GB Railfreight (GBRf) has announced a successful four-week test of an innovative new solution for monitoring wheel and brake issues. Developed in collaboration with Icomera, DG8 and SENSEi, this world-first system enables battery-powered sensors to remotely share status and out-of-tolerance alerts with drivers and operational control centres, whilst they perform vehicle pre-checks.
This IoT (Internet of Things) technology can help to create a safer and more efficient rail network by reducing the number of incidents relating to wheel and brake faults. No known method has previously existed for delivering freight wagon brake sensor data to the driver in the locomotive wirelessly, via a closed system. When using the system, train drivers receive sensor data directly to an application on a tablet in their cabin. This allows them to take immediate action to mitigate against potential wheel or brake-related risk factors as well as respond to real-time feedback on the results of their actions.
Following this successful test, the next set of solutions are currently being developed with further trials being scheduled.
David Golding, Asset Director, GB Railfreight, said: “Working with our trusted industry partners, we have proven the concept of a first-of-its-kind application in the rail sector. GBRf is really proud to be leading the freight industry by developing these innovative solutions to reduce incidents relating to wheel and brake issues.”
Peter Kingsland, SVP, Icomera UK, said: “Rail freight operators are rightly paving the way for digitally driven solutions to mitigate risks as the freight industry grows. Connecting drivers and the engineering teams that support them to real-time trainborne sensor data is a natural step towards a safer and more efficient rail network for all users.”
Damon Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, SENSEi Networks Limited, said: “The utilisation of low-power sensors, long range, wireless networking and edge intelligence is enabling long sought ambitions for autonomous monitoring and real-time alerting to be realised in the freight rail sector, fulfilling the potential for significant improvements to operational efficiency, cost and safety.”