Spring 2019

Stabilising Saudi Arabia’s urban forest

At an intersection of two highways in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, there is an art installation of 27 steel ‘trees’ each 5-9m in diametre and 27m high.

These, the Karwest Spiral Spheres create an 'urban forest' which, when lit up at night, represents the colours of the Saudi Flag.

Back in 2017 concerns were raised by the Riyadh Development Authority (RDA) about the potential effects of wind loading due to the excessive weight of the spheres and the height of their trunks.

In response, Strainstall Middle East has designed, tested and installed a wireless dynamic monitoring solution which combines strain gauges with heat and movement sensors plus wireless nodes to collect the data.

The strain gauges are configured to measure bending and loading forces on the trunks caused by the wind and the full system is integrated with its Smart Asset Management System (SAMs), to provide real time diagnostics which give early warning to the authorities to close the roads if any overloading occurs.

Strainstall ME's business development manager Mark Boyle says:

‘Due to the difficult location of the spheres, cable routing wasn’t an option and access was difficult. But by using Strainstall’s wireless nodes to collect the data and integrating them with SAMs we were able to do away with the need for cabling and massively reduce costs and installation time.’ 

‘This project has taken us a giant step towards our goal of shifting from subcontractor status to working directly with asset owners and authorities on maintenance and management contracts,’ he adds.

‘We hope this project will act as a stepping stone to further monitoring projects for the Saudi Government.’

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