It seems Netherlands will be the first country to use IoT sensors in their rail networks. ProRail, the governmental rail maintenance company, will be installing more than 2000 smart sensors to monitor the assets of the rail network. Amongst all 1500 sensors will be integrated on the point with point heating, while more than 500 sensors will be used to monitor other elements such as catenaries and barriers.
Each sensor will be used to determine different element of a rain including temperature changes. A low temperature in winter may indicate that there is something wrong with the ‘point heating’. In the summer, the sensors can be used to determine the change in thickness of the wheels during summer. This data will ensure the smooth operation of the railways regardless of the season.
According to Johan Schapp, executive manager of Pro Rails, “We want to gain experience with the application of new technology such as sensors, the sensors will be available for the four maintenance contractors that are active in the performance oriented contract areas in the Netherlands. They will be able to use the available data in their daily operations.”
On the other side, Siemens is capitalizing its capitalizing its IoT expertise in Spain. The company integrated about 1800 sensors in a rail running from Barcelona to Madrid. The rail operated for over 2000 times in the period of the year and was delayed only once, which was less than seven minutes. According to the company, with their smart sensors they can “see” and “hear” what is happening on the tracks. Infrared sensors can detect when the tracks are hot, while the audio sensors pick up the screeching sound of wheels and indicate that are in the state of repair.
“After a while, they began to use predictive analytics to predict when this machine needed repair so it can be pulled off the line at their convenience,” explained Daniel Graham, director of technical marketing at Teradata.
The end results of Siemens were overwhelming! The derailment cases were reduced by 81%, which mitigated injuries and reduced operational costs.
Netherlands also has seen a huge reduction in derailments, which has grabbed the attention of Dual Inventive in the UK. Soon the company will be implementing IoT technology in the UK’s railways.