Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


PileInspect Report Summary

Project ID: 605676
Funded under: FP7-SME
Country: Hungary

Periodic Report Summary 1 - PILEINSPECT (Integrity Testing of Deep Foundation Piles)

Project Context and Objectives:
A hundred thousand kilometres of piles are installed yearly in Europe. Problems can occur during pile driving including spalling of concrete at the pile’s head or point and transverse or spiral cracking. Industry figures suggest that as many as 3-5% of piles fail during installation. If a failure is detected, the cost of that pile is increased 4 times due to the remedial work needed to replace it. If a failure is not detected during installation of the new pile, the results can be more catastrophic with costs sometimes exceeding €1 M for a single failure. Current pile inspection techniques involve dynamic load or sonic integrity testing. These are relatively fast to perform. However, the quality of results depends strongly on the knowledge and skill of the operator. It has been found that small defects that are less than about 0.4m (quarter wavelength) are difficult to detect. Some studies also indicate that defects representing less than 50% of cross sectional area are not detectable via sonic integrity testing. PileInspect aims to develop ‘best practice’ for inspecting the integrity of cast-in-place and pre-cast concrete piles and of steel piles. We propose to replace the instrumented hammer and pile driving hammer with a portable shaker which will ensure repeatable, tailored excitation spectra, and should dramatically improve accuracy of estimation of the proposed diagnostic features. Highly innovative signal processing methodologies (based on time frequency analysis techniques formulated for non-stationary signals) could be employed in order to try to increase the quality of diagnosis and perform automatic defect recognition.

Project Results:
Work Package 1 (Preparatory development and modelling) has been fulfilled completely until month 15th and all the deliverables in WP1 have been all submitted. The methodology to process and analyse non-stationary resonance and free vibrations from piles has been reported in D1.1. D1.2 investigated on anomaly detection method for pile damage diagnosis. Experimental shaker test data and comparison of simulation and experimental results were reported in D1.3 and D1.4. Two types of excitation were generated by both shakers: the swept sine excitation and impact excitation. Various sensor arrangements and various locations of shaker excitations have been used. Comparison of the simulation results and real test data showed good agreement. Diagnosis results of piles by the simulation data and by the experimental data also showed good agreement.

Working package 2 (Experimental validation of signal processing by trials) has been fulfilled completely until month 15th and all the deliverables in WP1 have been all submitted. Trials with piles in undamaged and damaged conditions have been performed at Aarsleff Newark site, UK and BAM-TTS test site, Germany. Trials include usage of three exciters: the instrumented hammer, Data Physics shaker and portable low cost shaker. Multiple tri-axial accelerometers were installed in different locations of piles. D2.1 reported the details of experimental trials and test data obtained from the trials. The processing of trial data from damaged and undamaged conditions. The following new techniques were employed: the wavelet higher order spectra for impact excitations from the instrumented hammer and shaker, the chirp Fourier bicoherence for the swept sine excitation from the shaker, and impulse response function (deconvolution) of pile response with sine sweep excitation. The diagnosis results are very successful and show high effectiveness of diagnosis of damaged and undamaged conditions. These results are achieved for the first time in worldwide terms. D2.2 reported the results of validation of signal processing techniques by using experimental data.

Working package 3 (Development and validation of damage diagnosis technology) is not due for completion until month 15, but work is underway on the development of damage diagnosis technology and comparison with traditional PIT by experimental data. 70% of developing diagnosis technologies is completed. Experimental validation of diagnosis technology using experimental data has been successfully started. This work in progress the Consortium partners are doing in parallel with completion of technology development. The first obtained results showed high effectiveness of pile damage diagnosis technology. Measurements using the traditional pile integrity tests (PIT) have been also performed on piles at the BAM test site in Germany and the Aarsleff test site in the UK. The results have been reported to the consortium as well as in D1.3 to be compared to the preliminary shaker test data. All investigations have to be repeated when the final shaker and impulse hammer test setups are available and the piles at the Aarsleff test site are in their final (deep) position.

Working package 4 (PileInspect software and hardware development), like working package 3, is not due for completion until month 15. But the developing and integration of software and hardware platform has already been started from the beginning of project. LabVIEW program was developed for source signal generation, instrument control and data acquisition, including data pre-processing, post-processing and display capabilities. Verities of hardware, including hammers/shakers, amplifiers, data acquisition and power supplier units, have been selected implemented, and compared before uses in experiments. The preliminary prototypes of integrated system have also been largely tested in the laboratory and field trials.

Working package 5 (Field trials, demonstration and optimisation) will begin from month 25.

Working package 6 (Technology exploitation and dissemination of results), is a continuous task of the project. The project website (, as reported in D6.4, has been kept up to date with technical and non-technical development. A flyer to publicize the project has been distributed through the project members and attached to project website as a downloadable file. A draft Plan for use and Dissemination of the Foreground (PUDF, see D 6.1) and Plan for knowledge transfer to SMEs (see D 6.3) have been produced. These include the potential to attract investment for the PileInspect technology beyond the duration of the project. Comprehensive patent searches are to update the Intellectual Property landscape and assess the viability of the expected patent applications (see D6.7 and D6.8). All consortium partners are committed in dissemination to the public and other stakeholders via participating in conferences, seminars, workshop, and exhibitions.

Working package 7 (Consortium management). UBrun in collaboration with HANDT is coordinating the project, organizing a number of meetings, teleconferences with all the partners to ensure that project produces successfully results. A continuous programming of communication with all the partners has been carried out for project development and planning. This has allowed good coordination and cooperation in technical developments within three RTDs. This deliverable (D7.1 - Interim Progress Report) reported project progresses until month 15.

Potential Impact:
The SME members of our SME-AGs participants in the consortium constitute a cohesive supply chain for the manufacture, dissemination and exploitation of the PileInspect technology. They comprise both technology push companies (members of HANDT & AEND) and technology pull companies (member DFI). This will greatly enhance uptake. Furthermore, the benefits of the project to the member companies of the SME-AGs are directly linked to the sale of piles coupled with the assurance of a very effective quality assurance system. The novel PileInspect quality assurance tool will address a market need that is currently unmet and would result in significant economic benefits for the entire SME supply chain. Importantly, this project will improve the competitiveness of the SME members of the SMEAG participants by being the first in the market to offer a robust solution to give an effective quality assurance system in the piling industry. PileInspect will develop the supply chain opportunities for members of the consortium SME-AGs and for the three SMEs involved in the consortium. Moreover, an innovative IPR protected solution will provide the SME-AGs with the ability to add value to PileInspect products and offer products with performance and features that no other competitor can provide. This IPR ownership opens up the possibility for the Consortium participants and their member SMEs to join the new technology-based economy and generate additional revenue from licensing of knowledge rather than just trading on manufactured products and services.

PileInspect will contribute to the community social objectives in many ways by addressing the social, environmental and quality-related market requirements which are growing in importance within the European Union. Improvement of safety of assets (e.g. buildings, bridges, etc.) due to failure avoiding in piles in building and construction industries will be an important social benefit. Health and safety aspects of pile testing by inspectors will be improved because it will be done automatically without using hand-held hammers. The developed technology could be employed for healthcare for osteoporosis and fracture vibration diagnosis in human bones. Reuse of pile foundations (including timber piles) on redevelopment sites, which could be very significant due to application of PileInspect system, will be an important environmental benefit, including waste reduction. It is known that forests play a vital role in stabilising the world’s climate and are critically important in the fight against climate change.

List of Websites:


Szofia Fogl, (project coordinator)
Tel.: +36 1 2780632
Fax: +36 1 278 0633
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