To the content

Make lock markings more visible and low-maintenance

Current phase
Ends on: 20.06.2024
  1. Call and submissions
    Current phase: 25.04.2024 - 20.06.2024
  2. Queries begins on 21.06.2024
  3. Jury evaluation begins on 05.07.2024
  4. Announcement of the winners from 19.08.2024
Online since 25.04.2024


Together with its partner Verbund Hydro Power (VHP), viadonau operates 9 locks on the Austrian stretch of the Danube, each of which has 2 lock chambers. In these 18 lock chambers, there are a total of 116 vertical marking lines that serve as boundary lines for the ships in the locks and are therefore relevant for the safety of lock operation. These lines should therefore be clearly visible under all weather conditions and circumstances. Due to the constant change in water level during lockage operations, fouling from vegetation and fine sediment collects on the walls of the lock chambers and therefore also on the lock markings. The lines must therefore be cleaned regularly. This cleaning is currently carried out manually using a high-pressure cleaner from a work boat. This means that 2-6 filling/emptying processes are required to clean the 4-12 marking lines per lock chamber, which takes at least 30 minutes per lock chamber and process and results in delays for shipping traffic. On average, around 8 hours are currently spent per lock and cleaning, which corresponds to a full day's work for a boat including at least 2 people.

The challenge here is to ensure good visibility of these demarcation lines at all times despite constant water washovers (pollution and deposits), their time-consuming maintenance and repair work (time resources and limited navigability) and the changing weather conditions (sun, rain, snow, fog, day and night). Previous alternative marking coatings and optical marking methods (LED or laser technology) have not produced the desired results.


What solution enables boundary lines at ship locks to be designed in such a way that they are clearly visible all year round and can be maintained in a resource-saving manner?

Desired result

The aim of this challenge is to achieve consistently good visibility of the lock markings with low maintenance effort. The objective is open to solutions:

  • The focus is on material innovations in the area of line labelling as well as
  • innovative approaches to improve line cleaning and make it more efficient.
  • Solutions that could achieve the objective of lock markings by other technical means would also be conceivable (e.g. optical distance display).

The following aspects must be considered with regard to the general conditions:

  • the markings are in constant contact with Danube water. Therefore, all ecological framework conditions of the Water Framework Directive and national laws and regulations must be complied with
  • the lines could theoretically be touched by people on sluiced vehicles - the markings must not pose any potential danger whatsoever
  • Structural measures in the lock chamber are more difficult than on structures on land due to the general conditions and - depending on the duration - cannot be carried out all year round
  • The weather conditions are extreme (constant changes between wet/dry, heat in summer, ice in winter)
  • Very high mechanical surface loads must be expected in the event of collisions by ships

Call for submissions

Take the opportunity to showcase your innovative approaches as part of this market exploration and highlight potential ways in which you can organise the boundary lines in the future or make maintenance more efficient. Submit your ideas using the online forms:

Explain your solution idea(s) or your specific product for the challenge described above. Focus on feasibility and think about the evaluation criteria. What makes your solution innovative? You are also welcome to cite reference examples. Present your competences and implementation experience. If necessary, support your explanations with sketches and plans for easy comprehensibility.

Summarise the added value:
Summarise your unique selling proposition and key benefits. Make it clear what has already been implemented and what is still at the idea stage.

Company description:
Give an overview of your company.

Confidential information for the jury (optional)
In this text field you can enter information that you would like to share exclusively with the project organisers, e.g. an initial rough cost estimate. If you wish to send confidential information as a file, you can send it directly to the moderator of this challenge by e-mail.

You also need a cover picture. This is your visual figurehead in the overview of submissions for this challenge.

Pdf files:
Optionally, you can also attach a file. This file should supplement the texts in the form fields but not replace or repeat them! Use the file attachment for graphics, for example. Sketches, plans.

NOTE: Submissions in the consortium are possible. Keep it short (guideline: approx. three A4 pages or ten presentation slides in total). We are currently in the market exploration phase with the Challenge. Therefore, the following is not yet necessary to arouse interest: completely new concepts, designs or feasibility studies developed especially for this event.

Benefits of the challenge and further project development

This challenge provides the sponsor with an overview of solutions and potential partners/suppliers. The jury of internal experts then invites those companies whose solutions stand out particularly positively in the evaluation criteria to an innovation dialogue. In the case of a convincing solution, the sponsor has a very specific intention to implement it.

For companies, this means By participating in the Challenge, you get on the radar of the public client. Your submission will remain visible as your business card for other interested parties even after the Challenge has ended. You position yourself for further public sector procurement projects. If you are among the winners and are invited to the final innovation dialogue, you can present your solution at a market discussion. You exchange ideas directly with the project managers.

This creates awareness and understanding of suitable innovations on the part of the public client. This is important so that the contracting authority can take innovative approaches into account in any procurement project in accordance with the Federal Procurement Act after the market exploration.

The sponsor is also in direct dialogue with lock operators in Germany, where there is also a need for an improved solution.

Depending on the results, the further project plan foresees the following:

Depending on the results, this could continue after the challenge:
Depending on the results of the challenge, the sponsor plans to implement the improvement measures for the visualisation and/or maintenance of the lock markings as quickly as possible.

Do you have the right solution?
Then submit!

Questions about the challenge

Any questions? Post it! The moderator will check, research and publish your question together with the answer. This way, all possible participants receive the same information.

Your solution does not fit this challenge? Present your solution at the Marketplace!

The Innovation Marketplace is a showcase for innovations suitable for public administration. Procurers use it for market research. The Austrian Competence Centre for Innovation Procurement promotes these innovations.

Strong partners stand behind the Austrian Competence Centre for Innovation Procurement

An initiative of:

In cooperation with:


We use cookies to make sure we give you the best experience on our website.

Find out more under "Collection of access data, log files and cookies" in our Privacy Policy.

To the main navigation