Join Giatec’s Manager of Engineering Solutions, Icaro Mariani as he explores new perspectives on concrete construction sustainability. Learn how maturity sensors and artificial intelligence can help to save you time and money while simultaneously making your projects more sustainable.
Manager of Engineering Solutions, Giatec Scientific
Good day everyone, and a nice sunny morning here, or at least, afternoon here in South Africa in Cape Town. I greet you from Cape Town where the weather is confused. It should be a bit cooler than it is, but we’re enjoying some nice time here today. So great to have you with us and I’m looking forward to jumping into this webinar with you. Let’s jump off.
Let’s get cracking today. So just to let you know what I look like, my name is Matthew Denton. I am the channel manager for our Asia, EMEA region. Anything really that’s West of Americas falls under my territory. I oversee our international channel, very exciting. Always new and exciting to be dealing with the new markets out there.
We’ve achieved a lot of success with our products in North America. We’ve been around for 10 years throughout the whole country throughout the world. Essentially we started back in 2010. So we’re moving into our 11th year now and in about 2005 we launched our flagship product, which is the SmartRock®, and we’re now in the third generation and we’ll talk about that in a second. But our main vision at Giatec is to revolutionize the construction industry.
Today’s agenda, as we spoke about, as we as we convinced you to come and join us today is definitely going to be talking about artificial intelligence. And one of the things that we’re going to look at today is, we can talk about our SmartRock of course, our Giatec 360™ product that is going to be a conversation for us. We’re also going to talk about maturity a little bit and we won’t go into too much detail, but we will skim through that. This presentation will also be available to everyone who is attending today and we are recording as well. But I hope you stay tuned all the way to the end and then what is artificial intelligence and who is Roxi? I’ll introduce you to Roxi. We’ll talk a little bit about AI for powering time mixed verification and some introduction. There’s a couple of things there and there’s not too many long slides. It’s more conversation, a little bit of discussion here. And there’s actually a new product which I’d like to talk about a little bit today and encourage you as well to engage with if you get the opportunity, because certainly we are expecting some very exciting things from our software that we are releasing. And all the time we understand that to stay relevant in today’s market and industry you need to be one step ahead and so we’re always trying to solve the problems of five years from now because we solved today’s problem five years ago.
So, let’s jump into our presentation and just to talk about the Giatec solution and where we’ve come from and where we are today. As I mentioned, we started in 2010 and over those times over that time we have grown exponentially. Of course, our home base is over in Canada, right here in Ottawa. This is where we originate from our main office. Our Technical Support is all based out of there. I am myself operating from Cape Town in South Africa and we have now got a new Middle East sales representative, but traditionally our international markets are covered by the partners that we have and we have quite a range of partners around the world covering various regions all the way from New Zealand down here all the way to Chile all the way across the time zones we’ve got. Someone who is dealing with our products and dealing and supplying top world class quality service to our customers.
So today we’re going to talk quickly about the SmartRock just so you are aware of where we’re coming from, you know again. You know there there’s another presentation that we do where we talk about maturity, specifically maturity. We talk about our SmartRock and we focus on really what maturity is and how we are using the SmartRock to make maturity more accessible to the markets worldwide. One of the things is to understand as well, and we’ll get into maturity in a minute, but that’s a standard that’s been around for decades already. And realistically, when we talk about our SmartRock 3, all we’re saying is; using a verified method, a standard that’s been around for decades, but we’re just packing it in a nice easy parcel for everyone to use and access.
Alright, I want to show a quick video today. I hope the sound works well. This is a short video just on the SmartRock 3. It does a better job than I could do ever of telling you what it’s about, so I’ll hand that over to the quick two-minute short video for you. Alright, so nice short and sweet video there from our excellent marketing team who are always out there trying to bring out the best in our product. And as you can see, quick, short and sweet.
Quick overview here. I’ve also got one in my hand here as well and there’s one behind me on the screen here. The SmartRock 3 is a fantastic product. It’s easy to install as you saw works with a very simple application. The basic anatomy of it is quite straightforward. We have the body here, here’s where all the brains happen. That’s the storage of the data that’s recorded. It’s got the Bluetooth transmitter, the memory, and of course also in this latest generation of SmartRock, this is also the temperature sensor. A temperature sensor, shall we say. And of course, the QR code is paste here, as you saw in the video. Nice and easy to add and set up a project on our free software. And then of course you’ve got the temperature cable that goes out here, and this also taking temperature every 15 minutes, and the installation strap as you saw. Nice and easy nice industrial rubberized strap wraps around the rebar. Locates that nicely in the position that needs to be in, and secures that even when you’re throwing concrete all over it as well. Very nice feature as well with this one is that the activation only takes place once you remove the cable from its housing. So, you might see my video now, but there’s little cable here and if I pull that cable out, let me get go that way. I’ll pull that cable out now you’ll see a little light will flash there, and that is how the sensor is activated.
Alright, you saw quickly, briefly in the video as well, how the application looks. You can see that you can set your projects up, you can break up the different sections in your projects and under the sections, of course, you will allocate your sensors. So irrespective of how big or small your project is, you can adjust that and manage that accordingly in your section as you need to do. Of course, you’ve got a nice overview here as well of your temperature and your strength that’s reached, and again this is taking a temperature reading every 15 minutes using the maturity method. Calculating the strength based on your in place concrete strength.
Another software package that we’ve got here is the Giatec 360, so this is a nice overview. I apologize, it’s actually an older screenshot, but as you can see you get a nice clear overview of all your projects, the number of projects that you have, the number of sections that you have, the number of sensors that you have and the number of mixers that you have. And this is all positioned very nicely and clean cut in one portal for you. Again, as you saw on the video, once the data is collected from the sensor via the phone via Bluetooth, if their phone is connected to the Internet it uploads that all to the cloud and puts all that data there for everyone to view. Who has access to your project.
This is about what the Giatec 360 looks like over here. You can see you’ve got user management, you got company over here, you can do all sorts of different things. You can see a nice overview of all your projects. You can get a nice comparison of the different points that you’re monitoring in your concrete. This is also very useful for temperature monitoring, temperature differential, and these reports are all automatically generated. And of course, using your smartphone you can take a photo, allocate a photo to a particular sensor or location just to make sure that it’s nice and easy to identify going forward. As you can see here, I spoke about temperature differential. This is very nice as well. When you’ve got mass concrete or you need to monitor the temperature differential, you can compare two points in the temperature and it will automatically generate a temperature differential graph for you. Very nice and easy.
So, let’s talk about maturity very quickly, concrete maturity. So, there are three main ways to test concrete strength at the moment, and they’re all common practices in some places, only one of them is common practice.
We know the most commonly used practice is this one in the middle. This is the lab cured specimens. So, this is where we take our samples, whether it’s a cube, whether it’s a cylinder, we put those into a curing bath or some sort of controlled environment, and then from there we are crushing those to get the strength results. And of course, that’s the method that we are most commonly familiar with around the world. Standards vary from here to there. How many samples need to be taken, the size of the samples. Is it cubes? Is it cylinders? And of course, that varies, but we know that is probably the most commonly used method.
In some markets, especially where there is extreme temperatures, whether it’s hot or cold. Typically, in the cold ones, though, field cured specimens are very commonly used where you will have the samples kept in the same temperature conditions as you poured concrete. So, you’re going to place concrete on site, you’re going to take some samples, some will go to the lab to be cured or in a controlled environment, and others are going to be kept on site to try and mimic the site conditions and the impact that that has on the concrete.
And then of course the third method that we have is maturity meters, and of course the SmartRock being one of them. Some of the older school methods are thermal couples and a manual process to calculate the strength from the temperature using formula, and of course, using Excel and so forth. But again, we talk about the SmartRock, you saw that earlier. Very automatic, very easy to apply and use. All right.
So how do we talk about maturity? How does maturity predict string? So, as you can see in this graph here, we have three distinctive temperature lines. So, if we look at this graph, this is the temperature access here overtime, so we have hours and we have temperature in degree Celsius. As you can see on the green line, we have the in place concrete temperature. So, this is concrete that has been poured, and this was a slab, by the way. So, this is a slab very much in a mild climate, in a cool climate as you’ll see from the temperature as it starts falling into sync with the ambient temperature, but as you can see there’s a very big spike because of the mass of the concrete. We see the spike in this temperature of concrete. That’s heat of hydration taking place there and we see this sort of spike in the early 24 hours. And then of course, as that chemical reaction starts cooling down and moving away and the heat starts dissipating, we see that it starts falling into a sort of a day night cycle here and dropping down to sort of the ambient temperature, which in this case is between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius. For the blue line we see a very sort of different expectation here. So, the concrete poured at the same time into your sample. This particularly was a cylinder, a cylinder that was poured. And as the cylinder was poured, also cold climate, cold weather on site. But as it was kept on site overnight, you can see that the temperature dropped immediately. The smaller volume of the concrete had a much greatly impacted temperature by the ambient temperature. As we know, typically we keeping those samples for 24 hours before we send them to some sort of bath to be cured. And as you can see after 24 hours this was taken out to a lab and then cured at that sort of consistent 23 degrees Celsius so we can see that’s a, you know, if we had to measure the temperature in our samples, that’s kind of what the temperature curve or the temperature graph would look like. And then the last one is the one I spoke about which is the field cured samples. With field cured samples, what we can do there is we can see that there’s the drop in the 24 hours, but of course, because it doesn’t go into a cured environment, we see that it’s a much lower temperature because of the size of the element and the mass of the element, and essentially that stays down here and already sort of falls in sync with the ambient temperature as we go along. And then you see these slabs sort of falling into sync with that as well. So, we see three very different temperature environments taking place here. And of course, we know the difference between that is strength, and we’ll get to that in a minute.
Alright, so when we do our cylinders or our cubes, we know that there’s a lot of limitations around this. Inaccurate temperature conditions, delayed results, limited information. Of course, if we’re doing samples and we’re crushing those samples, excuse me, we were only getting a snapshot of what that concrete is at that moment that we crush that sample. We don’t know what is one-hour, two-hour, one day, before or after that life span in that concrete. So very limited results, often delayed results. Having to get the reports from this lab, having to crush the results. Wait for that report to be compiled, and then they’re coming back to site and that being communicated. Again, I spoke about limited information. Local variations, you know different methods to cure them, different methods to store them. These are all challenges that we are faced with in our current concrete testing environment and of course low visibility. It doesn’t really give you a clear picture of what is happening with the concrete on site.
So, when we talk about maturity, this is how we begin to solve this problem. Maturity, and for those who are unfamiliar with it I’ll just cover the definition very quickly, is the nondestructive method to estimate real time strength of the in-place concrete, specifically in the first 14 days. So, we’re looking for those early that early age concrete temperature and we used the temperature history of a particular concrete mix to determine the relationship between the strength and the temperature setting. We go to the next one. The strength and the maturity index.
So, maturity index will be a new value, perhaps to some of you in the call today. This is just really a function of the temperature over time, so we talk about the maturity index being the Celsius degrees over hours, and we can correlate that to a strength. All right so where do we apply concrete maturity? Formwork removal, post tensioning, I’ll summarize this page for you. Anywhere where concrete strength is critical, we can use maturity and maturity is applicable.
So now we’re going to start talking about artificial intelligence in the concrete. OK. Let me jump through here. So, you know, what is artificial intelligence? Artificial intelligence is using the computer brain power that we have available to us applying the knowledge that we have and allowing those machines to learn from all the knowledge that we can feed into them. All right, so what’s that got to do with concrete? We’re not going to put concrete chips in in our sense, maybe not. But this does open a whole new world, because no matter which market you’re in, no matter what country you’re in or what company you work for, there are some very basic fundamentals when it comes to concrete, and then there are some huge variations. But in theory when we start putting those altogether, it’s like a recipe, and we know that if we put a little bit of this in or a little bit of that in, it’s going to affect the outcome in a certain way. So, with that in mind, there’s a couple of things that we’ve started putting together. And by collecting millions of data points over the years that we’ve been working with the SmartRock, we are able to introduce Roxi.
So Roxi started back in 2019 and she has been trained for three of the following things and one of the critical aspects of maturity is we need to know when the sensor needs to start calculating the strength of the concrete. Now when we cover a sensor with concrete, certainly there’s going to be a changed environment. So, what we’ve programmed Roxi to do is study all the times that we’ve covered a sensor with concrete and gone; “OK, at this point in that temperature line, we recognize that that’s when the concrete was poured.” So, the accuracy of that is quite important, because if we install a sensor and we pour concrete and we do not tell the sensor when the concrete was poured, then we’re not going to have an accurate calculation of the strength. So, we need to know when that sensor was covered with concrete. Sometimes we might forget, sometimes we’ve put it in wrong and Roxi is going to validate and verify that for us. So, she will take your temperature graph and she’ll say, “Oh, sorry Matthew. It looks like you poured concrete actually over here, but you’ve set your start time over here, so would you like to adjust it?” And the answer is of course yes or no. Roxi you’re not accurate or no, that is exactly when the sensor got covered, please make sure that we use that. So Roxi can verify your pouring time.
Mixed validation, I spoke very quickly about the calibration, and again, when we start talking about being able to enter all the starter into a central location, we can sort of put it into the machine’s brain and the machine can start doing some learning and from that we can get some information. So, when you do a calibration on your particular concrete mix, what you’re going to be able to do is say “Hey Roxi. Please check this for me,” and she will, based on her history and her experience, should be able to tell you, “You’ve got five points here. That’s good. You need five points, and the line in which they’re in look pretty good.” Or “Point two looks a bit inaccurate,” or “Value B by that point over there looks a little bit wrong, that could be wrong.” So, what she does is she checks a whole bunch of parameters and verifies whether or not you have got an accurate maturity calibration on your concrete mix. One of the other things that she can do, and this is very exciting, one of the more exciting features for me if we talk about that as well in a bit more detail is some introduction. Roxi has the ability to tell you how much cement you can take out of your mix design by still keeping the same strength target that you have. Right. So, think about that for a minute and the possibilities there. And as I mentioned, so I’ll jump into some of the things here.
Roxi for pouring time, so again, these are slides that I’m going to send so you can read those in your own time, but this is kind of what it would look like. Roxi will pop up in the app, which is free. Again, the software is free, there’s no cost to our software, and she’s going to say “Hey, you selected this time for pouring and you’re saying that the sensor was installed there, but actually it was installed here based on what I see from the temperature,” and you can of course accept that and then it will adjust that and calculate your string according to that. Mixed validation I mentioned that as well and I’ll come back to this, but this is kind of what it would look like in the software. You’ve got your maturity calibration here, so we’ve got the correlation between our maturity degrees over hours versus our strength. And once we’ve entered those five points in, one, Giatec 360 will calculate these for yourself by using a SmartRock in your samples. And then of course the only manual input you need in there is strength. Further to that, you can then enter in your mix design. So, when you’ve got the ratio of your ingredients here for your mix and, you can see I can click a little plaster and I can add all sorts of different ingredients, here I can be specific to describe the ingredient, but of course what we’re looking at is the quantity of that per cubic meter. And based on that information, Roxi can go, “Your mix is looking good,” or “There’s potential for a calibration error here,” and she will point that out and you can validate that and verify how to fix that.
Alright, so let’s talk about AI. Some introduction, and then I will introduce you to our SmartMix™ and I’ll encourage you to go sign up for that as well if that is something that you’re interested in, because it’s technically not Roxi, but yes, we do have that. We have the new SmartMix software which is available. You can input your mix design and it will do strength prediction based on the mix design that you have entered. Alright, but I’m jumping a bit. I’m getting too excited. Alright, let me move, let me jump into this very quickly and then we’ll talk about that.
I said to Roxi can help you reduce the cement. Volume that you have in your mix. How does Roxi do that? By us monitoring the accurate strength of the concrete on site, we can take it one step further. By using that data, we can then look back and go, “Okay, if this is the results that we are achieving, and we’ve got a safety margin built within that, then can we still, by reducing the cement content one, save us a little bit of money and perhaps reduce our carbon footprint? But more importantly, still maintain the requirements that we have.” So, let’s say we have a post tension deck and we need to hit 20 MPA by day three, but we see by using the SmartRock that we’re actually hitting twenty MPA by day two. So, there’s two things we can do; either we keep to our program of day three and we will reduce the cement so that the strength is gained is a little bit lower, so we’re getting 20 MPA on day three, or we can go the other way around and reduce our program to two days and say, “Well, actually the concrete is still in good quality, it is still doing what we wanted to do. We’re just now tensioning one day earlier.” So, this is where the information and the power of information starts playing a role and this is where AI really comes into its own; is the moment that we have real time data and informative feedback from our concrete on site. We can plug that into our AI, and AI can come back to us and say “Hey, you can reduce your cement by X, or you can change your water cement ratio by X.” OK.
Alright, let’s jump onto an example very quickly. Alright, so you must forgive me here. This is in PSI. I know that majority of the team that we’re talking to today doesn’t work in PSI, but if you can imagine the concept is still very much the same as MPA. So, we have a mix here and we have our stand, just using the basic variation here. So, we have a standard mix design, we have 350 grams of cement, 150 kilograms of water and our water cement ratio here is 0.42. Alright. When we measure our strength for the sensors, we see that we’re actually getting 25 MPA, but our target strength is actually a 20 MPA result. OK, so if we’re looking for 20 amp on day three, we know that our mix is actually overperforming by 5 MPA. What does this mean for us? Now this was a particular project that we actually investigated because they were very focused on their carbon footprint. So, a possible reduction in this was suggested by Roxi as she investigated that, and here we can see that by putting in the mix design and this information here and entering our target time frame and our target strength, Roxi was able to come back to us and say, “Alright Matthew, you can actually reduce your cement by 4%, and we can sort of keep the water cement content or the workability around about the same.” OK, good question. So, in this particular example, this wasn’t a very big slab, it was a very small slab and we actually measured in the center of the slab. So, we were measuring in the center of the slab, right? That’s a course of conversation. Do you measure the surface? Do you measure the middle? Do you measure the top? And there is a difference. Excuse me. There is a difference between the surface and the top and the center, absolutely. OK. Alright, so if we look at what we changed our mix design too so we were able to. Well, we kept the sort of water cement ratio within reason about the same, our workability stayed the same. Let me say we were able to reduce our cement content to 341, alright and we had good performance. We were still a 10% safety margin built into it at 22 MPA where our target was 20 MPA and with that, we did a quick calculation on the CO2 emission reduction. Now this was very interesting because this was what their focus was, and so per cubic meter they were able to save 14 kilograms of cement per cubic meter. What did that equate to when they had a poor of 350 cubic meters? This was nearly 5 tons of cement per 350 cubic meters. And of course, depending on which ratio you subscribe to, that equates to around about four tons of CO2 emissions savings. And this was very interesting because when you translate that to an entire project, we had 15 stories on the project. We had two stories. Sorry, 15 stories, 2 pours per story. Each pour volume was that, our total volume was that. Which means that we nearly saved 100 tons of CO2 on this particular project. You can of course calculate that back to see what was our actual cement savings as well. So, it’s very important here. This is a very quick, rough example to show you, but certainly this is where we’re going. If we go back to the slide here, and I want to show you that again, and we look over here and we see we have a specified performance, we want to put in some target strength, we want to keep our slump to a certain value, we want to keep our air content to a certain value. We are able to maintain the structural integrity of the concrete by still economizing the mix design and this is really where a lot of the value comes in with our artificial intelligence.
The other thing that I wanted to show us today and I actually didn’t plan to to show this, but I do want to because I think it is fresh off the press, it’s brand new, it’s very exciting and I don’t want to spend too much time on it. We’ve only got a few minutes left and I do want to allow some more time for questions. But very, very exciting is our new SmartMix, and I’m going to just share the page here quickly. This is the page, and this is the best that I can show you right now. Of course this is available as well. You can go to our website, it’s under our products, if you go to our products you’ll see that we’ve got our sensors here, we’ve got our smart tab by SmartBooster. We’ll talk about that if you need to, but under software here we’ve got our SmartMix. And SmartMix, really, it’s beautiful. What it’s designed to do for us, is you can input your mix design into the software and it will allow you to predict the concrete strength of that mixed design. So based on the history and the information, the feedback that we have from all our customers from our AI from all the dots points that we’ve collected, we are able to allow you to do some performance prediction. So once you’ve entered in the values and the information that you have for your concrete mix that you’re planning, or design that you’re planning, it will spit out for you performance and its strength prediction. So, I think it was Nikhil who asked that question? Can Roxi predict on a strength design? Yeah, well, we don’t call SmartMix Roxi, but it’s essentially the same thing. Roxi is in the background there; the artificial intelligence. You can take this one step further. Once you’ve done your mixed design, you’re able to go, “OK, you know what? Actually, this mixes way overperforming. I need to adjust this mix to make sure that I hit my, for example, in the example we had 20 MPA on day three. I want a safety factor of 10 percent, but I want to keep my aggregates the same volume that I’ve got there, or I’m going to put in this additive and that value needs to stay the same.” You can lock in those values and once you’ve done that, our SmartMix will spit out to you how you can economize the mix design based on the parameters that you’ve put in.
If this is something that you’re interested in, please do reach out to us. You can send me an email. You can contact us on the website. In fact, you can actually go right here and you can sign up for the beta version. I know a lot of people are surprised to hear this, but is free. So right now you can go into our website, you can sign up for the SmartMix beta version. Our R&D department are working with it quite extensively, they’re very excited to bring it out to everybody. So, if that is something that you think is valuable for your situation on your position or your projects, please do sign up there and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can, and really apply the magic. I want to say magic. It’s not magic, it’s science, but the magic of artificial intelligence.
Alright, everybody that is that is the end of my presentation, at least for you right now. As you can see, I’ve got a SmartRock on this shoulder. I always get my left and right wrong over there. If you are interested in any more information on our products on what we’re doing on the SmartMix, please do reach out to us. We’re very excited to be in contact and to engage with you directly.
Thank you very much for joining us today. It was fantastic to have you with us. I’m very excited to talk about this stuff to the industry and to the market. Giatec, we’re doing a lot to bring this sort of advancement to the market and to put the information in your hands. The idea here is to really empower our contractors to empower our ready-mix companies to empower all those who are engaged with our concrete market or concrete industry to make informed decisions and to make safer decisions. We’re not only talking about saving money, we’re also talking about saving lives. How do we be a safer? How do we be more informed? And knowledge, as cliched as it is, knowledge is power.
But again, thank you very much everyone for attending. It’s fantastic to have you here today and I hope to see SmartRock and Roxi and SmartMix on all of your projects and all of your exciting work that you’re doing out there in the world today. Thank you so much everyone and have a wonderful day.
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