University of Vigo

Automated thickness measurement system for pantograph contact strips

Posted by University of VigoResponsive · Patents for licensing · Spain

Summary of the technology

UVIGO researchers have developed an accurate and reliable system for monitoring the durability of pantograph components preventing manual operator inspection. Based on artificial vision, this system measures the remaining thickness of the graphite layers of the collector strips. Automatic processing of collected data generates a 3D model of the strips, analyzing it to detect cracks and wear, which is crucial for pantograph maintenance.

New and innovative aspects

Currently, the inspection of railway pantograph contact strips is carried out by visual inspection, for which it is necessary to take the maintenance staff up to the roof of the train, previously making sure to cut the power of the electrified catenary. To do so, due to that it is a delicate operation, multiple safety systems are needed. This visual inspection, in addition to the risks inherent to the process, is time consuming, is prone to errors and does not facilitate having detailed information of the profile for performing a reliable predictive maintenance.In addition to the manual inspection, commonly used, there are some semi-automatic systems on the market that help to perform the inspection of railway pantograph contact strips, but none of them provide a real-time, fully automated and high resolution model of the whole contact strip.

Main advantages of its use

In comparison with current procedures:Fully automatic inspection and report generation. More reliable than manual inspection. Reports are generated within seconds on train passing. High resolution and precision analysis allow implementation of predictive maintenance policies. Generation of a historical database, which allows the detection and diagnosis of structural problems.

maintenance.In addition to the manual inspection, commonly used, there are some semi-automatic systems on the market that help to perform the inspection of railway pantograph contact strips, but none of them provide a real-time, fully automated and high resolution model of the whole contact strip.

Specifications

The system comprises an inspection head, to be installed above the catenary, and a control cabinet, at ground level.

  • Low maintenance, fully autonomous operation 24/7
  • Accuracy:
    • Thickness measurement: 0.65 mm
    • Roll measurement: 0.5 degrees
    • Train speed measurement: 0.3 km/h
  • Maximum power consumption: 230 W

Applications

  • The automated thickness measurement system is a great asset for train mainteinance operators, helping them to improve operations safety and reliability, while simultaneouslly reducing the operating costs. This system can be used just for day to day pantograph inspection, but also for monitoring changes on wearing trends, which allows for detection of bad pantograph adjustments or catenary problems on the railway infrastructure.

Related keywords

  • Automation, Robotics Control Systems
  • Maintenance Management System
  • Railway Transport
  • Railway Vehicles
  • Sensor Technology related to measurements
  • Electronic measurement systems
  • Other Communications Related
  • Industrial measurement and sensing equipment
  • Machine vision software and systems
  • Other transportation
  • laser triangulation
  • machine vision
  • railway maintenance
  • pantograph inspection
  • automated visual inspection

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