Earthquake monitoring turns currency earner
A Christchurch company which developed technology to monitor earthquake activity on the Alpine Fault has landed a contract on one of the world's most spectacular new bridges.
Canterbury Seismic Instruments has sold a customised version of its motion monitoring technology for use on the 1310-metre long Hardanger suspension bridge, in Hordaland, Norway.
CSI will supply and install wireless accelerographs and anemometers at fixed points along the bridge.
They will detect wind motion and communicate the data via text to engineers and other personnel responsible for bridge safety.
The equipment is also being used on Canterbury buildings to check that motion on site is within the tolerance of the structures. The locations include the Civic Offices, terminals at Christchurch Airport, and buildings at the University of Canterbury and Victoria University.
CSI was formed in 2003 as a joint venture between Canterbury University, where the technology was developed, and local business and engineering interests.
The instruments were developed to form part of a network of monitoring equipment around the Alpine Fault.
CSI chief executive Helen McLeod said the bridge was the company's largest international contract.
There were other devices competing on the market, but CSI's rivals did not customise in the same way.
"The main reason we got the Norway contract is because we can do exactly what they need."
She declined to reveal the value of the Norwegian contract, but said it was less than $1 million.
The company was known and well-regarded in seismic engineering circles around the world.
At present some staff, including Hamish Avery, who designed the technology as part of his doctorate studies and is now CSI's chief technical officer, are attending a world seismic engineering conference in Lisbon, Portugal.
The Canterbury earthquakes had tested and shown the benefits of the company's instruments on numerous critical structures and transport, McLeod said.
The technology has been sold locally and overseas and can be used to monitor structures for seismic activity, wind effect, liquefaction, strain, water depth and other environmental factors.
“During the Christchurch 2011 February earthquake we saw key facilities able to reopen instrumented areas to the public within 20 minutes using measurements from our equipment to show that the motion on site was within the tolerance of the structure,” McLeod said.
“We are now also seeing engineers testing buildings to check that day to day movement is in line with the design expectations.”
The technology was being used to provide instant reports on a range of structures such as airports, bridges, seaports, public buildings and commercial property in New Zealand as well as Singapore, Italy, Britain, Romania, South America, Iceland and the Philippines.
- © Fairfax NZ News