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New Strategies For The Maintenance Of Scharfenberg Couplings

posted on 1st Dec 2021 08:38

In a project initially scheduled to run for three years, Voith and Siemens Mobility want to develop new and more efficient strategies for overhauling automatic Scharfenberg couplings. This should extend maintenance cycles, leading to cost reductions for rail operators.

As part of the cooperation, Voith is developing an algorithm that enables forecasts on the condition of automatic couplers. These should lead to longer maintenance intervals for the couplers. The predictions for this are made with the help of the new OnCare.Health Schaku app from Voith, which will be integrated into the Railigent Application Suite from Siemens Mobility. 

Railigent brings together all relevant data on the status of a rail system in an open ecosystem. By intelligently analysing the data, the application suite creates significant added value and generates recommendations for action with the aim of optimising rail operations from individual system components to the entire rail infrastructure. 

During the first phase of the project, which will last three years, the Siemens Mobility service teams will first collect relevant data on the condition of the Scharfenberg coupling. A total of 84 Desiro HC EMUs of the Rhein-Ruhr-Express serve as the data pool. Siemens Mobility has been commissioned to carry out maintenance for the vehicles. 

Each train is equipped with two Scharfenberg couplings. During its annual inspections, the Siemens Mobility Services team measures key data of the couplings, such as coupling slack or protrusion, and also records their condition as an image. In addition, any maintenance measures taken and numerous other vehicle data, such as the number of couplings and temperature, are included in the data pool, which will be transmitted via Railigent and which is evaluated at Voith. "We have never had the opportunity to evaluate so much detailed operating data and physical measurements of our couplings," emphasizes Dr. Matheus Habets, Vice President Product Management Digitalization Mobility at Voith Turbo.

Based on the data, the Voith team, consisting of analysts, service experts and development engineers, creates predictions about the wear of the couplings. Already during this first phase of the project, maintenance intervals are to be extended in such a way that one overhaul of the coupler can be saved during the entire service life of the vehicle.

The goal of the second project phase is to derive an algorithm from the available information. This will then form the basis for the OnCare.Health Schaku app designed by Voith that will be integrated into Railigent. Once both phases have been completed, the findings will be continuously validated to enable even more accurate forecasts in the long term and to develop further improvements to Voith and Siemens Mobility products and services. The project is then scheduled to run until 2031.

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