Introducing "Smart Bolts"
[By Frøydis Angard Ulateig]
In the future, intelligent wireless bolts in wind turbines or satellites may be able to let the operator know when something is wrong. This could reduce the risk of human injuries and save cost.
A research team at NTNU in Gjøvik is working to create bolts that send an alert when something is not as it should be or when maintenance is needed. Each bolt must be able to contact a control center, which will receive messages from all intelligent bolts of this type in all installations around the world.
The team working on these wireless bolts includes Professor Michael Cheffena, two fellows and the manufacturer Dokka Fasteners. The vision of the research team is to develop wireless sensors to be installed inside the bolts. If the sensors detect that something is wrong with the bolts, they will send a message to the Dokka Control Center, which will then send a message to their customers. This makes it easier for operators to keep an eye on their equipment and prevent major accidents.
Bolt assemblies are often used in many industries. The purpose is to maintain the right load and to ensure the safety and reliability of the structure.
"Many structures like wind turbines, oil and gas installations are subjected to heavy loads. Today's manual methods for controlling and maintaining bolt loads are very time consuming and costly. So, therefore, developing an effective, common monitoring system is of technical importance," said Cheffena.
There are already different systems for monitoring structures, but the motivation behind this new technology is to make these sensors as cheap as possible and to consume as little energy as possible. This technology can also be used on a smaller scale and in smaller bolts, and the sensors can be very useful in both large and smaller technical installations.
The project will last over three years, and the research team is supported by the Regional Research Fund and Dokka Fasteners.
This article appears courtesy of Gemini.no and has been translated from Norwegian. It may be found in its original form here.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.