In Berlin, Vossloh will be presenting several sensor-based measuring and monitoring technologies for turnout systems that are of particular relevance for managing maintenance, the most cost-intensive aspect in the life cycle of a turnout. “Digital Turnout Management” is the key to smart data acquisition and processing which can enhance availability and operational safety and at the same time achieve a sustainable reduction in maintenance costs.
For monitoring the wear of turnouts, a number of condition data are important at the same time, ranging from real-time data about vibration loads to information about the current position of a switch device. Sensors acquire not only purely mechanical variables but also environmental parameters. Vossloh’s modular platform V-MON combines the physical behaviour of the turnout components with the measured variables. This correlation allows installation supervisors to define meaningful maintenance intervals and, in case of any deviations, counteract potential adverse developments at an early stage. The unified architecture using standard protocols permits working with existing modules (turnout, track circuits, etc.) as well as integrating external services via a single interface.
In view of the high relevance, Vossloh is equipping its premium point machines with acceleration and vibration sensors as the first step. Their functioning will be demonstrated at InnoTrans on the example of the integrated electro-hydraulic point machine Easydrive-i for urban transport systems. Thanks to the compact dimensions and simple installation between the tracks, this new generation of point machines is suitable for turnouts of any design and location – a particular advantage for metro lines.
Innovative generation of IoT sensors
Vossloh has developed a new generation of IoT sensors with a unique selling proposition: the preprocessing of the raw data by a microprocessor incorporated in the sensor. The compact sensors can be installed at various places (sleepers, point machines, etc.) and can be configured for various purposes. In return, these sensors can receive data or updates via remote maintenance. This bidirectional communication using frequency bands of the current and future mobile radio standard is completely independent from the control and signal systems for the rail infrastructure.
These sensors also cover their own energy demand because they recharge their battery by energy harvesting, i.e. they use the vibrations of the track components to generate electricity. As a result, no additional wiring is required, which in turn widens the range of locations where they can be installed and hence also the diversity of the measured parameters and application scenarios. Altogether, this makes the system virtually maintenance-free.
Augmented Reality in the track
Vossloh’s new Digital Twin app is designed to serve as a virtual assistant for customer service and track maintenance work. With three Augmented Reality applications, the maintenance of point machines will be demonstrated to the trade audience on the example of the integrated mechano-hydraulic point machine MIM-H for mainline tracks. Working with a virtual replica of the real turnout component, the technicians are guided step by step and in real time through the maintenance process. They have ready access to contextual manufacturing and function data, also including reports on previous inspection types and results. And if necessary, they can directly order required spare parts.
Basis of realistic test series with digital 4D prototypes
Permanently collected condition data offer even more potential: The accumulated information can serve as valuable input in the design phase at the beginning of the life cycle of new turnout components. With the simulation platform DYNADeV – an own development – Vossloh analyses the mechanical behaviour of newly developed components or even entire turnouts under the most diverse conditions. A cyclical coupling process between Multi-Body Simulation and the Finite Element Model makes it possible for the first time to study the force exerted by a rolling wheel on a visualized rail component from all perspectives – long before a real prototype of that component is created. This reduces the need for laboratory and field tests, which are much more expensive. The platform also includes a virtual certification tool which substantially accelerates comprehensive approval procedures.
Press team Vossloh AG
Phone (+49-2392) 52-608
The Smart Rail Track by Vossloh
As specialist and value creating partner for rail infrastructure, Vossloh will be showcasing its products and services at this year’s InnoTrans under the overarching motto “The Smart Rail Track by Vossloh”. New capabilities in the information and communications technologies and the targeted deployment of sensor and IoT technologies open up new avenues towards the objective of the smart track. Also novel materials and optimized designs of the track components are part of the new Vossloh world.