The Köhlbrand Bridge is not only a landmark, but also the main artery for the traffic that flows through the Port of Hamburg. Built in the 1970s, the structure is subject to high levels of stress resulting from the increasing levels of road traffic. Up to 36,000 vehicles pass over the bridge every day. Constant and precise monitoring of the structure is required. Performing conventional inspection and maintenance presents an enormous and challenging task.
In order to ensure safe operation as well as avoid road closures and other traffic restrictions on Hamburg’s logistical backbone, intelligent measures are needed to replace extensive and reactive procedures with smaller and more targeted approaches. As part of the project “smartBRIDGE Hamburg” the Köhlbrand Bridge was equipped with more than 500 sensors, both internal and external, which collect digital data in real-time. This data is analysed and translated into condition indicators, which are visualized in the digital twin of the bridge.
This digital twin enables permanent, ongoing monitoring of the bridge’s condition. SmartBRIDGE Hamburg combines the results of traditional inspections with the digital information gained from structural diagnosis and monitoring. We thereby benefit from the advantages of both processes and establish a single point of truth.
smartBRIDGE Hamburg enables us to perform predictive maintenance – predicting and preventing damage before it occurs. Maintenance work is less disruptive, more cost-effective and of higher quality. We increase infrastructure life-cycles and operational efficiency as well as decrease both cost and CO2 emissions. The optimization and timely planning of repair and smart maintenance works result in lower operational costs and reduced workloads.
The Hamburg Port Authority plans to apply this technology to other infrastructural assets such as bridges, quay walls, and locks. This is part of the organization’s strategy to develop sustainable port infrastructure going forward.