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Sensors make the railway more reliable

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Unnecessary stoppages must be eliminated and the number of interruptions reduced. A holistic approach to Europe's railway logistics has been taken to increase attractiveness, where connected freight carriages and locomotives are part of the solution. 'With sensors installed on trains, information about wear and operational problems can be collected effectively so that expensive emergency measures can be avoided,' says Jan Bergstrand of the Swedish Transport Administration.

Together with several companies, train operators and research institutions in Europe, the Swedish Transport Administration will develop and implement new advanced technology that can make the railway more competitive.
'Freight transport must be moved from the road to the railway, which is not exactly easy when standards and regulations differ from country to country. By collaborating, we are jointly driving innovation. Sweden is a key player in the work to modernise railway transport in Europe,' says Jan Bergstrand of the Swedish Transport Administration.

Sensitive components

Intelligent freight trains with sensors installed on the carriages are an example of solutions that are developed within the FR8HUB logistics project, which is part of the railway research program Shift2Rail. The project's preliminary results were recently presented at the 'Innovation in Freight Conference' in Munich.

'We are taking a great leap forward and are more than halfway finished with our development. We are studying sensitive components and analysing large quantities of data. It gives us important information about the train's status and the carriage's position in real time, which entails major logistical advantages. We hope for a major breakthrough for the technology in Europe.

Reliable and safe freight transport

The goal of the sensor technology is to create logistical value in the customer distribution chain, to discover problems in good time and to enable predictive maintenance - to correct errors before they cause accidents, stops and create other costs. It means more reliable freight transport and more efficient maintenance work.

'Accidents and delays caused by the vehicle must be reduced. Locomotives and carriages must not stand still unnecessarily and faults must be eliminated immediately when the train requires it. Reliance on scheduled maintenance based on distance travelled must be replaced by more proactive methods with the possibilities of digitalisation,'  Jan Bergstrand continues.