HS2 engineers working on digital twin for new high speed rail network
HS2’s infrastructure will be fitted with real time monitoring sensors, the project team announced last month. The data from these sensors will not only inform the construction method and performance of the line but will also be used to create a virtual reality 3D replica of HS2.
Rails, bridges and overhead power lines, among other objects, will be fitted with real time monitoring sensors similar to those used in Formula One racing and aviation. The data collected will be analysed by HS2 engineers and maintenance staff at the Birmingham-based Network Integrated Control Centre (NICC) at Washwood Heath.
Here, asset performance will be monitored as part of a predict-and-prevent maintenance programme. Prior to sending out engineers and maintenance crews, the issue will first be assessed in virtual reality using the HS2’s digital twin. According to the developers, some issues may well be resolved remotely from the NICC.
“With HS2’s digital twin-based predict and prevent approach to maintenance we have the ability to prevent failures and replace assets when the system indicates a decline in performance – as opposed to relying on a rolling programme of asset replacement”, said head of strategic planning and asset management David White.
This way, the expected operational lifespan of the asset can be extended “by months or even years”, White also said.