The track monitoring system has been developed in response to the needs of many railway infrastructure operators to quickly and economically obtain current data for existing electronic surveillance devices without the need to program complex interfaces.
The infrastructure manager should not only know the throughput of his tracks to properly calculate the maintenance charges, but he must also have a good monitoring system to optimize maintenance activities and optimally use the potential of existing infrastructure.
The Eisenbahntechnik Munder GmbH company based in Berlin (Germany) has developed and patented a track monitoring system that perfectly solves the needs and problems of customers. The energy-saving MT-713 telemetry module manufactured by the INVENTIA was chosen as the basic element of the system. The device monitors the railway traffic through two inductive sensors connected to the track rail and communicates with the central server. The customer has the option of accessing data via the web application. At the initial stage of the concept developing, it was clear that a fully autonomous system is needed. Both the measurement section and data communication must operate on their battery power supply, and the assembly on the rails must be simple and flexible. At the same time, there was a need for much more cost-effective industrial components than those used in traditional solutions.
The MT-713 telemetry module proved to be the best available solution on the market. Additionally, the compact design of the module provides sufficient space for expansion. Less demanding modifications included replacing a standard battery pack with a lithium-ion battery and the mounting of an appropriate solar panel on the top of the set. The module can also be easily equipped with a base plate, which facilitates assembly of the device and maintenance work. However, additional modifications of internal components were necessary, including programming the firmware of the MT-713 module.
Inventia has delivered an adapted casing, which in addition to two standard cable ducts, has additional ducts for connecting a flat GSM antenna, a fuse holder, and external plug connectors. The internal mounting chamber, to which the base PCB of the module MT-713 is attached, also has the option of connecting additional electronics with a circuit for solar panel control and to supply and operate two inductive sensors that analyze the passage of the train wheels.
A particular challenge for the MT-713 telemetry module was to calculate the speed of the train that is moving on the rails. In addition to monitoring the speed limits, this information is equally important for determining the number of wagons and their types, based on the wheel layout. These advanced calculations require precise time measurement with accuracy to several microseconds. The MT-713 base PCB allows for expansion by attaching a narrow LED panel with a microcontroller, also manufactured by Inventia.
This system provides the necessary sampling frequency and enables the transfer of results via an internal connector using Modbus. It also provides basic signaling of the system operation status and allows you to quickly diagnose possible wrong states contributing to their quick elimination.
The first installations of the described track monitoring system were completed in 2013. Currently, the system works on many railway stations confirming its reliability. The system provides infrastructure managers with valuable traffic information on individual sections of railway tracks.