Table of Contents
The rail system of today faces multiple challenges surrounding enhanced quality of services, optimized solutions, passenger satisfaction, and fleet availability. However, with diagnostic systems gaining more traction across industries, rail manufacturers and operators will gradually start leveraging such tools to unbundle the complexities witnessed in the industry. Incorporating fundamental changes in the rail transportation sector involves a high degree of complexity because (a) the industry is very conservative to adopt newer processes and methods; and (b) inability of fleet operators to maximize fleet availability while sustaining passenger satisfaction and safety. The integration of real-time diagnostics will create a whole set of benefits never witnessed before in this industry. Given that the core focus will be to deliver optimized maintenance of assets related to train and infrastructure, remote diagnostics will help integrate interactions between locomotives, service depot, strategic assets, and IT support based services. Such a structured digitized workflow will facilitate a high degree of optimization and end-to-end decision making that will deliver tremendous value to end users.
With a change in mindset towards more innovative solutions, the industry is trending towards a more efficient, cost-effective, and performance-oriented railway system. The emphasis is on increasing the availability of strategic assets – train, wayside equipment, and infrastructure. Most importantly, remote diagnostics is fueling this change, and it is fair to say that the growth of the remote diagnostics market is correlated to the expected improvement in infrastructure in the rail sector. In that sense, remote diagnostics can be primarily classified into the following segments that are based on critical application:
-Critical component monitoring systems: Key critical components such as wheelsets, axle brakes, and pantographs are monitored real time with the help of remote diagnostics. Condition-based monitoring provides a comprehensive capability of identifying and reporting on areas pertaining to specific defects and wear detection. It automates maintenance planning for each vehicle. A combination of both shore-based software and interfaces to trackside devices and hand-held measuring devices ensures a comprehensive view of a component’s condition across an entire fleet. This ability to proactively analyze and detect anomalies with particular component behavior ensures lesser downtime and an improved overall fleet availability.
-Vehicle real-time remote diagnostic system: In real time, the data collected from the train provides a holistic view of the overall fleet. It identifies and analyzes specific faults and potential component faults that may arise in the near term. This ensures preparedness by identifying the health and status of both the individual components and the possible impact it may have on the vehicle and to the overall fleet.
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