RailTech Europe live blog day 3: Smart Infrastructure

In this blog of RailTech Europe Day 3, you can read updates from the three stages of the digital event, which is all about Smart Infrastructure: sensors, predictive maintenance, data in rail are all discussed. We thank everyone for participating in this years’ RailTech Europe, and hope to see you next year at RailTech Europe 2022!

16:00 Closing ceremony

After three days, three different stages and more than a hundred speakers, RailTech Europe is almost at its end. In the closing ceremony, Main Stage moderator Rogier Elshout, joined by Majorie van Leijen, editor of RailFreight.com and Arie van Dijk of ProMedia talk about the learnings from the event.

On the ProRail stage, from 16.20 – 16.50 there is still the ProRail Schema Service: automatic generation of schematic rail diagrams from geographic data  by Angela Brands (Business Information Analyst, CGI) & Sabine Geldermans (Architect, ProRail). From 17.00 – 17.40 there is a ‘campfire’ to engage with Patrick Koolen (Policy Advisor Logistical Developments) & Dineke Oudijk (Project Analist, ProRail)

15:30 Main Stage: Siemens on combining vehicle and infrastructure data

Danny Meringa and Emilio Tuinenburg from Siemens Mobility reported on their experiences with trams in The Hague. “Data flows from the track and from the vehicle are usually analyzed separately from each other. We decided to combine them and make them accessible via a dashboard for the customer where all relevant information can be consulted in real time,” says Tuinenburg.

As an example Meringa mentions data from the pantograph of a tram that shows fluctuations in power consumption. “The power supply or even the timetable can be adjusted based on peaks and troughs that occur at fixed times or parts of the route. In this way our customer can save energy. ”

2:45 pm, Main Stage: reducing the ecological footprint of the track with proper maintenance
The greatest potential for limiting the environmental impact lies in the lifespan of the components that are used, says Matthias Landgraf of the TU Graz in his presentation. “Rails in sharp curves, for example, have an average lifespan of ten years and less also occurs. But with innovative products of high quality and the right approach to construction and maintenance, that can be much longer. ”

Doubling the service life of rails means that only half of the material has to be produced, transported and installed. “Innovation of material and construction, but also maintenance is therefore extremely important.”

The application of “Under sleeper pads” is a good example of lifespan-extending innovation, according to Landgraf. These rubber mats under concrete sleepers have been developed to dampen vibrations and noise, but have also been found to ensure a 30 percent longer lifespan of the track.

“By damping the interaction between the different parts, especially the concrete sleepers and ballast, less maintenance is required and the service life is extended. This is not only a huge savings in life cycle costs, but also a perfect example of sustainability.

14:40 Vegetation control

Integrated data acquisition for railway vegetation management is what Jack Vogelaar, Business Development Manager Rail at Fugro talks about at the Tech Stage. The system can identify individual trees next to the railways. Out of tens of thousands of trees, it can be analysed to see if a certain tree is a potential danger. From a helicopter, equipped with laser technology and a camera, data is captured: 3D- point cloud and imagery. Started off with aerial data , as well as RILA data. The data can also be used for design purposes for example, if an additional track is to be made.

Summers in Europe are getting hotter and dryer, with an increased risk of fire danger, which is why vegetation control is becoming more and more important.

Tech Stage moderator Arie van Dijk

14:00 Main Stage: What are Black Swans?

Being prepared for the unforeseen circumstances that cause the biggest problems, that’s what Professor Diego Galar means by Black Swans. The data that no one has been able to filter because the correct knowledge is lacking or because those responsible cannot leave their comfort zone.

“Major disasters like Fukoshima, but also the blockade of the Suez Canal and even Covid are Black Swans. More than a hundred years ago we had the Spanish flu. After it ended, everyone thought, This was a one-time disaster, but that’s the stupidest thing you can imagine. Covid is comparable. Similar problems can arise at any time. ”

In the track, Black Swans are mainly in data. “Incomplete datasets of faults mean that it is never possible to find out exactly what caused the fault. We turn the system on and off, so to speak, we reset and when everything works again, we are often already satisfied. But you should never rest in it to leave it at that. Analyse until the exact cause is above water. In addition, it is important not to ignore faults that have not yet occurred, but instead ask yourself what could happen and get to work on it.”

14:00 Tech Stage: Vibration Energy Harvesting

Donat Ponamariov, CEO of the Lithuanian startup Viezo, talks about how energy harvesting will boost development of IoT in railways. Instead of batteries, which have to be replaced, sensors can also be powered by a technology called vibration energy harvesting. Viezo is developing sensors for predictive maintenance powered by this technology, which is very low maintenance. For example, it can track anomalies such as wheel flats, rail breaks, rail head condition and dragging equipment.

13:30 ProRail Stage: Harbour Line

A video about the replacement of the train detection system in the harbour line in Rotterdam. The line has ERTMS level 1. The Jade system for train detection will be replaced with more than 1500 axle counters. Due to salt and sand it does not always work correctly and can develops rust. Axle counters are not bothered by rust. It will be the first time that this type of axle counter will be built in the Netherlands. Sweco has won the tender and works along with Prorail in engineering the project. Data was recorded in a digital environment. use existing pipes etc. because ProRail does not own land.

In an upcoming pilot, the counters will be installed in parallel with the current system and the performance will be compared. Weather conditions are also measured. It will be tested over a distance of 8 kilometres.

12.30 Tech Stage InnoTamp

Mark Thomas, Business Development Manager/Project Manager Rail, Fugro talks about InnoTamp, a project of Innovate UK. The 9 month project which finished just yesterday. Moving to coordinate based maintenance can result in savings in maintenance of 30 percent. 10- 20 percent can be achieved by design tamping, by smoother and better aligned track. It allows to design the track position, and therefore you need to know where it is in 3D space and the surroundings t0 create the optimal alignment. InnoTamp collects the data via the RILA system, by which data can be collected by passenger trains without disruptions.

12:10 A new IOT sensor measures railway void

Paul Kampfraath from Kampa and Pascal van der Zwalm of Rail1435 talk about solving railway voiding. 4 years ago, Rail1435 started the development of the IoT sensor for railway voiding. At for example rail joints, this can cause problems, and around bridges there is also quite some voiding usually.

With every train passing it analyses it, and the sensor calculates with an algorithm how much voiding there is. With a heavy freight train, this is different than an intercity, which the sensors detects. The data is sent to a platform, and it can be looked on the long-term what problems can occur and where maintenance is needed.

For these problems ShimLift was developed by Kampa together with two parties, a solution for voiding. The companies will work together as combining the solution is a ‘win-win solution’. It can be mounted on the sleepers, on can be attached by magnets within a couple of seconds.

12:00, Main Stage: Data on the Rotterdam harbor railway

For logistics in the port of Rotterdam, an increase of 50 percent is expected in the coming years. A lot of time and capacity can be gained with the help of data, expects Karel van Gils, innovation director at ProRail. “By monitoring freight trains, we discovered that there is a huge difference between the expected travel time of a freight train between the yard and the terminal and the actual travel time.”

“Until now we had no data on the travel time, so we were calculating in hours. By combining data from all logistics companies in Rotterdam Botlek with our data from IoT sensors in the track and cameras along the track, we were able to map this out. ”

The approach in Botlek is the follow-up to a trial by ProRail with the port of Moerdijk, where cameras scan the codes and symbols on the wagons. “We had an idea, we tested it in Moerdijk and we are now applying it in Rotterdam.

In addition to dealing more efficiently with driving times, data must also increase safety. “We now know exactly what is where and what is in it. This is a major advantage especially with hazardous substances.

11:30 ProRail Stage: Eyes on, Hands off

Rail operator ProRail is expanding its ProRail Monitoring Platform (PMP). The company strives to include everything that can be monitored in its system. This started in 2017 with information about the approximately five thousand centrally controlled points and will be expanded in the short term with data on point heating.

After that, ProRail wants to centrally store the information from sensors in tunnels and all data from the movable railway bridges, Juliette van Driel (System manager Quo Vadis and Hotbox, ProRail) announced during RailTech.

In this way, the railway manager wants to work towards a situation in which it can better predict where maintenance is needed instead of just carrying out preventive maintenance. Thanks to data analysis, ProRail has gained more insight into the behavior of its assets and thus more control over their functioning and reliability. In this way, ProRail will no longer be faced with unpleasant surprises and it will be able to run more trains from A to B safely and on time.

The idea for the PMP stems from the fact that the data was still very fragmented a few years ago. This did not benefit the work of railway contractors, inspectors and system operators, especially since ProRail puts out new tenders for its maintenance areas every five years. With PMP, the railway manager now literally keeps an overview. nbsp;

11.30 Digitalisation in Rail Baltica

Rail Baltica is one of the largest rail construction projects in Europe and is closely followed by the sector. Especially since the greenfield project does not have to take into account train traffic that may not be hindered and existing systems that need to be integrated. Kaspars Briškens, Head of Strategy & Development, RailBaltica talks about digitalisation in this green field project. “I hope that we will be one of the first to implement FRMCS instead of the last to start GSM-R.”

Kaspers Kriskens of Rail Baltica describes the project as much more than just the construction of railways. “We are also building a digital corridor with fiber and 5G. In doing so, we try to streamline as much as possible with other projects and make combinations. Also in international cross-border projects involving European investments.”

Briskens and colleague Andy Billington also discussed “Vendor Locking” in which suppliers and clients in the rail sector enter into long-term relationships, simply because components and systems from different suppliers cannot be combined or have too many restrictions. “Eulynx already provides much more modularity. We also look a lot at best practices for modularity and flexibility from other markets. You notice that you get a much larger choice. ”

11:00 Tech Stage: Smart tamping machines

Process optimisation with new tamping machines at Infrabel. Krzysztof Wilczek, Head of Track Analytics at Plasser & Theurer talks about this at the Tech Stage. “At the core: there are the lifting and lining unit and the tamping unit.”, says Wilczek.

On-site with a UniMat 08-4×4/4S tamping machine, he explains how the tamping works and goes into several specific components and their role. The machine is suited with ETCS. It is difficult to find the precise spot for tamping at night, with a special trolley which can measure the track geometry, this becomes easier.

He also talks about sensors ahead of the train, and how with this data and the process is optimised. The machine in the video will be shipped to Infrabel within a few weeks.

Want to join the event? Go to the platform here.

10:30 Where digitalisation and sustainability intersect

According to Monika Heiming of European umbrella organization EIM Rail, digitization and sustainability are inextricably linked. “The Green Deal provides for a modal shift to rail. Extra capacity is needed to make this increase in train traffic possible. We cannot ignore digitalisation to achieve that. ”

A more robust track in all areas with the help of digitalisation is what EIM Rail strives for. “For weather influences, cyber security, financial security. It all depends on digitalisation. This by means of analyzing Big Data, 5G communication and automation. ”

Bart Brink of Royal Haskoning DHV strongly agreed. “Digitalisation certainly makes a more sustainable track possible.” Brink specializes in Digital Twins. A digital double of the actual infrastructure. In a Poll, the chairman of the day Rogier Elshout asked the audience what a digital twin could be used for. A majority see a digital copy of the actual situation primarily as a way to safely test new applications. RailTech Europe viewers also see opportunities for developing new solutions and training personnel

10.30 ProRail Stage: online applying for a job

During this session, ProRail gives tips to young professionals how to apply for a job in today’s digital setting. This  is done by Britt van Brug (Campus recruitment, ProRail), Teun van Keeken (Talent Acquisition specialist, ProRail) & Chantal van Kuyen (Expert in Engagement & Employer Branding, Employer Brander)

10:50 Main Stage: Digital Twins

Demystifying digital twins: why, what and how? Bart Brink, Global Director Digital Twin at Royal Haskoning DHV talks about this in the studio at the Main Stage.

10:10 Shift2Rail

Carlo Borghini from Shift2Rail started the program on the Main Stage with a presentation about the building blocks of a digital infrastructure. An important lesson: no matter how beautiful the systems and the data that come out are, you need the right people to do something with it. “So talk to your team about the possibilities. Digitisation is a means, not an end in itself.”

10:00 Preventing Asset MISmanagement

How to avoid the largest pitfalls in Asset management? Anna Klamer, Technology Consultant at Stevin will talk about this at the Tech Stage. “Asset management is really quite complex, but for example Internet of Things helps to get an overview of this.” She talks about three main missed opportunities: 1 translating what you do as organisation: translation top-down and bottom-up.  2: leading succesfully, leaders use micromanagement often use instead of macro-management. However, the last one helps to control the complexity and take a step backwards. 3: tearing down walls, between departments in an organisation. For example between the tactical level where plans are made and the operational level where they execute the plans, says Klamer.

9:40 Tech Stage: Mobile Rail Milling in the Netherlands

Barry Bierman, Project Manager at Vossloh talks about Mobile Rail Milling. Vossloh has many different machines in their portfolio, says Bierman. 95 percent of the rail defects in the track of ProRail were removed using a new milling method from Vossloh. Turnouts can even be milled, explains Barry Bierman of Vossloh. He also told about the High Speed grinding machine that Vossloh used on the Dutch railway.

9:00 Tech Stage: Rubber level crossings

Mark van den Rijen & Dennis Roufs from Alom talk about Rosehill rubber level crossing installation and Anti-Trespass panels. In a video, they demonstrate how the panels can be placed, and how the lifting works. They can be installed in amatter of minutes, says Mark van Rijen.

Want to join the event? Go to the platform here.

The Main Stage will start at 10:00 with Digitalising the Infastructure with Carlo Borghini from Shift2Rail, Monica Heiming from EIM and Bart Brink, Global Director Digital Twin at Royal Haskoning DHV.

The main stage kicks of at 10.00 about digilising infrastructure with Carlo Borghini (Executive Director, Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking), Monica Heiming from EIM and Bart Brink (Global Director Digital Twin, Royal Haskoning DHV).

9:00 ProRail stage

The ProRail stage kicks of with RailHope Nederland with Robbert Vroomen (Sustainability Lead and Value Facilitator, ProRail) & Maarten Pijnacker Hordijk (Senior Consultant, ProRail). After this a creative Haiku session will be held.

Read about the previous two days here:

Author: Esther Geerts

Editor of RailTech.com

Add your comment

characters remaining.

Log in through one of the following social media partners to comment.