2015 VOL.70 NO.9

  Special Reports

Inspection and Monitoring Technologies for Social Infrastructure

Improving Social Infrastructure through Digital Technologies: A Task Impossible for the Roman Empire

Trends in Inspection and Monitoring Technologies for Social Infrastructure and Toshiba's Activities
IKEDA Takahiro / OKADA Ryuzo / WATABE Kazuo
In recent years, with the progressive aging of social infrastructure systems including roads, bridges, tunnels, and water supply and sewerage facilities, particularly in developed countries, the maintenance and management of such systems has become a pressing issue. Recent accidents in Japan such as the collapse of a tunnel ceiling on a major expressway have led to growing awareness that a drastic shift is required from conventional management to more efficient asset management.
With this as a background, the Toshiba Group has been engaged in the development of inspection and monitoring systems for aging infrastructure applying technologies cultivated through its experience in the maintenance of power plants and industrial facilities. These inspection and monitoring systems based on our proprietary technologies in the image analysis and acoustic fields are contributing to the solution of social issues through improvement of efficiency and labor saving.

Automatic Crack Recognition Technology Offering Efficient Maintenance System for Road Pavement
KURATATE Takaaki / KUMAKURA Nobuyuki / SEKI Akihito
In order to maintain and manage aging road infrastructure, it is necessary to correctly grasp the state of deterioration of road pavement through periodic inspections at appropriate intervals. Road inspection vehicles are used on expressways, national highways, and other major roads to detect the conditions of the pavement. However, the financial burden of such inspection work, as well as the narrow width of some roads, are significant issues for municipalities responsible for managing large regional road networks.
Toshiba has been engaged in the development of an automatic crack recognition technology aimed at realizing a support system for efficient inspection of road pavement, based on image analysis technologies that make it possible to detect cracks in pavement from road surface images captured by onboard cameras such as a mobile mapping system (MMS) and consumer camcorders. From the results of experiments using this crack recognition technology incorporating a newly developed algorithm, we have confirmed that crack ratios calculated by the algorithm show the same tendency as those obtained by current road crack measurement services using road inspection vehicles.

Image Processing Change Detection System for Automated Monitoring of Visual Changes in Tunnel Linings
Riccardo GHERARDI / Simon STENT / Björn STENGER / Roberto CIPOLLA
Tunnels, which are located in urban areas, provide essential functions, including transportation, electricity distribution, and communication, as a social infrastructure system. Efficient monitoring of the structural soundness of large-scale tunnels has become an issue of critical importance.
As a solution to this issue, Toshiba has been developing an image processing change detection system to automatically monitor visual changes in concrete tunnels. In order to compare images taken at different times, the images are accurately aligned in a three-dimensional (3D) tunnel model that is automatically created from a number of images taken by a dedicated image capture device. By comparing a number of visual features in the images to detect visual changes, this system can specify visual changes in terms of distance based on the normalized cross-correlation (NCC) coefficient. Furthermore, robustness to changes in viewpoint and lighting has been improved through the introduction of geometric knowledge and elimination of images in off-surface areas. Experiments with a prototype image capture device using artificial changes, which were made to a concrete tunnel lining to simulate leaks, cracking, spalling, and other visual changes, have verified that this system is effective for regular tunnel monitoring.

Nondestructive Acoustic Inspection System Effective for Checking Concrete Infrastructure
Almost 50 years have passed since a large number of social infrastructure construction projects were completed during the period of high economic growth in Japan, and the age-related deterioration of this infrastructure is progressing. In such a situation, there is an increasing need for technologies to detect internal problems in social infrastructure at an early stage.
Toshiba has developed a nondestructive inspection system for concrete structures using long-distance acoustic radiation. This system employs a laser Doppler vibrometer (LVD) to visualize areas of loose or peeling concrete through the measurement of concrete surface vibrations generated by sound waves from a remote directional speaker. We have developed a compact prototype system with the aim of realizing practical applications and confirmed the basic performance and effectiveness of the system through verification tests using concrete samples with defects.

Development of Bridge Monitoring System Applying Acoustic Emission Measurement
OMORI Takahiro / USUI Takashi / WATABE Kazuo
Accompanying the aging of social infrastructure systems in Japan in recent years, there is a pressing need for both cost-saving and more efficient maintenance of such systems.
With the aim of realizing a monitoring system to detect age-related deterioration of bridges, Toshiba has been engaged in the development of an innovative bridge monitoring system incorporating (1) "super acoustic" (SA) sensors with a wider frequency range than ever before, to detect acoustic emission (AE) waveforms generated from a bridge; and (2) a sensor unit equipped with a wireless interface and an independent power-generation system, which can operate for approximately 10 years. In this monitoring system, when AE waveforms are detected by the SA sensors, these signals are filtered and the characteristics are quantitatively extracted as AE parameters. The data are subsequently compressed to within the transmission limit of the wireless interface, and are transmitted to a data server that accumulates the AE parameters necessary to diagnose bridge deterioration. The bridge monitoring system is expected to contribute to efficient maintenance as a replacement for periodic manual inspections.
In cooperation with the Information and Robot Technology (IRT) Research Initiative at The University of Tokyo, we have also been developing an SA sensor with an extremely wide frequency range from 1 Hz to 1 MHz, which integrates several types of conventional sensors with different frequency characteristics.

Self-Propelled Ultrasonic Testing System for Steel Plate Deck Bridges Applying MatrixeyeTM 3D-SAFT Array Inspection Equipment
KARASAWA Hirokazu / IKEDA Takahiro / MURANO Masumi / YAMASAKI Fuminori
In response to the deterioration of bridges constructed during the high-growth era in Japan, the sophistication and optimization of defect inspection techniques in this field have recently been attracting attention.
Toshiba, in corporation with Highway Technology Research Center and iXs Research Corporation, has been developing a self-propelled ultrasonic testing (UT) system for steel plate deck bridges with the aim of applying it to the inspection of U-rib steel plate decks that are widely used in highway viaducts. This system consists of the MatrixeyeTM portable type three-dimensional synthetic aperture focusing technique (3D-SAFT) array inspection equipment produced by Toshiba, which is used in industrial fields such as defect inspection of aircraft and automobile bodies, and a self-propelled robot produced by iXs Research Corporation, which has already been used to inspect cracks on steel plate deck bridges, equipped with two MatrixeyeTM UT array probes. We have confirmed the performance of the system for the inspection of small defects through verification tests using test plates with simulated defects.


  Feature Articles

Community Energy Management System Compliant with OpenADR(†) 2.0b Specification
The demand response (DR) service is expected to play an important role in reducing the new construction and maintenance costs of power generation and distribution facilities by lowering and shifting consumers' peak electricity usage in response to requests from a power company.
Toshiba has been participating in the Yokohama Smart City Project (YSCP) since 2010. In the YSCP, we have developed a community energy management system (CEMS) and conducted demonstration tests to verify the effectiveness of DR in a real environment. Furthermore, in line with the standardization of OpenADR(†) 2.0b, a communication protocol specification for automated DR, we have developed a new function to mutually convert the conventional data model of the CEMS for the YSCP into a data model compliant with the OpenADR(†) 2.0b specification.

High-Speed Quantum Key Distribution Technology for Realization of Long-Term Stable Operation
Alexander R. DIXON / James DYNES
Securing information in communication networks is an important challenge in today's world. Quantum key distribution (QKD) technology can provide unique capabilities toward achieving this security by detecting intrusions and preventing information leakage.
Toshiba has been engaged in the research and development of a high-speed QKD technology. As part of this research, we have conducted a field trial using a high-bit-rate prototype QKD system connected by standard telecommunication fibers over a distance of 45 km from Otemachi to Koganei in central Tokyo that provided a world-record total of 878 Gbit of secure key data over a 34-day period, corresponding to a sustained key rate of around 301 kbit/s. The prototype QKD system is compact, robust, and automatically stabilized, making key distribution possible under diverse weather conditions.

Power-Saving Technology for Mobile Devices through Cooperative Operation between Wireless LAN Module and Main Processor
NISHIMOTO Hiroshi / OYAMA Yuichiro / ISHIHARA Takeshi
With the broad dissemination of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, wireless LAN communication has come into widespread use in various situations. Since large amounts of power are consumed by these devices due to increases in communication speeds and the expanding volume of contents, the reduction of power consumption while using wireless LAN is an important issue.
As a solution to this issue, Toshiba has developed a power-saving technology that allows communication tasks to be performed by means of cooperative operation between a device's wireless LAN module and main processor. In this technology, the wireless LAN module performs part of the communication tasks, including the processing of retrieved Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) files and fetching of Web objects, on behalf of the main processor. As a result, components other than the wireless LAN module such as the main processor, memory, and so on are maintained in power-saving mode. Experiments on a prototype system have verified that this technology reduces the power consumption by approximately 10 to 30% while browsing a Web page.

Technology for Design of White LED Packages Using Optical-Thermal Coupled Analysis
UKITA Yasunari / SOGO Takahiro / TOSHIMA Miki
With the increase in luminous efficiency of white light-emitting diode (LED) packages, which are composed of a blue LED and phosphors, white LED packages have been applied to lighting systems, mobile devices, and various other lighting fields in recent years. In order to achieve the timely introduction of such a product on the market, it is necessary to predict the performance of the white LED package using simulation technologies at the initial stage of development.
Toshiba has now developed a technology to predict the internal temperature of a package and its optical performance utilizing optical-thermal coupled analysis, which can improve the prediction accuracy by means of a simulation model taking into consideration the temperature dependency of the luminous efficiency of the LED chip and phosphors and reflecting the measured thermal properties of each material. This technology has been applied to the design of the TL1Lx series high-power white LED packages.

Commencement of Operation of Large-Scale Battery Energy Storage System for Nishi-Sendai Substation of Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc.
HASHIMOTO Tatsuya / KAWAMATA Tomoyuki / SHIMADA Kazuyoshi
A large-scale battery energy storage system for the Nishi-Sendai Substation of Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc., located in the western part of Sendai City in Miyagi Prefecture, commenced operation in February 2015. This project to construct a battery energy storage system of the world's largest class, with ratings of 40 MW-20 MWh, was led by Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc. under the FY2012 Large-Scale Storage Battery System Demonstration Project supported by the New Energy Promotion Council (NEPC).
Toshiba successfully completed the manufacturing of the equipment and construction work within about 15 months. This system incorporates an array of our advanced SCiBTM lithium-ion secondary batteries with excellent performance, including a long lifetime of more than 10,000 charge-discharge cycles and a high level of safety. The demonstration project has been launched as a new approach to frequency changes caused by weather-dependent power fluctuations resulting from the increasing use of renewable energy sources such as wind and photovoltaic systems. It is expected to contribute to the stabilization of electricity generation and the further expansion of renewable energy sources.

GridStore/NewSQL Scale-Out Database Accelerating Big Data Utilization
HATTORI Masakazu / HAMAGUCHI Taihei / KONDO Yuji
Toshiba has developed the GridStore/NewSQL database, which provides enhanced Structured Query Language (SQL) functions compared with the GridStore/NoSQL scale-out, key-value type database. The NewSQL database not only offers interfaces equivalent to those of relational databases (RDBs) but also manages large volumes of data that cannot be handled by conventional RDBs by increasing the number of nodes according to the volume of data and/or number of accesses. Moreover, this database can be easily used in conjunction with existing tools such as business intelligence (BI) tools and extract, transform and load (ETL) tools, thereby expanding the range of applications including big-data analytics and enterprise data integration.

Enhancement of Communication Performance of "FEMINITY" Home IT System and Its Development as HEMS Platform with 920 MHz Wireless Communication
MONMA Nobuyuki / TERAMOTO Keiichi
In the Toshiba Group's "FEMINITY" home information technology (IT) system, both the home gateway, which is the core device of the system, and home appliances, such as air conditioners, are equipped with communication functions. Communication and control are implemented via these functions. Bluetooth(†) 2.4 GHz wireless communication has conventionally been used as the system's transmission medium for wireless communication.
We have now enhanced the performance of the system by adding energy-saving 920 MHz wireless communication capability. Through experiments using the Toshiba Smart Home, a facility for interactive exhibitions and demonstrations, we have confirmed that the communication waves can reach remote areas and areas located behind obstacles with sufficient strength, which has previously been difficult using Bluetooth(†). Furthermore, the home gateway can simultaneously communicate with both a smart meter and multiple home appliances. This facilitates the use of the home gateway as a platform for a home energy management system (HEMS) by monitoring energy usage and controlling and managing all related devices.


  Frontiers of  Research & Development

Innovative Building Management Utilizing Building Information Modeling (BIM)

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