tells you what your assets are doing – it shows you. Smart tilt sensors give you immediate insight of a sudden event such as a landslide at a remote site, and cameras send images to validate the alert. Key features include:

Sudden Movement - the ability to not only understand long-term trends and patterns, but to detect sudden movement in near real-time is fundamental to monitoring critical assets. The network intelligence built into FlatMesh™ nodes enables them to trigger a sample if they detect 1°/second of tilt, regardless of their pre-set sampling schedule. This results in a high level of confidence that a sudden event will be detected.

Sensor Triggering - if a sensor detects movement that breaches a threshold it will trigger a sample to be taken on all the sensors within its network. This is crucial for interpreting an alert to understand its validity or potential impact.

Camera Triggering - when a camera is deployed it will send images on a pre-set schedule,but will also be triggered automatically by the detection of sudden movement by sensors.

Responsive Alarms - to save power and maintain the autonomy of the system, data uploads normally take place every 15 minutes. However, through the intelligence of the system, if an alert is received by the Gateway, it will immediately connect to the cellular network and upload its data

Dynamic Sampling/Reporting - when movement is detected, a higher sampling rate is often required to understand the rate of change and to plan appropriate steps. Pre-defined parameters and trigger levels can be programmed, which instruct the system to change sampling and reporting rates according to the degree of movement.

 

J is for Journey

Since 2005, Senceive has been singularly focused on bringing intelligent wireless condition monitoring to civil engineering and rail applications. Our longevity is significant for two reasons: We were the first in our field to recognise the immense potential of remote monitoring to keep people and infrastructure safe, and secondly, we’ve had ample time to learn and evolve into the most established, respected and trusted company in the market today.

 

K is for Keeping people and infrastructure safe

Our technology monitors assets in some of the world’s most complex and potentially dangerous environments.

With insights gained from instant alerts and automated continuous monitoring, we empower our customers to make critical decisions, plan their responses, and ultimately, protect at-risk assets and keep people safe.

Sending people to site to perform geotechnical and structural monitoring can be costly and dangerous.  Our reliable and long-lasting technology both reduce the time users spend at risk on site and mitigate the risks of potential failure with early warnings of distress or movement.

 

L is for LTE Camera

The LTE camera is a monochrome 4G digital camera which takes clear, high quality photographs day or night without needing fixed power or communications infrastructure. It sends images to remote stakeholders on a user defined pre-set schedule, and can be triggered automatically by the detection of sudden movement or by a user in Senceive WebMonitor™ software.

Deployed as an element of the InfraGuard™ critical asset protection solution the camera provides eyes on site immediately once a potential problem has been detected – in time to take steps (such as stopping trains) before response teams can reach the site. It also helps to identify false alerts and prevent unnecessary disruption.

The camera connects to a solar-powered EdgeHub (with FlatMesh) unit which provides power and connectivity over the cellular network (2G/3G/4G) or available wired ethernet networks.  With a wide operational temperature range of -20°C to 55°C, it can be used in virtually all climates and can deal with extreme temperature changes.

 

M is for Millivolt Sensor

The highly versatile Millivolt Sensor Node enables a range of structural and geotechnical sensors to be integrated into a wireless remote condition monitoring system.

Compatible with both our FlatMesh™ and GeoWAN™ wireless communication platforms, the Millivolt sensor can be installed in minutes and used to monitor a range of resistive bridge sensors, including strain gauges and load cells.  It uses an integrated radio transceiver to report its measurements via wireless communication network to a Gateway - so you don’t need to visit site to read instruments any more.

Supported sensors include: foil strain gauges, torque sensors, pressure sensors (differential and absolute), load cells, load pins, moisture sensing and conductivity instruments.

With a 12-15 year battery life the Millivolt node can be used for long-term monitoring in a wide range of environments, and can even be embedded into a concrete structure. It can enable low-maintenance, ongoing monitoring to help asset owners spot the difference between “normal” cyclic trends and anomalous behaviour that can indicate significant problems.

 

N is for Nano

The Nano sensor node range includes the Nano, NanoPlus and NanoMacro triaxial tilt sensor nodes. All are built to deliver precise, reliable tilt monitoring for demanding applications such as rail, construction, and mining.

The NanoMacro is the largest of the range, and has a battery life up to 15 years.  They are highly durable, have no external antenna and a waterproof shell (IP68/IP69K rated), and can withstand the most challenging environments.

With a wide range of simple fixings, they can be installed on almost any surface, in any orientation, and reliably transmit precise readings from site to Senceive WebMonitor™ or third-party visualisation software via our FlatMesh™ communications platform and a Gateway.

Nano tilt sensors are used successfully worldwide in applications including:

  • Tunnel distortion
  • Tunnel heave/settlement
  • Slope management
  • Structural movement
  • Rail track heave/settlement
  • Rail trackbed cant and twist

 

O is for Optical Displacement Sensor

The optical displacement sensor (ODS) combines a precise tilt meter with a laser displacement sensor to determine the stability of the structure to which it is mounted and to measure changes in the distance to another structure. Data updates and alerts can be transferred to remote stakeholders via a solar-powered cellular Gateway or using established internet connections if they are available at the site.

Used as part of a wireless remote monitoring solution, the ODS is a highly effective means of monitoring movement in a range of structural and geotechnical applications such as:

  • Convergence/divergence of tunnels or bridges
  • Vertical movements for structural settlement/heave
  • Lateral movements, such as rail track slew
  • Earthworks and embankment movement
  • Water level monitoring/dewatering.

The ODS can provide an attractive alternative to well-established observation methods such as manual tape extensometer, geodetic total stations and laser scanning. To varying degrees, these come with disadvantages that include the need for physical contact with the structure by qualified personnel, the generation of large volumes of data and the impracticality of short (< 1 day) observation periods.

Like other Senceive wireless monitoring technology the ODS is quick to install and can be left in place for up to 10 years, making it suitable for short term applications such as demolition or construction projects, or much longer-term structural health monitoring applications.

 

P is for PT100 RTD Sensor

The PT100 RTD sensor can be supplied as a standalone temperature interface sensor or as a combined temperature sensor and triaxial tilt sensor. This makes it ideal for assets that might be more susceptible to movements caused by temperature fluctuations.

Data outputs are passed through either a FlatMesh™ or GeoWAN™ wireless communications network to a Gateway and onto our WebMonitor™ software or your own software for remote viewing off-site.

With an accuracy of ±0.1 °C and operating temperature range of -40°C to +85°C, users will get near real-time alerts even in the most challenging of environments when pre-defined temperature thresholds are breached.

Like other Senceive wireless monitoring technology the PT100 RTD can typically be installed in minutes and left in place for 12-15 years, making it suitable for short term applications such as concrete curing, or long-term applications such as critical rail temperature alerting.

 

Q is for Quarries and Mines

Our technology provides mine operators with critical data and automated alerts with fewer site visits and great flexibility than other monitoring options. Across a range of applications, it can deliver safety, economic and environmental benefits.

Example applications include open cast mines, underground mines and shafts, processing plants, pipelines and tailings dams.

Three reasons to monitor:
  1. The efficiency of many open pit quarries and mines relies on slopes, such as steep excavated faces or built structures such as tailings dams and waste dumps. These can be subject to constantly changing conditions and failure in the form of unplanned settlement or collapse could have catastrophic effects.
  2. Quarry and mine infrastructure such as processing facilities, haul roads, railroads and pipelines can be subject to extreme loads and challenging conditions. Reliable data on their physical stability and performance can be critical to their safe and efficient operation.
  3. Underground assets such as shafts, adits, galleries, chimneys and ramps require constant monitoring in order to identify and quantify movement that could represent a risk to the integrity and safety of the structure. This can take the form of short-term monitoring close to the tunnelling face or longer-term monitoring over a period of many years.


Senceive wireless monitoring technology enables quarry and mine operators to utilise a range of sensors to provide data updates and automated alerts. Sensors and applications include:

  • Slope stability – tilt nodes with camera (InfraGuard) and millivolt sensor
  • Tunnel deformation – optical displacement sensors and tilt nodes, vibrating wire sensor and millivolt sensor.
  • Crack or joint movement – crack sensor
  • Water level – piezometer

 

R is for Rail

The rail sector has embraced the capability of wireless remote condition monitoring more than any other. Infrastructure owners such as Network Rail, BNSF and Deutsch Bahn rely on more than 20,000 wireless sensors to monitor movement and other critical parameters on their track, earthworks and structures.

Because the technology is quick to install and sufficiently robust to deliver precise, reliable data over an ultra-long lifespan they can reduce the need for site visits and be more confidant that incremental change and sudden events such as landslides can be detected. And with automated alerts to remote stakeholders they can take action like deciding to slow or block traffic within minutes of a problem.

Just some of the things that can be monitored:

Trackbed

  • Cant or cross-level (the height of one rail compared to another)
  • Twist – based on the difference in cant at two consecutive node positions
  • Longitudinal settlement – measured by accumulating vertical displacement for each sensor chain location and then correcting the accumulated error
  • temperature – ambient temperature can be measured by any Senceive node to enable movement and weather trends to be compared; rail temperature can be measured using an external magnetic sensor fixed to the rail
  • Track slew – measured by assessing the change in distance between a fixed object such as a wall or gantry and the rail using an optical displacement sensor (ODS) node.

Bridges and Tunnels:

  • Convergence and deformation using tilt sensors or optical displacement sensors
  • Crack or joint movement using crack sensor node
  • Strain – using vibrating wire sensor node

Earthworks

  • Early warning of slope failure and landslides using InfraGuard™ technology
  • Ground water levels and pore water pressure using piezometer
  • Vertical and lateral ground movement using borehole inclinometer or extensometer

 

S is for Structures

Engineers and asset owners responsible for structures such as tunnels, bridges and dams face a growing set of challenges in order to protect their infrastructure and the people that use it.

More than 40,000 road bridges in the USA alone are classed as deficient (ARBTA Bridge Report, 2022). It is not realistic to repair or replace all of these in the short-term, so management strategies must be implemented that reduce risk to an acceptable level at a price that be afforded. A growing number of asset owners are seeing remote condition monitoring with real-time alerting systems as a key part of the solution.

Older structures face multiple challenges to their integrity, such as impact, permitted heavy loads, and extreme weather. Deterioration can often be hard to spot and the incremental failure of a structure, such as reinforced concrete bridge, can start with very small degrees of movement which can be easily missed by bridge inspectors but can eventually lead to sudden and catastrophic failure. 

Wireless remote condition monitoring alerting systems can prioritize response at-risk structures after seismic or high velocity water events and help to verify structural integrity following barge or truck impact. With continuous remote monitoring and automated alerts in place there is less reliance on infrequent inspections.

What can be measured:

  • Detection of abnormal, non-cyclic movement, for example due to scour of foundations or weakening of post tensioned beams
  • Crack or joint movement trends
  • Strain
  • Load
  • Temperature
  • Displacement, convergence of piers
  • Geotechnical parameters such as ground water levels and ground movement

 

T is for Triaxial Tilt Sensors

Our wireless triaxial tilt sensor nodes are at the heart of most of the monitoring systems installed around the world by our partners and clients. More than 70,000 tilt sensors have been installed in over 40 countries worldwide since 2015.

We offer two main types: the long-established IX nodes, and the Nano range – which features an internal aerial and NFC capability. They both transmit precise rotational movement readings to the nearest 0.0001° from site to Senceive’s WebMonitor™ portal, or your own visualisation software via wireless communication platform and Gateway.  They are easy to use, extremely robust and with a wide range of simple fixings, can be installed in minutes to virtually any surface, at any orientation and left in place for up to 15 years with no maintenance.

Data from our triaxial tilt sensors helps users to understand the condition and behaviour of a wide range of assets. Clients in the rail, construction, infrastructure, and mining sectors are the most frequent users. Common applications include:

  • Tunnel deformation – convergence, heave and settlement
  • Early warning of slope failure – detection of incremental and sudden failure
  • Structural movement – stability of buildings and structures
  • Rail track geometry - heave/settlement, cant and twist

 

U is for Underground

Senceive technology has been used in over a hundred tunnelling and underground space projects in more than 20 countries in the last decade. Some applications have lasted just a few hours and others will run for 25 years. 

Wireless monitoring plays a key role in the construction and maintenance of various tunnel elements and underground structures, such as:

  • Refurbishment and structural modification, for example for strengthening, rail track lowering and electrification
  • Monitoring the stability of third-party buildings and assets
  • Shafts and diaphragm walls
  • New construction
  • Temporary works

Our wireless solutions provide precise, reliable structural and geotechnical data. Data is transferred from sensors to a Gateway and onto WebMonitor™ viewing software, or is easily integrated with third party software. Most tunnel installations use the cellular network or wi-fi to transmit data to the Gateway, but if these are not viable, bespoke monitoring hubs can be built with USB Gateways and industrial networking equipment – which are powered by mains (AC) supply with a battery backup.

A wide range of sensors can be integrated with our wireless platforms to provide data and alerts relating to:

  • Convergence/divergence: measured using rings of Triaxial Tilt sensors on beams for brick and stone lined tunnels, and by mounting tilt sensors onto the segments for concrete or steel-lined tunnels
  • Tunnel deformation in a single axis: Optical Displacement Sensors can be used to directly measure convergence or divergence
  • Longitudinal settlement & heave: Triaxial Tilt sensors on beams along the tunnel, or mounted directly on lining segments
  • Joint & crack displacement: Crack Sensors mounted across the crack to measure expansion and contraction
  • Ground pore water pressure and water levels: using a wireless Vibrating Wire Sensor with Piezometer prevents the need for manual logging
  • Strain: using a Millivolt integrator node to transmit data wirelessly (we’ve even embedded these into precast concrete segments).

 

V is for Vibrating Wire Sensor

Our highly versatile Vibrating Wire Sensor Node enables a range of structural and geotechnical sensors to be integrated into a wireless remote condition monitoring system.

Compatible with both our FlatMesh™ and GeoWAN™ wireless communication platforms, the Vibrating Wire sensor can be installed in minutes and is capable of exciting and sampling vibrating wire sensors and reporting measurements through wireless communications network to a Gateway – so you don’t need to visit site to read instruments.

Supported sensors include: piezometers, strain gauges, load & pressure cells, in-place inclinometers, crack gauges, soil moisture sensors and extensometers.

With a 12-15 year battery life the Vibrating Wire sensor node can be used for long-term monitoring in a harsh environments, and can even be embedded into a concrete structure like a tunnel. It can enable low-maintenance, ongoing monitoring to help asset owners spot the difference between “normal” cyclic trends and anomalous behaviour that can indicate significant problems.

 

W is for WebMonitor™

Senceive's WebMonitor™ is an easy-to-use, web-based data visualisation system which provides customers with a user-friendly tool for the management of Senceive monitoring solutions that have been deployed in the field.

WebMonitor is highly configurable to suit the specifics of your monitoring project. Customisable site images, calculations and alert triggers are just the start of what is possible. Role-based access control and HTTPS are used to ensure your data stays safe.

Different options are available to transfer WebMonitor data into other third-party systems.

Key features include:

  • Customisable site images or maps for display of overlaid sensor data
  • Interactive data visualisation, including time series and beam/IPI chain style charts
  • Sophisticated alerting with multiple configurable trigger levels and SMS/email alerts
  • Easy to download datasets
  • Camera image viewer if cameras are installed on site
  • Virtual sensor calculations (derived sensors, aggregate sensors and sensor chains)
  • All modern web browsers supported
  • Custom branding

 

X, Y & Z 

Our Triaxial Tilt Sensor Nodes which include our Nanos and IX nodes, have an integrated triaxial tilt monitor sensor that allows you to measure tilt from different angles, depending on the installation orientation.  The three-axis measurement is based on how the sensor is positioned with respect to gravity.  Two axes are usable for measurements at any given time.  The movement data that is reported is based on the two axes of rotation from the horizontal plane.

Both the Nanos and IX Nodes have a wide range of simple fixings available to allow for extremely quick installation on any surface in any orientation. Movement data is transmitted from sensor to Gateway via wireless communication platform and onto WebMonitor™ data viewing software, or a third-party software of your choice.

 

Tagged as:

  • wireless monitoring
  • iiot
  • remote monitoring
  • wireless sensors