Superior Structural Inspections at Scale
Founded in 2010 by a pair of civil engineers, VRT Finland provides pioneering solutions for 3D structural surveys. One of the company’s main focus areas is helping clients manage their underwater assets including bridges, ports, offshore wind farms, oil terminals, pipelines and hydropower plants.
With end-to-end service capabilities, VRT performs both physical site inspections as well as data processing and analysis. The company also offers expert interpretation, reporting and guidance on using the survey data they make available to clients on VRT’s unique web-based asset management platform called GISGRO. “We deliver the 3D data and our report via GISGRO online service. Our clients can actually see and analyze the 3D data themselves, and use it in asset management without complex desktop software. It adds value to the data enormously”, Ville Mäkeläinen explains.
In search of superior technology
Before VRT was born, VRT’s founders worked mainly with repair planning for bridges. “They were used to viewing murky videos from divers, which was challenging to utilize” Ville Mäkeläinen comments. “But the founders thought there had to be a better way to get quality data for the engineering work and repair planning. So, they started to think through different scanning methods for the underwater projects.”
Initially, VRT started by using a 2D imaging sonar and shortly after, they switched to a multibeam echosounder. 2D imaging sonar didn’t provide good resolution and it also slowed down large-scale survey projects.
They then decided to “… look for a multibeam sonar capable of measuring with high frequencies,” tells Mäkeläinen. “R2Sonic was the only choice for us as it offers the 700kHz option.”
Faster surveys, better data
Today, VRT conducts scheduled underwater inspections as well as project-related inspections for a range of industries. “We offer a full service for our clients,” says Mäkeläinen. “Meaning we do data acquisition on the field and also process and clean the data. We also have a team of marine engineers who analyze the data based Finnish Transport and Infrastructure agency’s guidelines … We do approximately 200 projects per year all around Europe – in some of the largest ports.”
With the Sonic 2024 and 2022, coupled with VRT’s experienced field team, “We are able to get to very high point densities, up to 1500-2500 points per square meter,” explains Mäkeläinen, “as well as point densities up to the centimeter level. We get very high accuracy … and we can scan with this level of accuracy up to 2km of quay wall per day.”
“1km of survey data takes half a day to collect and one day in the office for processing,” says Mäkeläinen. “Typically, the same person who does the data acquisition does the post processing … and another marine or civil engineer who analyzes the data. Everything happens in-house.”
Underscoring the high resolution provided by the R2Sonic multibeam echosounder, “We were able to detect 40mm cables on the riverbed [for an energy company], in water that was 13 meters deep.”
“With us, our customers can receive real, high-quality 3D data,” Mäkeläinen says. “Many people come to us saying they want exactly the same equipment as VRT has … private companies, our competitors.”
With increasing calls to complete project work all around Europe and Scandinavia, VRT’s capabilities are in high demand. “We have built a reputation worldwide for the data quality we get” Mäkeläinen says.