Product Expertise: Mastering the art of predictive maintenance


Mr. Dhruv Mohan,
RT Vision Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

Railways are the backbone of Indian transportation handling both passengers and goods. Quick and precise inline predictive early-stage fault detection is important for the safety of goods and passengers. Moreover, optimum utilization of maintenance manpower and rolling stocks can be achieved by using inline predictive early-stage fault detection for reliable and precise physical inspection thus reducing the turnaround time and high operational as well as maintenance cost.

Automated advanced AI algorithms based predictive maintenance enhances reliability and safety by qualitatively and quantitatively analysing the historical data to predict the fault occurrence probabilities to reduce the maintenance frequency and prevents unplanned reactive maintenance, thus maintaining global shift from high cost periodic maintenance to predictive need based maintenance.

Under make in India initiative we are focusing on automated in line inspection both for tracks and rolling stock for the Indian railways. We have developed the base platform for AI algorithms based predictive maintenance using machine vision concept for below said advanced suite of products:

Wheel profile measurement system: This system automatically accurately inline measures and analyses the profile of a wheel of rolling stock while in motion. This helps in identifying in advance wear and tear of the wheel and timely turning of faulty wheel thus increases operational wheel life. The System has already been developed and undergoing field trials in Indian multi rolling stock environment.

Brake shoe and brake disc inspection: This system employs 3D laser-based triangulation to assess brake shoe and brake disc health while in motion and measures the residual life improving safety and reliability of the brake systems.

Wheel surface inspection: While the wheel profile measurement system detects faults in the profile of the wheel, the wheel surface inspection system is designed to detect surface defects like rust, chipping, pitting and flats while in motion. Thus, early detection can be used to increase wheel life improving the wheel to rail interaction and enhancing life output of both rails and wheels.

Track inspection: The track inspection system uses 2 geo tagged 3D laser triangulators to access any profile deformations in the track and displays them on a G.I.S synchronized map. Thus, improved availability of in range rail profile of fixed rail assets shall result better rail and wheel interaction reducing wear and tear of rolling stock wheels enhancing safety as well as availability and reducing frequency of wheel replacements.

We propose a comprehensive suite of products that encapsulate all domains of inspection and fault detection for rolling stock and tracks with all the data collected on a centralized cloud-based platform. The collating data on a centralized cloud results in better analysis using AI algorithm on the multi-dimensional historical data using various comparators and sophisticated prediction tools to assess the overall health of a respective rolling stock or track region and real time easy distribution and access to authorized entities across Indian Using advanced prediction software and trained tools the life cycle of the railway assets and its inspection can be highly optimized resulting in automated generation of maintenance schedules.

Our wheel profile measurement system using machine vision concept does measurement, assessment and detection of profile faults of the wheel. The wheel profile measurement system consists of an array of sensors that detect the availability of train, the train direction and the speed of the train. Once a train is detected, the shutters of wheel profile measurement system automatically open and the air purge system is activated to dissipate any external particles.

The trigger sensors detect as well as count the individual axles and also activates the wheel profile measurement system consisting of robust and redundant 8 cameras and 16 laser profilometers. The wheel profile measurement system scans all the wheels passing through it and captures the high-resolution images of all the wheels which further are processed to generate detailed profiles for each wheel.

The custom laser profilometers and cameras are housed in an IP rated enclosure which protects them from debris, dust, and rain. Each profilometer has an operational temperature from -10°c to 85°c.The enclosures are equipped with shutters for additional protection.

Wheel Profile Measurement System installed at Ghaziabad

When the shutters are disengaged the air purge system using 8 centrifugal fans forces air through the system which prevents debris from falling in and cleans the profilometers.

The captured data is processed onsite using dual industrial controllers ensuring rapid analysis of wheel profiles, generation of reports, and fault alarms, this ensures that the system is robust and has built-in redundancy. The wheel measurement system is further connected using LTE/4G or fiber to our cloud server which stores and displays the analysed data of a comprehensive profile for each wheel.

Each profile is generated using 2000 points of a wheel which allow us to measure several health markers such as Flange height, flange thickness, flange slope, root wear, rim thickness, wheel width, and wheel diameter with an accuracy of 0.5mm at 40kmph.

A well-defined and verified alarm generation software has been developed that keeps on monitoring the threshold limits of all the parameters, raises an alarm immediately if the specified threshold limit of a particular wheel is approaching or exceeded. Alarms are sent through multi medium like audio/visual, SMS, notification email etc. to effectively ensure that an unwanted hazard can be prevented.

Our problem statement of automated inspection in a challenging environment such as the Indian Railway network is certainly not trivial and tackling this immense task requires innovation and unique solutions to multiple problems.

To overcome them we have developed certain core technologies in house such as millimeter accurate camera trigger systems. compact and space saving IP67/68 enclosures for cameras and lasers and air purging systems using centrifugal fans for dust and debris protection.

Our fundamental innovations also include flexible laser profilometers that generate a dense cloud of points with an accuracy of 80 microns at a distance of 300 mm.

Our microsecond AI circumvents the common problem faced by all convolutional neural networks of prohibitively expensive computational cost and works on a CPU and gives inferences in tens of microseconds. We have designed a unique architecture for wayside system robustness and load sharing, ensuring our products have maximum uptime. We have pursued innovations in camera calibration and 3D point cloud merging by developing a method of simultaneous calibration of multiple overlapping and non-overlapping cameras with high accuracy and stitching of multiple point clouds using unique fiducials and an overhauled ICP algorithm. These innovations and more has helped us to move forward towards our goal to pursue product excellence in reliability availability and maintenance.

We firmly believe in the Make in India initiative and in comparison, to other foreign companies operating in a similar product domain who buy and assemble off the shelf products, we have developed and manufactured up to complete the minutia inhouse from scratch. Our wheel profile measurement system except the camera uses all other components like from laser optics, system enclosures, analysis software developed in house. All these combined highlights the uniqueness of our products, design and development approach in providing a more accurate and competitive products.

Further work has already started on our second endeavour i.e Brake Shoe and Brake Disc inspection system. Our expertise in 3D inspection and artificial intelligence lets us undertake diverse problems in the fields of compliance, automation, and predictive analysis currently in the field of Railway domain.

Our company set out with a goal of making high quality products designed to be competitive in the Indian/ International market. We have been able to keep up with our commitment under make in India initiative & deliver state of the art indigenously developed wheel profile measurement system.

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Product Expertise Source: RT Vision technologies Pvt. Ltd | This Product Expertise is a part of our Latest Magazine: Subscribe to our Magazine Today!

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