posted on 11th Jul 2022 16:29
In late June 2022, Hitachi Rail announced that it is installing its cutting-edge live monitoring solution across Great Western Railway’s high-speed fleet of 93 intercity trains. This technology will boost fleet availability by over 100 days per year.
This will be the first time Hitachi’s ‘Perpetuum Onboard’ wireless technology will monitor the full-suite of wheelset and bogies on high-speed passenger trains. Wireless sensors are being attached to live monitor the entire wheelsets and bogies, allowing real-time data of gearboxes, traction motors, bearings and wheels. This will deliver significant benefits to train operators, including boosted train availability, improved safety, and reduced maintenance costs.
At present, bogie overhaul accounts for about a third of maintenance costs, with trains requiring an average of seven days to carry out manual inspection or component replacement in a depot.
Digital monitoring of bogies and wheelsets can replace periodic inspections, reducing bogie overhaul downtime by up to 50 %. On the GWR fleet of 93 trains, this will deliver over 100 extra days of train availability every year. Across the lifetime of the fleet, this will deliver in excess of 3,100 days of train availability. This ensures trains spend more time carrying passengers, and less time in the depot.
Real time monitoring enables immediate and precise identification of parts that require either inspection or maintenance. Crucially, this work takes place before it can affect passenger service. All of this further reduces the time a train spends in a depot and increases its time on the tracks.
The ability to pinpoint faults further reduces the time required by maintenance staff the conduct their work. The additional workforce days and hours gained are re-allocated to other maintenance tasks, maximising the skills at our Hitachi depots. The digital monitoring technology has been installed on some initial GWR units, with rollout across the rest of the fleet taking place over the coming year.
The monitoring sensors also have the additional capability of monitoring the condition of the track and train axles. The future application of these wireless monitors’ means there are future-proofed to deliver even greater value for money, and digitally integrate track and train together.