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Embedded system eases rail maintenance

Posted: 16 Nov 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:railways  processors  monitoring  maintenance 

The increase in the number or passengers taking public rail transport calls for faster train speeds and shorter stop intervals, and consequently subjects the railways to extreme mechanical stress. Defects, which can lessen the comfort of passengers or cause accidents, unavoidably start appearing.

This paper presents a systematic solution that aims to address these defects using advanced monitoring and maintenance control. It describes an embedded system utilising Blackfin processors and LabVIEW software to secure measurement and field data to be stored for immediate action. As a backgrounder, some basic rail parameters are explained. Then it gives a detailed description of how the system measures these parameters, locates defects using GPS data and GIS, and fixes physical damage by supporting grind units with embedded control architecture. The result is longer operation times between changing rails, ensuring higher efficiency and lower costs for development and maintenance of public rail transport.

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