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Submersible Sensors and Maintenance test of the lock Noordersluis

Turnkey measuring system provides data for maintenance plan by SPIE

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In 2029, the Noordersluis between IJmuiden and Amsterdam will reach the end of its technical life. In addition, the lock has become too small for the increasingly large sea-going vessels and cruise boats. For the safety and productivity of the port of Amsterdam, the sea lock will be replaced in 2022 by a new lock of 500 m long, 70 m wide and 18 m deep.

Rijkswaterstaat (part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management) is investigating what maintenance must be done to keep the current lock in operation until the new lock is delivered. They do this together with TNO (The Netherlands Organisation for applied scientific research) and maintenance company SPIE.

Maintenance North Sea Canal by SPIE
Rijkswaterstaat has outsourced the maintenance of the infrastructure in the North Sea Canal to SPIE. SPIE is responsible for an area with 13 movable objects: bridges, locks and pumping stations, but also for dams and the (green) facilities around the waterways.

Lock Noordersluis IJmuiden
The lock has two large lock doors. When the lock has to be open for shipping, the lock doors slide into the quay via rails. The rails are submerged under water on a concrete foundation. After all those years in the water, the concrete is degenerating. If the damage to the concrete becomes too large, rails may start to spring or collapse when the door passes over it.

To develop a good maintenance plan for the lock, SPIE must know how the rails behave when the door passes over them.

About SPIE
SPIE is a multi-technical services company in the fields of energy and communication. They assist companies in the design, implementation, operation and maintenance of network systems and energy, infrastructure, industrial and building installations.

Plug and Play Measurement System

Althen was asked for help to measure the suspension of the rails. Two weeks after the first contact, Althen delivered a complete measurement system. Divers placed 20 Linear Position Sensors on the rails, 10 sensors on each rail. The S114 Linear Position Sensors are robust, accurate and especially suitable for underwater use. During the opening and closing of the lock gates, the system measures how much the rails move. The combined measurement results are recorded in a GL 7000 Data Logger.

Thanks to the Plug'n Play concept, after mounting the sensors, the system was ready for measurements in half an hour.

Use of the measurement system

The 20 Submersible Position Sensors are connected to the Graphtec Datalogger GL7000 with cables of 100m, via Junction Boxes developed by Althen. The fluctuations can be monitored live on the Datalogger display. The measurement results can be saved, exported or read remotely in real time.

After two weeks, the measurement data is sent to TNO (Netherlands Organization for Applied Natural Science Research), which analyzes the data and processes it in a report for Rijkswaterstaat. SPIE draws up a thorough maintenance plan for the Noordersluis based on this report.


Take a look at the video to get an impression of the new lock. More information about the project can be found on the website of Rijkswaterstaat.

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