Research and development (R&D) are integral components of any successful company. R&D seeks the knowledge that in turn shapes the design and enhancement of its products, services, technologies, or processes. This connects various divisions within a company and leads to discoveries that bring multiple advantages to the industry.
Innovation is a necessary trait for businesses that seek to add value and increase their profits. Take a look around - every aspect of our lives is almost, if not completely, different from decades ago. Smartphones reign supreme. Online learning is the norm. Deliveries are made right to our door by drones! Innovation is also the reason why electromagnetic methods are becoming a norm for concrete scanning.
That being said, the construction industry still lags behind in innovation. Although it is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world, it is far from being the most innovative. For example, outdated methodologies such as X-ray and chain dragging are still applied on construction sites every day.
How can we overcome a stalled industry?
The key is investing in research and development. In addition to the practical benefits outlined earlier, R&D can raise a company’s profile. If a company or sector shows a willingness to prioritize R&D, it will often help attract more investment. More investors, venture capitalists, clients, and employees spur economic growth to the company, which inevitably leads to breakthroughs. This in turn only makes the services and technology it offers to the clients better and more precise. But it needs buy-in – not only from the pocketbook but also from a mental perspective.
How does Xradar invest in research?
Although we utilize and value new methodologies and cutting-edge technology, there are times where it has limitations. Our research team noticed a gap in certain non-destructive methods that couldn't meet our clients needs. So we adapted and began exploring new methods. This is evident in the Xradar technology that we apply in our GPR surveys. We also produced our own proprietary corrosion mapping software. We’re constantly seeking new ways to provide our clients with the best solutions.
What approach can we take to ensure research brings results?
The strength of the applied research is only as good as the community surrounding it. This includes the relationships with employees as well as clients. The commitment to nurture relationships is essential to be a step ahead of the industry. Usually, a research project is born out of a clients’ unique needs. Employees bring these issues to the research team, who can then analyze the issue. This relationship is important to finding an in-house solution adapted to the specific situation.
What are some examples of outdated methodologies in the construction industry?
As mentioned previously, the chain dragging methodology is still widely used throughout the industry. It consists of a person going over a delaminated area and listening to possible locations for delamination. This methodology is very subjective and prone to error. We are developing a new technology, that paired with our existing services, will remove the subjectivity of this survey. It will also provide accurate results about the extent and location of delaminated areas. Other issues plaguing the construction industry include accuracy on the determination of voids and their consistency; how to improve huge slab on grade surveys without losing any accuracy; how to diminish the effects of a high conductive medium (finding a target beneath dense rebar).
In summary, all of these situations require due diligence, mapping out every process to the bone, and of course dedicated research. Here at Xradar we are constantly investing and continuously developing new, innovative technology that we then apply in the field. We are committed to using the most up to date equipment to better serve our clients needs and drive change in the industry.