Düsseldorf Airport upgrading to smart infrastructure

Written by NTN staff

Düsseldorf Airport, a major European hub has teamed with Deutsche Telekom to develop a digital monitoring solution for bridges, tunnels, buildings, and other infrastructure objects for efficiency and other benefits.

The airport carries more than 24 million passengers each year and is underpinned by a network of bridges, tunnels and buildings. In future, digital processes will play a role in successfully handling its passengers with the telco and a partner building a digital monitoring solution to track the condition of the different kinds of infrastructure.

Düsseldorf Airport is one of the pioneers in Germany that is using IoT technology for its road constructions at the airport. For example, 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.

"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 quickly and easily in new construction products or retrofitted in existing concrete structures.

Another place where sensors from BS2 Sicherheitssysteme are being deployed is the Köln-Ost junction , where Germany's Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) is testing the sensors on their Cologne test grounds, together with Deutsche Telekom's equipment and sensor network. BS2 Sicherheitssysteme was born in hub:raum, Deutsche Telekom's startup incubator.