Product Expertise: Battery Operated Track Inspection Vehicle – For Green railways

Mr. R PRAHALAD,Vice President, Maini Group

Maini Group of companies is the forerunner in the field of harnessing electric technology for automotive & industrial applications over three decades. The Maini Group’s pioneering initiative – India’s first mass produced green electric car “Reva” was launched two decades ago in 2001. Maini Materials Movement Pvt Ltd (MMM) is the first Indian company to introduce in-plant battery – operated Material Handling Equipment and battery-operated Buggies for in campus passenger movements in India.

Over the last two years, the Railways & Metros has embarked on a mission “Green Railways” by 2030. This has led to several initiatives by the stakeholders in the eco-system as they strive to adapt to green technology. At the Maini Group, we are proud to be a part of the green initiative of the Railways.

The “battery-operated Track Inspection Vehicle” is an innovative alternative for the existing manual push trolleys and diesel-powered versions. The vehicle was designed after in-depth study conducted with the users of both the Railways & Metros identified the challenges faced in the present system, as well as the requirements needed to support the current and future models.

Unique features:

The vehicle can seat seven passengers along with the required measuring gauges. The operator’s console is compact, ergonomically positioned and its swivel type function provides utmost safety. The front console has an emergency switch besides several other controls for operations. The acceleration and braking system are based on scooter-type architecture and requires very little training in its operations.

The operator’s seat is “swivel type”. To change the direction of the drive, only the position of the seat needs to be changed and not the entire vehicle. Brake pedals have been provided on both sides for best functionality of this feature. The TIV is fitted with night driving capability with added safety features like beacon etc.

With customized lithium batteries we can support with extended ranges of more than 250 kms. This caters to sectional inspection (which is generally around 100 kms in each direction). The required charging time is four hours. There is no performance degradation (like reduction in speed due to low battery etc.) as opposed to lead acid batteries.

The IOT- based tracking technology provides for a host of alerts through SMS and e-mails. This includes both operational and maintenance alerts apart from historical data. The inspection log sheets can be generated real time.

The use of TIV significantly reduces the operating costs by about 75%. With very few moving parts in an electric power train, the maintenance costs are negligible.

Mitigating the Gaps:

With diesel engines, inspection inside the metro tunnels gets foggy owing to the fumes thereby reducing night visibility which is also an OHSAS issue. With these battery-operated engines, smoke is taken out of the equation rendering effective inspection inside the tunnels.

Changes in track noise while using the TIV is one of the key parameters to identify any probable defects in the track. Currently, this is not possible as the diesel engine noise is overpowering. On the other hand, the electric vehicle is silent which is a boon is for the inspectors.
The foldable windshield provides superior flexibility for optimum visibility and as well as protection from the weather elements.

After Sales Support:

Backed by 45 years of service, our well-established and pan-India after-sales and service network provides for hassle-free support. Our objective is to ensure lifecycle cost of the vehicle is reduced by at least 40 per cent compared to the current machines.

The Next Evolution:

The TIV has been readily adopted by the Railways & Metros as there is high operational efficiency in comparison to the present diesel machines. We are also in the process of adapting future technologies like Artificial Intelligence, real-time data transfer of measurements with time & location stamps etc.

The product is in line with the Government’s “Atmanirbhar” policy of self- reliance. The Maini Group’s foray into the Railways & Metros sector through this product is only the first of several such innovations for this sector.

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