According to a recent report from research firm Fact.MR, the global bridge inspection market is predicted to grow 400 percent over the next decade to a total capitalization of $6.3 billon.
The report said this massive growth is the result of an aging infrastructure, damaging environmental factors, and an increase in the amount of total traffic. All of these factors are contributing to the increased decay of concrete and steel over time, creating potential safety problems for the general public but does produce a financial opportunity for steel, concrete and specialized NDT inspection service providers to take advantage of the money that will be pouring into this market over the next 10 years.
Routine bridge inspections, which prevent more costly and potentially hazardous repairs and reconstruction later on, are expected to comprise 83 percent of the total market. Specialized NDT inspection testing and services will make up the rest.
According to a memo from the U.S. Dept. of Transportion’s Federal Highway Administration titled Risk-Based Interval Determination for Routine Bridge Inspections, bridge inspections include the following damage modes:
- For steel elements: section loss, fatigue, and fracture.
- For concrete elements: flexural cracking, shear cracking, and reinforcing steel corrosion.
- For superstructure elements: seismic, overload, and vehicle/vessel impact
- For substructure elements: seismic, scour, and settlement.
New technologies will play a role in creating new opportunities and new, faster, and more accurate bridge inspections, especially for NDT inspection service providers. The use of drones, specially-built inspection robots, virtual reality, advanced NDT techniques, and cloud-based software platforms will make bridge inspections safer and quicker, allowing companies to provide better bridge inspections at a higher profit margin.
According to the Fact.MR report, developing countries are especially in need of both routine and specialized bridge inspection services. In Japan for example, 48 percent of the bridges are more than half a century old. The report stated: “Developing economies such as China, India, South Africa, and Brazil have witnessed a spike in spending on the inspection and maintenance of existing infrastructure. The necessity to prevent bridge accidents is foreseen to support the growth of transportation over bridge inspection services. China has doubled the volume of infrastructure projects to stave off economic slowdown amid the trade war. India on the other hand has invested about $1.1 trillion on infrastructure for building new roads and rail links.”
Learn more about how cloud-based software be a digital platform for connecting various bridge inspection technologies and streamline NDT business processes.