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Dawn view of a pedestrian footbridge over a busy street corner in Taipei City with Taipei

Condition monitoring

As devices become more and more complex with the years, the need for knowledge of their behaviour become more demanding, as well as the need for accurate data. Predicting the life of a structure today combines the understanding of physics, the detection of physical variables, and the processing of data with computerized algorithms to be able to detect miss function or possible failure. These three concepts form the basis of any condition monitoring system.

By monitoring a parameter of condition (vibration, temperature, strain etc.) information is extracted to identify significant change in the behaviour of the structure which is indicative of a developing fault. Therefore, condition monitoring is a major part of predictive maintenance.

By using this type of monitoring, actions can be taken to prevent substantial damages, or allow maintenance to be scheduled when necessary. The major benefit of condition monitoring is the fact that conditions that would normally shorten the lifespan of a structure can be addressed before they develop in significant failure. Condition monitoring also identifies the type of fault, and the instant when a defect appears in a particular component. This data will provide enough information to improve future designs.

Project: Taipei 101

The view of Taipei from the 508-metre-high Taipei 101, one of the world's tallest and most expensive buildings, is breathtaking. But turn around and you'll see something just as fascinating: a giant golden sphere suspended from eight steel cables in the middle of the building between floors 87 and 91.


Large civil structures are vulnerable to wind and earthquakes. A strong wind will cause the upper floors of the building to sway back and forth. This golden sphere is a device designed to counteract the effects of wind and seismic activity on the skyscraper. It is called a tuned mass damper and weighs 728 tonnes. A tuned mass damper consists of two components, a very heavy mass and a shock absorbing suspension mechanism.


Somni was given the opportunity to install low frequency fiber optic accelerometers to monitor the vibrations and movements of this mass. By monitoring the vibrations, information is extracted to detect changes in the behaviour of the structure that indicate a developing fault. Monitoring vibrations also provides information on how the structure reacts to wind or, for example, an earthquake. Therefore, condition monitoring is an important part of predictive maintenance and increases the knowledge of the behaviour of the structure.

Taipei 101 mass damper.png

Somni Corporation bv

Rotterdamseweg 183C

2629 HD Delft

The Netherlands

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