Remote condition monitoring (RCM) is, according to The Enabling Innovation Team (EIT), widely used on both trains and rail infrastructure, for example through Network Rail's Intelligent Infrastructure Programme, and is regarded by the organisation as a necessity with the network under pressure to carry more passengers and freight.
However, as part of its Future Railway portfolio of activities to accelerate innovation, EIT are to highlight railway performance challenges that do not yet have RCM solutions - and with Network Rail and South West Trains Wessex Alliance are to offer incentives totalling up to £3 million for demonstrator solutions.
Read the press release.
Condition monitoring is the process of monitoring a parameter of condition in machinery (vibration, temperature etc), in order to identify a significant change which is indicative of a developing fault. It is a major component of predictive maintenance.
Funding on offer to address ten specific challenges for remote condition monitoring technology demonstrators
EIT yesterday announced in a blog post a forthcoming RCM competition targeting ten such unsolved challenges that do not yet have RCM solutions. It also aims to offer innovators the opportunity to prove their solutions on the operational railway.
Along with Network Rail and South West Trains Wessex Alliance the competition will provide 90% funding for remote condition monitoring technology demonstrators, with up to £3 million funding to be awarded overall in the competition.
The competition - due to be launched on Friday 18 October - will cover the following ten specific challenges for remote condition monitoring technology demonstrators, previously identified through a series of industry workshops:
How to further reduce operational incidents by (near real time) analysis of existing data sets leading to predictive trend analysis;
How to yield RCM alerts and alarms which are relevant, help ensure the right operational response happens in real time, and to use the data for predictive purposes to optimise safety and performance;
How to detect and prevent potential safety risks using 24/7 High Definition visibility of the network;
How to detect early the likelihood of flooding in risk areas with information provided in a timely fashion;
How to secure the railway boundaries and monitor access gates;
How to detect voids in the track at an early stage to prevent asset failures and to be able to identify the speed at which the asset is deteriorating from the impact loading of trains, particularly at critical, high risk junctions
How to achieve a validated system that monitors crack propagation in rail crossings;
How to prevent trains running across track which is rendered unusable by movement of earthworks such as cuttings and embankments;
How to achieve improvements in track circuit reliability
How to achieve improvements in signalling power supply reliability.
The competition will be launched on Friday 18 October. For enquiries about the competition please emailRCM@futurerailway.org or tweet @EITRail. Keep an eye on the EIT website for further information.
The Enabling Innovation Team was established to accelerate innovation in the GB railway. It focuses on moving business solutions and technologies from prototype through to demonstration and eventual implementation.