C. L. Heilman prides itself on providing high-quality, specialized bridge construction services. Direct owner involvement, well-honed processes, and a relentless search for new and better ideas for building has earned the company an enviable reputation for delivering the best value in less time with fewer people than is normally associated with large building infrastructure projects.
“In our company we are always looking for more efficient ways to do our work and reduce man hours,” says James Heilman, co-owner and VP.
C. L. Heilman began work on a major new interchange north of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The project involved a 138 foot, four-lane bridge spanning the U.S. 95 and a two-lane, 250 foot bridge spanning the Union Pacific railroad track.
“It’s always been an option to use the maturity curve, but in 2018 the Idaho Transportation Department made it mandatory for Highway Construction projects to perform maturity testing in accordance with ATSM C1074 to confirm compressive strength for form removal and loading,” says Heilman. Once the Maturity-Strength Curve is developed, it can be used to estimate the in-place concrete strength using hydration temperature history. “And everything was specified to be maturity curve on this project,” he adds. To support maturity testing, C.L. Heilman required a reliable sensor system for accurately measuring concrete strength and ensuring ASTM C1074 compliance.
Photo Credit: C.L. Heilman
Wired vs. Wireless
Heilman discovered that sensor equipment included wired temperature probes – thermocouples – and more recently wireless Bluetooth sensors.
Heilman quickly dismissed wired options because they’re more labor intensive and require “going around and physically checking each station.” His research quickly led him to a handful of wireless options including Giatec’s SmarRock sensors.
With its proven track record at accelerating timelines and ability to trim costs, SmartRock quickly emerged as the preferred wireless solution. “I wanted to use one of the more modern sensor technologies and SmartRock appeared to be the most advanced and reliable,” says Heilman.
SmartRock eliminates wires
SmartRock’s rugged sensors install directly onto the rebar and collect temperature and strength data for estimating the comprehensive strength of in-place concrete. Sensors accurately estimate concrete maturity based on ASTM C1074. Readings are immediately sent to an intuitive mobile app for real-time monitoring. Giatec 360 is a desktop extension of the SmartRock app which provides an advanced dashboard for controlling and predicting the quality concrete pours.
“The big thing is, SmartRock involves the least amount of effort on my part…and it’s fool proof,” says Heilman.
A better solution
Heilman acknowledges that overall, SmartRock is “far superior” than cylinders. There’s no waiting for lab reports, you simply use the mobile app to check concrete curing in real-time. “If we didn’t make strength in the morning, we’d work on something else, and check it again at noon,” says Heilman. “And if we had strength, the inspector could also check the sensor on his phone and allow us to move forward,” he adds.
Impressive time savings
Getting real-time results fueled important productivity gains. “You’re picking up days whereas before, [using concrete cylinders] you’d be losing days waiting for lab results,” says Heilman.
Heilman estimates that SmartRock™ saved half-a-day per pour for every pour that was on the “critical path.” The IDT interchange project involved over 20 pours. Over a two-month period, Heilman says “I’d say we shaved five-to-ten days off the schedule by using SmartRock…and completed the work 10 to 15 percent faster.”
Advanced management and reporting with Giatec 360
Giatec 360 enabled users to generate reports, manage user levels, and easily monitor individual SmartRock™ sensor data. Heilman’s team was also able to log in to the 360 dashboard and selectively access temperature gradient data from each sensor to predict the quality of the concrete pour.
“It’s a complimentary solution and nice to have both – the mobile app and 360 – for faster decisions,” says Heilman.
In conclusion Heilman says, “SmartRock is definitely a modern technique…it reduces man hours and streamlines the schedule because you can plan better knowing when you’re going to be achieving concrete strength.”