Düsseldorf Airport: Ready for takeoff with smart sensor technology

Düsseldorf Airport is one of the most important German hubs in international air traffic. In future, digital processes will play a role in successfully handling its more than 24 million passengers annually. Intact, reliable traffic routes and the construction infrastructure form the foundation of these processes. The airport has teamed with Deutsche Telekom/T-Systems and its partner BS2 Sicherheitssysteme to develop a digital monitoring solution for bridges, tunnels, buildings, and other infrastructure objects made of concrete.

Bridge transmits over the IoT

The access road to the airport’s tank farm is a neuralgic point for smooth flight operations. A bridge provides the sole access route to the farm. More than 120 fuel tank trucks, carrying 30,000 liters of kerosene each, commute daily over this stretch of road between runway and container tanks. This enormous load causes material fatigue in the long term. In the future, sensors and the Internet of Things will identify impending damage, preventing bottlenecks in supplying kerosene to the aircraft. 50 sensors in the road surface and bridge copings measure temperature, humidity, and corrosion. This sensor data can help identify critical conditions or irreparable damage to the concrete structures. The renovation measures can be extensive. The data is exchanged over Deutsche Telekom’s machinery and sensor network (Narrowband-IoT) nearly in real time.


(Photo: T-Systems.)

The transportation infrastructure is getting smart

“Previously, material samples were needed to gain information about a building’s condition – a complex method that usually involved destruction,” says Michael Hohenecker, Head of Data Management and Building Inspection at Real Estate Management, Düsseldorf Airport. “We have a bottleneck here at the central tank farm. The digital solution protects us against unforeseeable damage to the access road and the disruptions to tank usage that it would entail.”

Other roads around the Düsseldorf Airport are also being equipped with sensors, step by step. The installed sensors have a lifetime of up to 70 years. They can be installed in new construction products or retrofitted in existing concrete structures.

Source: press release (edited).

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