A digital twin for railway bridges

  Copyright: © Institute of Construction Management and Digital Engineering, Leibniz University Hannover  

How can the bridge maintenance process be digitized? The consortium of the DiMaRB research project, which has now been successfully completed, addressed this question. As part of the research project, a concept for a digital, intelligent and predictive maintenance strategy was developed.

The consortium around the research project DiMaRB (digital maintenance of railway bridges), consisting of science, practice partners, infrastructure operators and supervisory authorities, pursued the goal of a digital, predictive maintenance concept for railway bridges over a project period of 3.5 years to develop. The concept is based on the use of sensor-based structural monitoring in the form of Structural Health Monitoring (SHM). The data integration takes place in a digital building model using the methodology of Building Information Modeling (BIM). For this purpose, a communication and collaboration platform was developed on which damage patterns, all results of metrological monitoring and other information from the bridge inspections can be organized centrally and displayed in a user-specific manner.

In the project, the directly involved interest groups (plant managers, building inspectors, BIM planners/users and monitoring specialists) have developed the necessary processes for an interdisciplinary basic concept for digitally supported maintenance of the railway infrastructure in Germany.

"The digitization of our systems enables us to derive efficient maintenance strategies," emphasizes the project partner DB Netz AG.

The methodological approach lies in the intelligent linking of inspection and monitoring data with digital building models (shBIM). The methodology was developed and tested using monitoring data from existing bridge structures. The concept for the digital maintenance of railway bridges was finally demonstrated on real bridge structures, such as the Grubentalbrücke as part of the VDE 8 high-speed line.

At the end of the project, the promising research results are to be presented to the interested public at a final meeting.

Invitation to the public final meeting

On May 10th, 2022, all interested parties are cordially invited to the public part of the final meeting, where the consortium partners will present their project results. In the specialist lectures, topics such as digitization in construction will be addressed and related to maintenance in bridge construction.

Link to participation: Registration DiMaRB final meeting

Project consortium

  • Institute for Concrete Structures, Leibniz University Hanover,
  • Institute for solid construction, TU Dresden
  • Institute for Construction Management, Leibniz University Hanover
  • Institute for Construction Management, Digital Engineering and Robotics in Construction, RWTH Aachen University
  • MKP GmbH
  • albert.ing GmbH
  • DB Netz AG
  • Federal Railway Authority
  • Funding for the DiMaRB project
  • The DiMaRB project was funded by the Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport with a total of 1,530,632 euros as part of the mFUND innovation initiative.

About the funding program mFUND of the BMDV
As part of the mFUND funding program, the BMDV has been supporting research and development projects relating to data-based digital innovations for mobility 4.0 since 2016. The project funding is supplemented by active professional networking between actors from politics, business, administration and research and the provision of open data on the mCLOUD portal. You can find more information at www.mfund.de.

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Katharina Klemt-Albert
Phone: +49 241 80 25140