SHM solutions for FBG sensors integration


Design and development of devices and protocols for improving the integration of Fibre Bragg Grating sensor networks for real size components under industrial conditions. The developed devices have been fabricated using an additive manufacturing technology developed for aerospace applications, which enables the creation of ad-hoc solutions for specific situations.


CATEC has developed solutions and improvements in the field of Structural Health Monitoring (SHM). These developments have the final goal to create the foundations for the industrialization of fibre optic technology (using Fibre Bragg Grating Sensors, FBG). The work performed has enabled:

  1. the protocols for fibre optic integration within composite materials to be established (embedded, bonded and attached to part surface during curing),
  2. connecting devices for ensuring the fibre optic survival during the manipulation and assembly of the target component to be developed,
  3. the design and manufacture of tools for the manipulation of large fibre optics, reducing the breaking risk due to shear loads;
  4. the implementation of algorithms for the monitoring in real time with low computing cost (processing and storage of fibre optics measurements),
  5. application of the developed solutions to real size demonstrators and
  6. development of novel strategies for the monitoring of components fabricated by Additive Manufacturing (AM).

Innovations and advantages of the offer

Currently, the application of the SHM technique using FBG sensors is limited mainly to low TRL technologies (TRL 4). This technology has a high potential for industrialization in the aerospace sector as well as in civil, transportation, etc. The technology uptake in these fields requires the reduction of the high sensor mortality rate during fibre optic installation and manipulation.

Through the use of the Additive Manufacturing technology, CATEC has developed several devices for the integration of fibre optic sensors, as a fibre optic positioning tool. This eases the manipulation of long fibres and the connecting elements, which in turn enables the implementation of more robust fibre optic installations. The validity of these solutions has been demonstrated by their application in real composite components (e.g. a CFRP cockpit at real size).

The technique has also been developed for the monitoring of metal structures fabricated by Additive Manufacturing (ESA project with Airbus Defence and Space for the FLPP), where FBG is integrated into the component.


Current: Monitoring of aeronautical, space and civil structures.

Potential: Monitoring of the structural health of critical components in multiple fields including: railway industry, automotive industry, roads and highway monitoring and energy industry.

Description of Space Heritage

Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) project (AIRBUS D&S and CATEC) for ESA’s Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (FLPP).  The TRL of the final AM separation system (low shock clampband LPSS) has been established at 6 (System/subsystem model or prototyping demonstration in a relevant end-to-end environment – ground or space).

Facilities and Capabilities
Reference No.
Could this technology benefit your business? Please contact Richard Seddon Tecnalia (Spain)
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