A Finnish invention prevents moisture problems in wooden buildings
For the first time, an IoT wood moisture meter that is able to be screwed into wood and accompanying web application can be used together to ensure that wooden elements remain dry throughout the supply chain - from the factory to the construction site and finally as a part of a finished building.
This innovation is the product of collaboration between Wiiste and major company Stora Enso. The device is patented. Sales and deliveries of the device start this week.
For the first time, the IoT hygrometer, which is screwed into wood, allows the moisture of wood elements from the factory all the way to the building site digitally.
This solution is suitable for a variety of wooden buildings and has already been piloted in Wood City 2 in Helsinki’s Jätkäsaari district, as well as in applications in Austria. IoT humidity measurement meter is currently being used on wood elements at the construction site of the Finnish-Russian school being built in Helsinki for 700 students.
The new wood moisture meter sends real-time data to the cloud independently, making it available for viewable on your mobile device or computer.
There is a major difference between this innovation and the current measurement methods in use, which often consist of cutting into the wood or drilling to take a sample.
The main advantage is the transition from one-time measurement to continuous monitoring, which is important as the wood element can become wet at various stages of the chain. Information about any possible moisture is immediately sent as an alert on the application.
The measurement device’s fixing screws are also used as measuring electrodes to measure the moisture profile of the wood at two different depths.
"The information can also be used to determine when the element became wet – whether moisture has accumulated in transport, storage, construction or after the building has been completed," says Toni Luopajärvi, CEO of Wiiste Oy.
The new product was created as a cooperative project between Wiiste, a pioneer in quickly installable structural measurement technology, and Stora Enso, a major player in wood technology. Contributing to the joint development work, Wiiste brought wireless humidity measurement technology expertise, while Stora Enso shared expertise in wood technology management and resources.
Demand for the new method of measurement in the wooden high-rise market
The measurement technology was already piloted in late summer 2019 at Wood City 2 and in November at BOKU University in Vienna, Austria, which focuses on natural resources and life sciences. In addition, the first version of the product is already being delivered to construction sites in England and Australia.
Combient Foundry, which serves as the backdrop for the collaboration, is a consortium of large companies that publishes challenges based on the real business needs of its member companies and looks for startups to help solve them. Stora Enso and Wiiste's project has demonstrated the functionality of the concept.
"We can be the first wood construction company to provide humidity detection throughout the supply chain and construction process at the site. This solution can provide digital assurance that the building is in good condition and healthy for those living inside," says Stora Enso's Digital Scout, Jyripekka Hiltunen.
The highest demand for the device is expected to come from the need for moisture measurement of prefabricated wood elements for wooden high-rises, more specifically solid wood CLT elements and LVL elements. The device is also suitable for log house manufacturers.
"Internationally, insurance companies, financiers and public officials are increasingly paying attention to the verification of humidity in wood construction. Our solution meets this need," says Toni Luopajärvi.
Aki Böök to move from managing sales at Digia Plc to become the CEO of Wiiste
Aki Böök, M.Sc. (Econ.), will leave his position as Sales Director of Digia’s Digital Unit to become Wiiste's CEO as of August 1. Böök has been a partner and board member of Wiiste for a few years, so he is already well acquainted with his new workplace.
"I look forward to getting started, as Wiiste is an exceptionally interesting company and all of the current team members are very committed and professional. The company's technological expertise in humidity measurement of structures is extremely strong globally, and our operations are now ready to take the next step," says Aki Böök.
Aki Böök's role in Wiiste's business development focuses on the commercial and international sectors. Current CEO Toni Luopajärvi will continue to work as Wiiste's Product and Development Director.
Tampere’s Wiiste Oy is a pioneer in wireless humidity measurement in the construction industry, having already sold its humidity sensors to about 1,500 sites in Finland. In the past, solutions have mainly been used to measure when drying concrete.
The export of concrete sensors was also took a leap earlier this spring, when the large construction company Weber launched measuring instruments based on Wiiste technology in Sweden.
The new device for measuring moisture in wood is also displays humidity levels in the air as well as temperature and alerts users when they need to replace the device’s batteries, which last for two to five years. You can control the device remotely online.