Kururu Technology

Monitum’s continuous innovation is shaking up real-time fabrics and ground monitoring space. Maker’s Monthly Talk to the company’s Managing Director about the history of Kurloo Technology, an automated monitoring service.

Kurloo Technology Co-Founder and CEO Lee Hellen started his first commercial business in 2008 after a years-long career in metrology science as a consulting surveyor. Three years later, Hellen’s team worked on the South Point project in Brisbane. You have to deal with tight tunnels and historic buildings. Instead of measuring manually with gauges, the team wired sensor systems and robotics throughout the site to measure all high-risk construction stability items.

“When people are working in deep excavations, they have to make sure the walls are stable and the building is not in danger,” he said. “We took this opportunity to essentially invent a new methodology for how we measure. The project was a huge success and a company called Monitum was born.”

After the success of this first automation project, Monitum gained momentum and expanded its portfolio to work on several large-scale infrastructure projects in South East Queensland.

Most recently, Monitum gained global industry recognition through its technology for real-time mapping of structural and geotechnical monitoring at the A$4 billion Queens Wharf project. This project has been incorporated as the lead monitoring consultant for three major Tier 1 building contractors. Accurate spatial data is delivered to customers through a network of connected IoT sensors and cloud-based technologies. Intelligent sensor networks provide accurate and meaningful data in real time, helping engineers make the right decisions.

A strong commitment to continuous research and development is essential to sustaining Monitum’s growth. In 2018, Hellen recognized a gap in the market for the use of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) sensors in condition monitoring, and with the convergence of new technologies and trends, Hellen recently launched an innovative technology named Kurloo Technology. spurred the invention of new surface displacement monitoring devices. .

“We discovered the potential of GNSS when we used it for real-time alerting on the very large excavation of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing project,” Hellen explains. “We see an opportunity to create new solutions as the demand for drones drive down the cost of precision positioning chips, improve battery technology and move to higher levels of safety and remote control. rice field.”

In 2018, Monitum partnered with Innovative Manufacturing CRC and QUT to democratize precise positioning, an area previously only routinely operated by surveyors and geodesy professionals We set out to research and develop methods. His three-year collaborative research project titled “Automated Monitoring and Analysis of Geotechnical and Structural Performance Using the GNSS Internet of Things” is a more economical and easy way for industry to measure his 3D displacements. continue to invent ways to commercialize

To achieve this, Hellen and his Kurloo co-founder and chief technology officer, Dr. Charles Wang, partnered with Australian manufacturer IntelliDesign to design and manufacture Kurloo’s low-cost IoT GNSS devices in Australia. Did.

Dr. Charles Wang (left) and Lee Hellen (right) co-founders

This project was made possible in large part by the support of Innovative Manufacturing CRC (IMCRC), which has helped innovate and commercialize Australian manufacturing.

“Monitum did early work on developing a proof of concept in 2018,” said Hellen. “We bought some chipsets and tested some small circuits ourselves for about 6-12 months. To take it to the next level we went to QUT and IMCRC. , explained the foundation we have – we know the customer base and market very well and we know sensors will be successful in this market. We needed more manufacturing and research capabilities that we didn’t have as a company.”

KURLOO – Device 3D Model – Front Angle

From 2018, an initial research contract was signed in 2019 and the first prototype was built in July 2020. To improve costly and labor-intensive geospatial data collection technology, Kurloo leveraged its Australian R&D capabilities to create an end-to-end. Displacement monitoring service. Helen explained that such an automated solution has many advantages.

“Kurloo provides the frequent, consistent and accurate readings needed to manage risk at a fraction of the price of traditional monitoring equipment,” he said. “An often-ignored measure of accuracy is time, and traditional methods often arrive a week or two after reading, and sites may have changed. , which means that it can be obtained more quickly, has better temporal accuracy, and allows measurements to be correlated with events and behaviors, such as when a large rainfall event occurs, or at a construction site. Explosions can occur, etc. The measurements accurately track the impact just before, during, and after the event occurs.”

A second advantage of the automated solution, according to Hellen, is remote access and the need to eliminate reliance on a highly skilled workforce for routine measurement tasks.

“Finding a skilled surveyor has always been relatively limited,” says Hellen. “Sometimes it is very difficult to get people into certain environments, like landslide zones, so automated sensors can measure while everything is happening. Automate routine measurement tasks. It frees up the best people to focus on more productive and rewarding work, making teams more productive.”

Kurloo’s applications are very broad and span all types of high-risk infrastructure, transportation and construction. Kurloo is ideal for monitoring the integrated subsidence of roads and abutments, the stability of fills and cuts, hazardous fuel storage tanks, skyscrapers, dams, pipelines, other critical infrastructure and many other environments. Ideal. Kurloo can also be used for important scientific and environmental research applications, such as measuring the surface motion of volcanoes, which can provide early warning of natural disasters.

A key enabler of innovation within Kurloo was cutting-edge geospatial research conducted by QUT’s project team led by Professor Yanming Feng.

“Combining Monitum’s deep understanding of the geospatial field with QUT’s technology and research capabilities has enabled us to overcome major industry barriers and deliver a world-first product,” said Professor Feng. “The Kurloo device is low power, has a built-in solar panel, is elevated, and can transmit data remotely from his server in the cloud. It is portable, low cost, and easy to install.”

QUT conducted a system-wide study and worked with the manufacturer IntelliDesign to design and test the device to ensure it works to meet the technical requirements. QUT has his team of six people from different disciplines with research capabilities in electronics, networks, GNSS algorithms, software development, and geotechnical engineering.

As the industry’s leading partner in research collaborations, Hellen could not overstate the importance of working with QUT. Access to testing facilities and skilled interns and students helped boost the capabilities of the project.

“Working with a university like QUT allows us to add a lot of cross-cutting elements to our research,” he said. “Initially, we partnered with several people with precision positioning expertise to figure out how to automate the processing of GNSS signals to get precise positioning on Earth. We were able to leverage people from structural engineering, electrical engineering, and different disciplines to add some aspects to the project.”

According to Hellen, working with universities that have cutting-edge technical and academic experience can increase the attractiveness of products and pave the way for commercialization.

“Partnering with a university brings a lot more technical and academic rigor than going to a university on your own,” he added. “Our product is more reliable than when we released it to the market, thanks to the academic backing behind it and the reputation that comes with his QUT.”

Like many Australian innovators, Monitum faces the challenge of being constrained by its reliance on overseas manufacturers and supply chains, requiring lead times of several months to receive parts from around the world. There was also a thing. Kurloo’s manufacturing run was made possible in part by its relationship with local manufacturer IntelliDesign.

“They are a perfect fit for our business,” says Hellen. “They are a family-owned manufacturing company with a strong reputation for designing and manufacturing similar types of products. We know how to make devices that can be manufactured repeatedly with quality.”

IMCRC CEO and Managing Director David Chuter said the IMCRC was thrilled to see Kurloo Technology successfully bridge the ‘Valley of Death’ and bring products made in Australia to market. I was.

“Recognizing the need for more innovative surveillance equipment, Monitum and QUT have harnessed the power of advanced technology to create an economical and globally relevant surveillance service that fills a major gap in the market.” he said. “The Kurloo Technology founders also partnered with local manufacturer Intellidesign to streamline device development and commercialization and ensure supply chains. We continue to create new opportunities to capitalize on innovation, seizing them allows companies to develop more resilient products and expand their manufacturing capacity in Australia.”

Lee Hellen explained that with the help of organizations such as IMCRC and QUT, it would not take millions of dollars to commercialize an Australian innovation.

“I encourage you to bring your ideas to universities and enlist the help of influential people like the CRC,” he said. “We set out to be successful in Australia. We use smart, intelligent technology to manufacture our products, served by talented local people.
Better products and more likely to expand and improve value to customers over time. ”


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