Sécheron of Switzerland and SKF are developing a new bogie monitoring system for railway cars. Due to be launched this year, the system continuously monitors, interprets and records key data relating to train safety and running conditions. This includes bearing conditions, wheel conditions, bogie stability and derailment detection. The benefits with the system are increased safety and reliability, as well as lower life-cycle costs.
Using an integrated multifunction bearing sensor, an SKF axlebox bearing unit captures speed, temperature and vibration data to monitor bearing and wheel conditions.
“In the past we’ve been able to monitor speed and temperature,” says John Skiller, SKF railway projects manager. “This new sensor can also send a vibration signal to an on-board data processor. Sécheron’s recording system uses this information to build a history of component condition and warn of an impending bearing, wheel problem or derailment condition.”
A data acquisition unit from Sécheron handles the analysis and communications with the train’s control system. This fully integrated approach will help improve train safety while decreasing maintenance costs.
Sensorised bearing units are becoming a standard component in modern railway vehicles. Most vehicles designed for higher speeds are equipped with a wheel slide protection system to help prevent skidding and locking during braking. SKF’s integrated speed sensors deliver a suitable input signal for these systems, which in principle work like automatic braking systems (ABS) in cars. They are also used by the automatic train control (ATC) equipment on various rolling stock, and are approved by the Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer (UIC).
The development of the bogie monitoring system has included extensive in-service field tests on Swiss passenger trains and on the high-speed ICE test train in Germany.