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The Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS, based in Dresden, covers the field of technical ceramics from basic preliminary research to application. The CoMoBelt, which will be presented at HANNOVER MESSE 2022, also belongs to the field of developments that are already suitable for application. The CoMoBelt is a high-tech cuff that alternately acts as either a sensor or an actuator. This sleeve is placed like a ring directly and permanently around heavily loaded areas of foundation structures and henceforth receives or transmits special ultrasonic waves. Based on the reflection patterns of these waves in the material, damage such as weld cracks can now be detected in real time.

"In order to be able to measure permanently underwater, the CoMoBelt must withstand the harsh environmental conditions. That's why the sensors are laminated in. These barrier layers protect the sensors from penetrating seawater. However, this only works with flat electronic components that we developed specifically for this purpose," explains Dr. Bianca Weihnacht, a scientist at Fraunhofer IKTS. In the future, divers will also not be needed to read out the data measured with the CoMoBelt. From now on, this will be done by underwater robots, so-called Remote Operating Vehicles (ROV), which use suitable wireless near-field communication to transmit the data from the sensor cuff to the diagnostic device on the robot and then via cable to the technicians on the ship. This new technology allows connectors on the measurement system to be avoided, which in turn should contribute decisively to the long-term and reliable operation of the underwater system.