Appointment as professor emeritus of the UPC of Antonio Aguado

Appointment as professor emeritus of the UPC of Antonio Aguado

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On July 2nd 2020, the Governing Council of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) approved the appointment of Antonio Aguado, founding partner of Smart Engineering and member of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, as professor emeritus of the UPC for a term 3 years, extendable. The appointment as professor emeritus is granted annually and represents a recognition of the professional career and contribution to the Polytechnic University of Catalonia for at least 10 years in the field of teaching, research, management and technology transfer to the University.

Antonio Aguado, University Professor since November 1987 (https://www.scopus.com/authid/detail.uri?authorId=7005541270), retires at the peak of its production and with all the official recognitions, having of the highest levels of recognition in teaching five-year periods, research and transfer six-year periods. He is awarded the Jaume Vicens Vives 2008 award for his career and its innovative aspects, counting on the warmth and recognition of the students he has taught.

In the research field, he has a similar career, being the author of many articles in scientific journals and technical books. He has been director of more than 55 doctoral theses; of which more than 50% have resulted in successful careers within the university environment, which highlights the role of Professor Aguado as a trainer. As a result of all these activities, it has received various awards and recognitions from scientific and professional associations, both national and international (ACI, ACE, ACHE, ALCONPAT, CANMET, CICCP, RILEM, SPANCOLD).

Within the search for balance in his activity, he has had a relevant work in the field of knowledge transfer to the private and industrial sector, being a paradigm in the university sector his strategy of combining applied research with transfer in the same direction technological. Its activity in technology transfer agreements, developed through the UPC, as well as its participation in the Industrial Doctorate programs of both AGAUR and MINECO, is noteworthy, being a pioneer in this sense in the introduction of these programs. In 2013, he was a co-founder partner of Smart Engineering, a technology-based company and spin-off of the UPC.

BASF and Smart Engineering renew their collaboration in the field of fiber-reinforced concrete

BASF and Smart Engineering renew their collaboration in the field of fiber-reinforced concrete

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The Spanish subsidiary of the company BASF Construction Chemical (Master Builders Construction Chemicals Group – MBCC) and Smart Engineering have renewed this collaboration agreement that they have maintained since 2013, to collaborate jointly in the field of plastic fiber reinforced concrete this past May.

Smart Engineering has been collaborating with the company BASF Construction Chemicals since 2013 in various aspects related to the quality control of plastic fiber reinforced concrete, the calculation and design of structural elements of plastic fiber reinforced concrete, and the carrying out of training and diffusion about the use of plastic fiber reinforced concrete. This collaboration has been decisive in promoting the use of structural plastic fibers for concrete reinforcement as an alternative to traditional steel reinforcement, not only in the Spanish market but in the European market.

The renewal of the collaboration contract shows the ability of the Smart Engineering company to be a spearhead in the structural use of plastic fiber reinforced concrete. In this sense, this collaboration will allow activities to disseminate the use of structural plastic fibers in reinforced concrete, carry out characterization tests on the behavior of plastic fibers developed by MBCC, provide support in carrying out unique tests on structural elements manufactured with plastic fiber reinforced concrete and technical support in works and strategic clients.

In this way, Smart Engineering continues a strategic business line and renews the trust of one of the most important clients since the creation of the company. Likewise, it allows to continue developing a support activity for large companies in the construction sector, providing them with the know-how and new technological developments incorporated by the Smart Engineering company in the field of Structural Engineering and the development and characterization of new structural materials.

Smart Engineering will develop a model guide for the evaluation of public tenders

Smart Engineering will develop a model guide for the evaluation of public tenders

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Smart Engineering together with the company Constraula carried out since last February 2o2o a project to develop the conceptualization of a project evaluation model in public tenders carried out by the different Public Administrations. This project aims to serve as a guide for the technicians of the AAPP, so that it allows them greater ease and transparency in the classification, evaluation and prioritization of the different offers. The project focuses above all on maintenance contracts for public roads and buildings, as well as development projects and new buildings.

The current Law 9/2017 of September 8 of Public Sector Contracts on the procedures for the award of public contracts for works, services and supplies was aimed at achieving greater transparency in public procurement and achieving better value for money. . For this, the law indicates that the design of the award criteria must ensure that the highest quality works, supplies and services are obtained by including qualitative, environmental, social and innovative aspects related to the object of the contract.

However, the reality of the sector indicates that, today, public tenders have failed to introduce, in a transparent, objective and traceable manner, the aforementioned issues. Based on these issues, the project proposes a new evaluation model that incorporates aspects related to transparency, freedom of access, non-discrimination, as well as the consideration of social and environmental criteria and attributes.

The methodology of this study is based on the MIVES multi-criteria methodology, developed by the UPC. This methodology allows taking into account economic, environmental and social factors, as well as the different circumstances and specific parameters of each work or contract, promoting the different offers and alternatives, their best approaches, those of their employees and teams, and their conditions of social implantation and environmental of the project and / or the work in the territory.

The model incorporates a decision tree that will include as indicators the context of the work, the experience of the company, the characteristics and technical conditions, the plan of works and innovation, as well as the impact on the social and environmental environment.

Smart Engineering continues with this project its line of business oriented to the development of tools to help decision-making, sustainability assessment and investment prioritization, all based on the MIVES methodology. Examples of this business line are the Avalua project developed for the Barcelona City Council, the sustainable prioritization model of the AGBAR distribution network or the investment prioritization model for the Zonal Plan of the Barcelona Provincial Council.

Smart Engineering works on the development of tools based on autonomous learning

Smart Engineering works on the development of tools based on autonomous learning

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Smart Engineering has started a new project at the beginning of the year for the development of tools based on autonomous learning and massive data analysis, with application in different areas of civil engineering ranging from the precast sector to construction. This project is part of a Torres Quevedo grant for the incorporation of doctors to private companies, from the Ministry of Science and Innovation (PTQ-18-90877). Thanks to the aforementioned help, Tai Ikumi PhD has joined Smart Engineering.

Nowadays, data is positioned as one of the most dynamic sources of economic benefit in many economic sectors. Data analysis has shown that it has the ability to improve the performance and productivity of any economic activity. However, its use in the civil engineering sector still remains marginal. In fact, it is often openly recognized that in many cases the registered data is not even analyzed. This is due to the difficulty of allocating highly qualified human technical resources to tasks that are still carried out very manually today in the field of civil engineering. These types of practices run counter to current trends, as they disregard the enormous potential of the data.

The general objective of the project is the development of data-based products for the optimization of construction processes. To meet this technological and scientific challenge, models based on machine learning are currently being developed capable of predicting the evolution of the mechanical properties of different concretes (conventional, ultra-high resistance, sprayed, fibre-reinforced) based on dosage and curing conditions. This line of activity encompasses the existing project with Chatu Tech for the development and commercialization of chips with RFID technology for use in concrete structures and elements.

The integrated sensor solution together with the intelligent algorithm allows real-time wireless monitoring of the resistance evolution in concrete elements. This is a critical piece of information that enables the optimization of a multitude of construction processes, such as the formwork stripping time, the opening pavement to traffic, the tensioning time of the prestressed cable, etc. Any reduction in construction / manufacturing times translates directly into a minimization of the environmental impact of the activities and the associated costs. Currently, the first tests on an industrial scale are already being carried out, both in the field of civil works, underground works and precast, resulting in very promising results.

Smart Engineering collaborates on the Iberpotash Cabanasses mine ramp project in Súria

Smart Engineering collaborates on the Iberpotash Cabanasses mine ramp project in Súria

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Smart Engineering collaborates with ICL Iberia – Iberpotash on the “Cabanasses Mine ramp” project, in Súria. This project is the longest mining tunnel in Spain. It is a ramp with a length of five kilometers and that will reach 900 meters deep. The “Cabanasses Mine ramp”project will allow the direct transport of salt and potash from inside the mine to the treatment plant, without having to transport the mineral through the urban center of Súria as it is being done today.

The works of the “Cabanasses Mine ramp” project are carried out using the New Austrian Tunnel Construction Method (NATM) and using shotcrete to support the tunnel. The “Cabanasses Mine ramp” project represents a technical challenge, given the operating conditions and the characteristics of the tunnel (length, depth, slope). This together with the salinity conditions and the mechanical requirements for the depth reached, puts the level of demand on the materials used at a very high peak.

Smart Engineering has been collaborating in the “Cabanasses Mine ramp” project since 2018, providing technical advisory services to the company ICL Iberia – Iberpotash. Smart Engineering advises on aspects related to the design of projected concrete mixes, quality control and optimization of the performance of shotcrete.

Smart Engineering thus strengthens its position as a technical advisory company in advanced aspects of Structural and Materials Engineering. Smart Engineering engineers have high experience in the use and characterization of shotcrete, having also participated in the elaboration of different national and international regulations related to this material.

Smart Engineering participates in the design of the GFRC elements of the new Diagonal 0 Building

Smart Engineering participates in the design of the GFRC elements of the new Diagonal 0 Building

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Smart Engineering has collaborated in recent months in the design and structural evaluation of the elements of GFRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete, for its acronym in English) that are being installed in the new Diagonal 0 Building, located at the beginning of Avenida Diagonal, in Barcelona. The Diagonal 0 building in Barcelona will consist of 26 floors that will house 89 luxury apartments. The design is led by the architect Odile Decq and its construction by ACCIONA. Its height will exceed 100 m and it will be part of the set of iconic buildings in Barcelona.

Its façade is made of fiberglass reinforced concrete (GFRC) elements, whose dimensions and geometry exceed the standards for the use of this type of material and for the wind loads (up to 350 kg / m2) at which they go to be subject during the useful life. Considering that there is no design regulation for this type of elements, and due to the high loads, the design, manufacturing and assembly aspects represent a challenge and a milestone both nationally and internationally in terms of the structural application of the GFRC.

The company EConcretus is in charge of the manufacture and installation of all the GFRC parts for the facade. Smart Engineering has verified the resistant suitability of the material as well as the structural safety of all the elements manufactured with this material. The uniqueness of the different pieces, as well as the emblematic of the building and the conditions in service, together with the lack of calculation regulations for this material, made this a totally unique project.

In this sense, Smart Engineering has carried out an intense work of structural modeling of the different manufacturing parts. The parts have been practically modeled in their entirety, using 3D finite elements, to verify the behavior of the material against the existing wind load and own weight requirements.

On the other hand, it has been necessary to carry out characterization tests of the material and of the manufactured parts. To this end, Smart Engineering has carried out tests at the Structures and Materials Technology Laboratory (LATEM) Lluís Agulló of the UPC as well as full-scale tests of the parts at the EConcretus facilities in Sentmenat (Barcelona).

The collaboration between EConcretus and Smart Engineering has allowed the design and manufacture of the GFRC parts for the building's façade, which stand out for having optimized dimensions taking into account the high service loads and the large number of parts a manufacture (most with different dimensions). The set has set a challenge and a new milestone in the use of this material for this type of application.

Smart Engineering produces a monograph on curing concrete structures

Smart Engineering produces a monograph on curing concrete structures

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Last November, Smart Engineering completed the writing of the monograph “Curing of concrete structures: from theory to practice”, commissioned by the company Acciona Construcción. The objective of the aforementioned monograph is to deepen the practical knowledge of the topics of curing concrete structures, aimed at responding to the site technician responsible for this activity in any geographical circumstance.

The document lays the main foundations of what curing represents and the consequences derived from its incorrect performance. It also analyzes the main factors involved in the process, as well as different structural typologies and their circumstances from the curing point of view, both internal (concrete composition) and external (climatology and structural typologies). The document also proposes different models that can be applied by the project management. This knowledge is of vital importance both for site managers and for designers and technicians in general. The curing of concrete structures is a key aspect for the correct performance of structures during their service life, as well as to ensure their durability against external agents.

In many construction situations, either due to ignorance or due to lack of rigor, the minimum criteria regarding the practices necessary for the proper curing of the structure are not taken into account. All this leads to unexpected problems, such as early cracking of the structure, loss of mechanical performance or problems associated with durability. It is therefore pertinent and necessary to improve the knowledge available to technicians and designers, and this monograph lays those first bases of knowledge.

The development of this monograph lays the foundations for a new line of business for the Smart Engineering company, which carries out a knowledge transfer through monographs and training activities towards the main companies in the Civil and Industrial Engineering sector. In this way, the experience and knowledge of the technicians and engineers that make up Smart Engineering, both in the academic and professional world, are captured and the practice of companies in the construction, infrastructure and engineering sector is put into service civil.

Collaboration agreement between Smart Engineering and Chatu Tech

Collaboration agreement between Smart Engineering and Chatu Tech

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The companies Smart Engineering and Chatu Tech sign a collaboration agreement for the development of RFID chips for use in concrete and other applications

On January 31 the companies Smart Engineering and Chatu Tech signed a collaboration agreement for the specific development of projects in those areas and activities that may be of interest and mutual benefit to the two companies, such as the development and commercialization of chips with RFID technology for use in structures and concrete elements. This type of chips allow to improve the traceability of the construction process in different concrete elements, both manufactured in situ and prefabricated. Likewise, they allow the monitoring of physical-chemical parameters of the material, such as temperature and relative humidity, opening the door to the estimation of the compression resistance of the material at early ages through maturity models.

Signing collaboration agreement Smart Engineering – Chatu Tech

In the image, after the signing of the collaboration agreement, Manel Torrentallé (CEO and co-founder of Chatu Tech), Francisco Guarner (Vice-president and co-founder of Smart Engineering), Ignasi Cairó (CTO and co-founder of Chatu Tech) and Ignacio Segura (Innovation & Business Manager and co-founder of Smart Engineering).

 

Smart Engineering participates in the CSST-Ottawa project

Smart Engineering participates in the CSST-Ottawa project

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Smart Engineering has participated in the design, optimization of the reinforcement and monitoring of the work of the CSST-Ottawa project in the city of Ottawa, Canada. The CSST-Ottawa project is a strategic initiative and one of the most important projects of the Ottawa River Action Plan (ORAP), which is the City of Ottawa’s long-term strategy to improve stormwater management and improve and protect Ottawa’s health. The CSST-Ottawa project includes the construction of two tunnels, an east-west tunnel through the city center from LeBreton Flats to New Edinburgh Park, and a north-south tunnel (NST) along Kent Street from Chamberlain Avenue to the existing storm sewer at the mouth of the Ottawa River north of Wellington Street.

The CSST-Ottawa project has as its main objective will greatly reduce the frequency of overflows when entering the Ottawa River; It will contain up to 43,000m3 of sewer overflow during the major rains, which can then be safely treated and returned to the Ottawa River. In addition to reducing overflows when entering the Ottawa River, the benefits of the CSST-Ottawa project include reducing the risk of basement flooding for various lowlands in the Glebe / O’Connor area, and increasing operational flexibility and redundancy to the main collection sewers in the downtown area.


The CSST-Ottawa project is carried out by applying the TBM machine construction technique for excavation and the use of precast concrete segments to support the tunnel. Smart Engineering has participated in the design and optimization of the structural reinforcement of the latter, together with the companies Intecsa and Dr. Sauer. The final solution adopted has been the use of steel fibre reinforced concrete. In this way, it has been possible to respond not only to the mechanical stresses that take place during the transitory stages of manufacturing (demoulding, transportation and stockpiling on site), as well as in service.

Likewise, Smart Engineering has collaborated during the construction work of the CSST-Ottawa tunnel together with the companies Dr. Sauer, Intecsa, Ggravity and Dragados Canada. Smart Engineering has supported the optimization and monitoring of the curing of the manufactured voussoirs, as well as the evaluation and validation of the mechanical performance of the manufactured voussoirs. The follow-up was quite a challenge, since different tests were carried out to validate the curing conditions in extreme conditions due to the temperatures reached in winter in the city of Ottawa. Laboratory scale studies were carried out to determine the influence of curing conditions on the mechanical properties of the material, as well as real scale studies. Smart Engineering collaborated with the University of Ottawa to carry out full-scale trials of segments made in the project, testing a total of 6 segments. To complement the study, Smart Engineering developed specific numerical models to validate the expected mechanical behavior of the segments made, considering the curing conditions.

Smart Engineering starts two new Industrial Doctorate projects

Smart Engineering starts two new Industrial Doctorate projects

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The Smart Engineering company continues its firm commitment to developing its own R&D, by starting two new industrial doctorates. The essential element of the industrial doctorate process is the research project of the company or institution in which the doctoral student develops his research training, in collaboration with a university or research center, and which is the subject of a doctoral thesis. Industrial doctorates thus act as bridges for the transfer of knowledge and help to strengthen relations between the industrial fabric of Catalonia and universities and research centers.

Two new projects have started in 2018, financed by the AGAUR Industrial Doctorate program and the MICINN Industrial Doctorates program. The project financed within the 2018 call of the Doctorats Industrials program of the Generalitat de Catalunya (2018 DI 077), is entitled “Development of new optimized design systems for concrete slabs reinforced with more competitive and sustainable fibers” and is being carried out by Civil Engineer Stanislav Aidarov.

The project financed by the call for Industrial Doctorates of the Ministry of Science and Innovation of the Government of Spain (DI-17-09390), with the project title “Structural optimization of concrete floors reinforced with fibers for building”. This project is carried out by Civil Engineer Alejandro Nogales.

Both projects approach the theme of design and structural optimization of fiber-reinforced concrete slabs from different perspectives. In this way, the company’s Advanced Structural Engineering business line is strengthened and a decisive contribution is made to the development of new technologies and products. Likewise, it is expected that the results of the two industrial doctorate projects will contribute to promoting the use of fiber-reinforced concrete in different structural elements, in this case building slabs. This will be the case, which seeks to obtain a comprehensive method (design, execution and control) of the use of fiber-reinforced concrete that enables more competitive and at the same time more environmentally friendly construction solutions to be achieved by optimizing the consumption of raw materials while maintaining quality and structural safety standards.