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Bogie maintenance of VR FleetCare, source: Atte Mäläskä via VR FleetCare

Finnish Railways develops solution to monitor bogies

VR FleetCare, a subsidiary of Finnish national railway company VR Group, intends to develop and introduce the data-driven solution for bogie maintenance. It will allow the company to monitor and predict the malfunctions of the bogies. The project will be performed together with EKE-Electronics, a Finnish supplier of intelligent train automation and management systems.

To introduce the data-driven monitoring solution, VR FleetCare will install sensors and data transmission systems on the locomotives and electric trains of VR Group during this year. Both participants, VR FleetCare and EKE-Electronics, plans to provide more extensive development work next year. The project is based on VR FleetCare’s technical rail fleet expertise as well as fleet maintenance optimisation and experience of EKE-Electronics in train automation systems and remote condition monitoring.

Remote monitoring

EKE-Electronics will apply its remote monitoring system and data analytics to develop the monitoring solution for VR FleetCare. “The software and sensor technology expertise combined with the analytics of our British subsidiary Humaware will make us forerunners in bogie condition monitoring. Our systems related to remote monitoring of trains are currently being deployed in Australia and on the London Underground,” said Karl Lönngren, Director for Digital Services at EKE-Electronics. Also, a smart combination of cloud and edge computing will be used within this project.

Benefits of monitoring

With the help of the new project, VR FleetCare plans to achieve several goals. Initially, the company wants to improve its maintenance work and reduce lifecycle costs. Afterwards, these improvements will increase safety and eventually enhance the usability of the rolling stock operated by VR Group. “The interest in condition-based and data-driven maintenance is strong in the rail industry. This cooperation with EKE provides us with new ways to carry out bogie condition monitoring and serve our customers. Our aim is to generate savings of approximately 10–15 per cent with this new method,” noted Mikko Alanko, Director for Digital Services at VR FleetCare.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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