The maintenance of rail infrastructure – like sleepers, points, rails as well as the wheels and carriages of the moving stock – constitutes a complex, labour intensive and costly task. Deutsche Bahn AG as an example spends more than 4 Billion Euro per year (2013) for maintenance (source: www.deutschebahn.com).
In addition, these efforts are safety relevant and have a high public exposure. Because of that cost reductions are only possible after careful considerations of all factors. One appropriate way to optimise the maintenance is to enhance the planning and timely execution of repair activities. The approach is based on the principle that a continuous monitoring of the infrastructure is conducted – using objective measurements and criteria. Derived from this data collection it is possible to establish the required maintenance activities. In addition the activities can be conducted in such a timely manner that mayor damages and thereby cost can be avoided.
Witt IndustrieElektronik has developed a range of products – in cooperation with Deutsche Bahn and the Berlin Public Transport System – measuring electronically components of the rail infrastructure. This results in a massively increased measurement accuracy and speedcompared with conventional measurement methods. The outcome of these measurements can be used to optimise the maintenance of the rail infrastructure by giving sound indications which parts of the infrastructure have to be replaced or overhauled. All systems have been tested and put into operation and have proven their efficiency and reliability.
A further advantage is that for the monitoring and measurements it is not necessary to interrupt the regular operation – for example to pull trains out of the schedule to measure the wheelsets.