HANNOVER MESSE 2019, 01 - 05 April
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Predictive Maintenance

Railway industry digitizing turnouts and workshops

Düsseldorfer Rheinbahn and Knorr-Bremse have arranged a pilot project on predictive maintenance. In the meantime, Voestalpine is working to digitize rail management.

07 Feb. 2018
David Schahinian
Foto: Rheinbahn AG
Foto: Rheinbahn AG

The trams in Düsseldorf are being upgraded – at least five eight-axle trains that have been in operation since 2016 for now. In the future, they will provide workshops with data by radio to optimize operations and streamline planning. According to project partners, this information will enable solid assessments related to the maintenance, repair or exchange of components, making processes more flexible overall. And it's not just that damage can be detected before it actually occurs. Technicians can also delay regularly planned component replacements should the data provide consistent evidence.

Voestalpine also wants to put things on the right track for the future, which in this case can be taken literally. In the Company Blog , the company presents the i-switch – its "intelligent turnout". To date, the component is considered the most frequent cause for errors in the railroad network. Its increasing use is making repairs and maintenance work a challenge. The i-switches feature on-board technology to solve these problems: Sensors, chips and algorithms provide predictions on expected wear or possible defects. According to Voestalpine, Deutsche Bahn aims to equip around 30,000 turnouts in its network with sensors by 2020.