Perth engineering company, Lynxrail will be installing its Automated Train Examiner (ATEx) technology on the new Roy Hill rail line.
The ATEx technology combines advanced optics, electronics and machine vision algorithms to assess the condition of key rolling stock components while the trains are in service.
Lynxrail CEO, Kris Kilia,n explained that work on the technology began in the 1990s with an idea to extend the life of aging ore car fleets being used in the Pilbara at the time.
Roy Hill will be using Lynxrail’s wheel profile monitor, brake shoe monitor and the hunting and tracking monitor in addition to an acoustic bearing monitor (RailBam) from Adelaide Company TrackIQ to detect faulty wheel bearings.
The optics is mounted at sleeper level and on small towers adjacent to the track.
High precision measurements of rolling stock wheels are taken to assess their spacing and speed, and to survey their dynamic behaviour.
The system simultaneously synchronises the cameras and strobes to develop the optimal triggering strategy for obtaining pictures of the components at normal operational speeds.
Three high definition images of each wheel are captured at different angles, as well as two images of the brake shoe.
These images are processed on site and arranged in a database according to the vehicle number and train by using Automatic Equipment Identification (AEI) technology.
Sophisticated machine vision algorithms measure key parameters such as flange thickness and brake shoe thickness. This information is stored in a database available for viewing on a web-based viewer, and any critical components that are deemed to be unsafe are reported immediately via email to Roy Hill.
Roy Hill’s Manager – Rolling Stock Maintenance, Bruce Brymer said it was critical to keep maintenance costs down and extend ore car wheel life. With wheels representing one of the biggest expenses in a railway, Roy Hill is beginning work on a new initiative to maximise the life of their wheelsets.
The ATEx and the RailBam will complement Roy Hill’s wheel impact load detectors and hot bearing detectors and provide continuous condition monitoring data for these key areas.
This data will allow Roy Hill to confirm that bogie performance is meeting design expectations and wheel wear is within the target range to achieve the predicted wheel life for the railway.