HS2 rolls out digital concrete testing system

HS2 rolls out digital concrete testing - photo of a concrete truck-mixer on site
Verifi Concrete Pour

HS2 Ltd has approved the rollout of digital concrete testing following a successful trial with its main works contractor, Balfour Beatty Vinci (BBV).

Over the last two years, BBV and its concrete supply partners Tarmac and Aggregate Industries have tested and validated the VERIFI system, developed by Saint Gobain Construction Chemicals.

VERIFI enables real-time monitoring, measurement, and management of fresh concrete properties during transportation.

By using on-truck sensors linked to proprietary patented algorithms, VERIFI replaces manual consistence (e.g. slump) and temperature testing of fresh concrete. In simple terms, this means the concrete truck mixer tracks itself to the point of delivery, tests itself prior to discharge, and automatically generates pour records for quality assurance purposes.

Analysing the entire volume in the truck instead of spot samples results in improved quality control and more accurate readings. Fewer plant-person interfaces also means improved safety and reduced manual handling on site.

In addition, the system enhances productivity and efficiency by delivering clear digital readouts and eliminating delays associated with sampling and testing processes, which allows for better scheduling and reduces potential bottlenecks in the construction timeline.

A full-scale site trial involving more than 20,000 cu m of concrete demonstrated accuracy and confidence in the technology, and HS2 Ltd has now approved the rollout across further sites.

Eliminating waste

One of the key benefits of the system is the elimination of concrete waste that would have been produced from manual sampling and testing. When the solution is rolled out across BBV’s section of the route, this could result in 1,500 tonnes of carbon being cut.

Steve Phipps, head of materials engineering at BBV, said: “The initial concept of using this technology to reduce manual testing has been developed into a fully integrated digital monitoring and reporting system between producer and customer.”

Joseph Hartley, HS2 technical manager at Aggregate Industries, added: “Working with VERIFI is a monumental step change in supplying quality-assured concrete to our customers. The visibility it gives us and to our clients is unprecedented. The ability to monitor, maintain our product and track vehicle movements allows significant environmental and cost benefits for us and HS2.

“Having worked in the ready-mixed concrete business for 36 years, VERIFI is one of the most significant upgrades to our operational capability I’ve seen.”

HS2 materials and durability lead Jon Knights concluded: “This is a fantastic example of how HS2, working collaboratively with supply chain partners, can provide the ideal test-bed for cutting-edge technologies. We have set big ambitions to drastically cut carbon as we build HS2, and digital surveillance solutions support us on this journey, not only bringing multiple benefits to the project, but paving the way for a new era in the construction industry.”

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