Published Thu 25th May 2023
Remote conditional monitoring (RCM) has become an essential tool to ensure proper maintenance and safety of railway infrastructure. Trackbed is an especially critical component of railway infrastructure and RCM technology has been proven to be a cost-effective and efficient way to identify early warning signs of failure, prevent downtime, and improve overall railway performance.
RCM for trackbed involves the use of intelligent MEMS based wireless sensors to detect small movements and identify deviations from normal trackbed behaviour movement. These small sensors are typically installed on the railway sleepers (ties), and they continuously measure various parameters such as cant, twist, settlement, slew and temperature. Sensors can typically last a decade with minimal maintenance.
One of the key benefits of RCM on trackbed is the ability to identify potential issues before they become significant problems. The wireless sensors continuously monitor trackbed behaviour, and any anomalies or deviations from the norm are immediately sent via SMS and email messages to stakeholders, so problems can be quickly identified and addressed with minimal disruption to rail traffic. This helps to reduce maintenance costs, prevent unplanned downtime, and improve overall railway safety.
Another advantage of RCM on trackbed is the ability to see near real-time data remotely and minimises the need for site visits. The data collected by the sensors is transmitted to a gateway, and onto a web-based data visualisation platform, or third-party platforms, where the data can be analysed and visualised in real-time. This enables railway owners, engineers and surveyors to quickly identify trends and patterns, and make informed decisions based on the data.
The use of RCM on trackbed also helps to improve asset management and extend the lifespan of railway infrastructure. By detecting and addressing issues at an early stage, railway asset owners and engineers are able to implement proactive maintenance strategies and avoid costly repairs or replacements.
In conclusion, remote conditional monitoring on trackbed is a valuable tool for those responsible for railway assets seeking to improve the safety and efficiency of their infrastructure. By leveraging these advanced wireless sensors and the associated data, RCM can help identify potential issues before they become significant problems, reduce maintenance costs, and extend the lifespan of railway infrastructure. Ultimately, this helps to ensure the safe and reliable operation of rail networks, benefitting both operators and passengers alike.