FDH Tech Talks: From University Research to Worldwide Solutions

FDH Infrastructure Services got its start in the same way so many other solutions-based companies do — solving across a critical problem. On this new episode of FDH Tech Talks, host Tyler Kern sat down with company co-founder Darrin Holt, a civil engineer from North Carolina State University who developed the proprietary nondestructive test (NDT) method the company is known for, and vice president of foundations infrastructure and nondestructive testing, Amir Rakha, a computer science engineer from Iowa State University, who is commercializing the company’s proprietary methods for new markets.

The two pivotal figures shared FDH’s university research roots and discussed in depth how it was launched as a partner to the North Carolina Department of Transportation to identify a means for determining the length of timber bridge piles.

“Determining how deep a timber piling is in the ground without digging it up is not a very easy thing,” Darrin said. “It’d never been done before with a bridge still on top of the piling and the piling remaining in service.”

The Raleigh, North Carolina-based company develops innovative testing and monitoring solutions for evaluating the condition of our nation’s critical structures, such as bridges, dams, levees, transmission towers, telecommunications and broadcast towers, and wind turbines.

In this episode, Amir also discussed new markets that are using the nondestructive method, including cell tower foundations in Southeast Asia and assessing the tension of anchor bolts for wind turbines in the U.S.

“If you think about a wind farm that has 100 towers, there’s about 140 or so bolts on each tower,” Amir explains. “If you multiply 100 by 140, you get a big number. Then you multiply that by the 30 minutes it takes to test, that’s an enormous amount of time and money spent.”

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