• Safelife - Condition and load based lifetime prediction and management of welded steel structures
  • 7 partners 
  • Coordinator: Gent University
  • Start Date 01/01/2018
  • Duration: 3 Years
  • Total Budget: € 2.013.196
  • Funded by SIM program MaDurOs Material Durability for Off-Shore

Safelife Consortium Partners

Arcelor Mital (OCAS) Infrabel, C-power, 24SEA, Sentea, VUB, UGent,


Project Context

The goal of this ICON project is to develop new and robust structural health monitoring procedures and numerical tools based on load and condition monitoring that enable the more accurate lifetime prediction of fleets of quasi identical welded steel structures, such as railway bridges, crane-way girders and jacket offshore platforms. The lifetime assessment is essential towards decision support for quantification of lifetime extension and optimization of predictive maintenance by the industrial partners. This will in the end lead to a substantial reduction of operation and maintenance costs for players in different sectors.

The concrete objectives of the SafeLife project are: 

  • Gain improved knowledge on the structural behaviour of the industrial assets.
  • Identify critical regions of welded steel structures (inspection efforts and costs can be more efficiently/effectively arranged). 
  • Reduce maintenance costs & Increase production yield.
  • Lifetime extension of the assets. 
  • Increase employment through more servitization
  • Reduce risks in exploitation of industrial assets 

Project Description

To reach these industrially-oriented objectives, the following scientific objectives of the partners are defined: 

  • Load monitoring of fleets of similar complex welded steel structures, linking global load and deformation data to local strains and to the acting operational and environmental conditions. ◦ Development of a mobile measurement system for periodic short term monitoring campaigns for updating the fleetleader concept 
  • Validating and updating a fleet leader load monitoring strategy using a mobile monitoring system ◦ Development of a low-cost FBG interrogator for load monitoring based on the fiber bragg grating sensor technology 
  • Condition monitoring of complex welded steel structures, evaluating both global structural integrity and local damage (cracks, corrosion) ◦ Development of a semi-automated optical inspection technique for screening purposes ◦ Development of fatigue crack detection and quantification technique based on PZT patches
  • Enhanced data storage and data handling strategies for dealing with large amounts of data coming from different sources 
  • Translation of real load spectra into equivalent reference spectra allowing accelerated lifetime evaluation through numerical modeling and lab testing. 
  • Accelerated characterization of the evolution of fatigue properties due to environmental degradation. x Non-destructive testing or mini-sampling for characterization of material properties in existing structures.
  • Advanced numerical simulations for lifetime prediction and engineering critical assessment ◦ coupling corrosion evolution model with fatigue damage model ◦ Development of algorithms for variable amplitude loading and non-proportional multi-axial loading. ◦ Extending 2D based algorithms to 3D algorithms keeping computational cost sufficiently low 
  • Linking predicted lifetime with maintenance planning. 
  • Development of a low-cost FBG interrogator with low-drift, for long-term and accurate monitoring of mechanical loads in steel constructions. The target maximal drift of 1pm/10 year over full temperature range.