A concrete solution to a concrete challenge

What do you get when you combine nifty hardware, clever software and Ramirent’s experience? The answer is an innovative way to monitor the drying process of concrete at worksites. Thousands upon thousands of tons of concrete are poured at construction sites around the year. Before work can move forward, the concrete must of course be dry enough. If flooring is installed over concrete that hasn’t dried properly, potential humidity remaining under the plastic carpet and parquet could cause costly mold and humidity damages.

Digitalization is lauded as the answer to challenges companies are facing – regardless of industry – due to its potential to improve productivity and improve the flow of information. Our overall answer to digitalization is the RamiSmart system, which incorporates a wide selection of digital services and products. One of the newest additions to this portfolio is our RamiSmart concrete condition monitoring system, which remotely collects real-time data on the humidity and temperature of the concrete as well as the room air humidity and temperature. Through the RamiSmart portal, the customer can see how the trend of the drying process is developing.

An efficient yet simple solution

So what makes this so revolutionary? Quite simply, the industry has been lacking a way to monitor the drying of concrete on construction sites efficiently and remotely. Let’s jump back in time a little bit, to days without the concrete condition monitoring solution. Traditionally, sensors would be installed into the concrete and then the workers would wait for up to two weeks before driving back to the worksite to check the sensors. If the concrete wasn’t dry, the workers would have to leave, wait and check back again later. When the drying conditions are good ie. the room air is dry and warm, then the surface of the concrete is more dry than the inner parts. Respectively when the humidity of the air rises, the drying slows down and the humidity of the concrete surface also increases. The manual measurement of humidity can easily therefore be misleading. And this could repeat itself several times, wasting both time and money. Not to mention it’s just plain frustrating!

Supported by the expertise of two partners, we set out to solve this waste of productivity and created the concrete condition monitoring system. It is easy to use with only a few physical parts: a meter with a protective tube, a transmitter unit and an adapter. The meter is installed in a ready-made hole in the concrete, and the system works wirelessly, avoiding any time-consuming hassle with wires on construction sites. The readings are transferred via Bluetooth, the RamiSmart app and a wireless 3G/4G network to the cloud.

On the RamiSmart web portal, the customer can follow the trend of the drying process over a Ramirent Ramismart web portallonger period of time instead of just having access to humidity figures measured at a certain point in time. Instead of a momentary result, we can follow how the drying process is progressing. If the concrete isn’t drying as expected, we can step in and, for instance, turn up the heat to facilitate drying.

For our customers, this translates into savings – both time and money.

Sharing information improves trust

In addition to improving the accuracy of humidity measurement, the system also improves trust between the stakeholders of the construction project. The reading rights to the humidity transmitters at the construction site can be distributed to all parties involved in the project. The customer, site management, construction inspector and subcontractors will gain access to fact-based information, which helps them to assess if the coating of the floors can start. The data is stored in the cloud service and can also be checked afterwards anytime if necessary.

The concrete condition monitoring system has already been in use at NCC’s construction site in Oulu, Finland, where it complemented traditional humidity measurement practices. The customer was happy with the additional support Ramirent’s system provided. Site managers could follow the temperatures and humidity from their own web browser through the RamiSmart portal. During the drying phase, the monitoring of room temperature in combination with humidity was particularly useful as they together have the biggest effect on how fast the concrete will dry.

We look forward to providing the solution for our customers on other worksites. The RamiSmart concrete condition monitoring tool was shortlisted for the ERA Digital Innovation Award 2017.

Development Manager
Ramirent Finland, Finland