Latest Rail News

02.06.17

RSSB moves forward on robotic rolling stock maintenance innovations

Four new robotic technologies to maintain and inspect rolling stock are ready to be taken forward and developed for the rail industry, the RSSB has announced.

The projects, which are all part of an RSSB funded programme of work, seek to find ways to improve problems including capacity, passenger safety and also look to reduce the time and cost of rolling stock maintenance.

The technologies include an innovation being developed by Brunel which automatically services passenger train fluids.

“The quality of fluid servicing will improve as a monitored automated system can deliver a reduction in out-of-service trains due to missed top-ups,” the RSSB stated. “The increase in servicing capacity helps ensure that the overall capacity on the network is maintained, helping to improve the efficiency of train operating companies and reduce operating costs.”

And another innovation being developed is a robot that cleans the front of the train cab between Cranfield University and Heriot-Watt University. Though the side of rolling stock can be cleaned using rollers, the complicated shape of the front of the train and the delicate details mean that the front must be cleaned by hand.

“This project designed and constructed a prototype which is low-cost, robust and easy to use that washes the cab front nose and body end panels between carriages,” the RSSB’s statement said. “The cleaning head is mounted on a robot wrist with an orthogonal base and designed so the cleaning head applies a constant force as it moves across the surface of the front cab.”

The final two technologies include a non-destructive testing technique for railway wheelsets that uses infra-red and electro-magnetic sensors to create a high definition picture of cracks and damage not seen by the naked eye on wheelsets. The next stage requires the development and testing of an industrial grade prototype followed by a pre-commercial prototype to be deployed on a test site.

And the University of Birmingham is also working on using autonomous systems for wheelset reworking to reduce the whole-life maintenance costs of trains by reducing the time required to perform inspection and maintenance activities.  The next phase of research will focus on the development of emerging wheelset inspection technologies.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here  

Comments

Bill   04/06/2017 at 13:22

Interesting to see our favourite Andrew has not commented on this.

Simon Dalby   06/06/2017 at 12:45

Why will it only clean the front of the train cab between "Cranfield University and Heriot-Watt University". Is it very mucky there?

Add your comment

 

related

Rail industry Focus

View all News

Comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

Most Read

'the sleepers' blog

Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

14/11/2019Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

Rail Technology Magazine’s Matt Roberts explains the significant role data can play within the future development of the rail industry. Standing as a cornerstone of the UK transport network, the rail industry is forever striving to in... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

Interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >