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InnoTrans 2022 (11)


posted on 5th Oct 2022 13:31


At InnoTrans 2022, ZF and Schunk announced their intention to cooperate on condition monitoring for power transmission systems. The objective is to provide digital condition monitoring of infrastructure and vehicle technology. Schunk will provide the pantograph hardware and expertise with OnTrack. ZF is to supply a user-friendly data visualization dashboard that is part of the connect@rail digital condition monitoring system. 

Around 90 % of German train traffic is electrically powered - making the safety and reliability of this element of the rail infrastructure significantly important. For both companies, the cooperation is a major step in establishing a comprehensive technology eco system for the rail industry and, in turn, advancing digitalization for rail applications.

Just under 61 %, or around 23,500 km of the German rail network, are electrified; approximately 90 % of rail traffic is powered by electricity. These figures illustrate that the contact lines and the pantographs mounted on the vehicle must function perfectly. With that in mind, Schunk has developed OnTrack Monitoring - a condition monitoring system that can be retrofitted to pantographs and that is now being complemented by the combination with ZF's connect@rail platform. At InnoTrans 2022 in Berlin, the companies declared their intention to cooperate by signing a MoU.

Connect@rail and OnTrack: Condition monitoring for power applications

OnTrack measures the dynamic interaction between the overhead line and the pantograph. Here, sensors are mounted on the collector head and the base frame of the pantograph. These sensors continuously record data on the condition of the sliding strips, contact force and the „zigzag“ geometry. They also detect possible interference points (hard spots) on the overhead line. These measured values are collected during regular vehicle operation and sent to the cloud for evaluation.

Collecting and analyzing this data is only one part of the calculation though. For this information to be incorporated into specific maintenance plans, it must also be processed in a user-friendly manner. And this is where ZF comes in: Thanks to the extensive expertise in networking and data visualization integrated into connect@rail, users can identify potential faults on the customer-specific dashboard and make the right decisions for predictive maintenance. In this way, the two companies help avoid train delays and cancellations, minimize downtime and maintain the timetable.

The cooperation is another important step in ZF's strategy of establishing a comprehensive technology ecosystem for the rail sector - for reliable, safe, and clean rail mobility.

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