How specific railway sensors automatically capture conditions and detect failures

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Sensor-based IoT solutions for DB

Article: How specific railway sensors automatically capture conditions and detect failures

Smart IoT solutions automatically monitor the condition of railway equipment. Avoid malfunctions and failures with predictive servicing and condition-based maintenance.

Hundreds of Deutsche Bahn signal boxes and maintenance depots are equipped with large amounts of switchgear and machinery that are indispensable in making the railway run smoothly. However, our maintenance partners in the Group cannot be everywhere at the same time. Special sensors, on the other hand, can keep a permanent eye – and ear – on equipment. This enables changes to be detected at an early stage and, ideally, measures to be taken before failures and malfunctions occur.

"There are numerous use cases for smart IoT solutions at Deutsche Bahn. One of these is the 'Environmental sensor in signal boxes' project, in which the visualisation of measured values from the environmental sensor has now created a variety of analysis options that help in measuring the success of tried and tested dust-reduction measures, for example."

Patricia Ritting-Schneider, graduate in Business Administration (university of applied sciences) / Technology Strategy Specialist, DB InfraGO AG

Profile picture Patricia Ritting-Schneider

Connected sensor technology for digital maintenance

Non-connected circuits, machines and buildings become remotely visible and monitorable. Automatic monitoring of conditions, such as environmental conditions for example, identifies incidents and enables conclusions to be drawn to prevent them from happening again. The IoT sensor technology features freedom from interference and is designed as a versatile modular system, thus making an important contribution to the Group's "Digital Rail for Germany" strategy and the "Fleet and depot expansion building block". The Diagnostics team is currently testing several use cases together with partners in the DB Group, and the environmental sensors can already be ordered as a solution in DB's internal Digitalportal for Group partners.

Practical use cases for diagnostics:

Recording and analysing relay switching cycles

Mechanical relays and contacts are subject to wear and can fail without warning. Relay movements are recorded using camera monitoring and can be analysed by technicians in order to trace the causes of complex faults. Environmental sensors for monitoring temperature, humidity and particle concentrations help to create ideal climatic conditions for the sustainable operation of relay groups and to enable early action in the event of any anomalies. 

Detecting rockfall

Descents on rocky slopes can sometimes be risky. Larger rockfalls can cause damage, whereby smaller ones are hardly noticeable. Rockfall protection netting therefore has to be checked by personnel on a regular basis. Monitoring by acceleration sensors in the network automatically records the frequency and intensity of rockfall. In this way, the Group's local partners can utilise their time in a more targeted manner.

Observing environmental conditions

Technical equipment can wear out more quickly and produce more frequent malfunctions under critical environmental influences. Sensors specifically designed to meet railway requirements enable permanent monitoring of ambient temperature, particle load or humidity. This allows conclusions to be drawn when defects occur and targeted preventive action to be taken. The sensors then record whether the measures were successful.

Digitise your maintenance

Make your installations and equipment measurable. Do you have any questions about current pilot projects or are you interested in interference-free sensor solutions from Diagnostics?

If so, we look forward to hearing from you.