ScotRail’s Class 334 fleet is expected to spend less time in maintenance depots following the installation of new wireless sensors.
Perpetuum’s hardware – which will be fitted across the fleet in 2017 – continually monitors the condition of wheels and wheel bearings to identify faults in real time.
Currently each train in the fleet has its wheel bearings replaced every 600,000 miles regardless of whether it still has tread left on the wheel but this hardware will enable ScotRail to push out the bearing mileage without compromising on safety.
As a result of this change, the lifespan of the bearings is expected to increase from 600,000 miles to 750,000 miles and the time the fleet spends in maintenance depots will be reduced.
The sensors are powered by the kinetic energy of the train using a patented ‘energy-harvester’. It then transmits readings to a centralised data concentrator that provides a real-time analysis and alerts the fleet manager when the train is ready for maintenance or if a potential fault is developing.
Track officials can also see information which pinpoints changes in condition of the track, allowing them to promptly repair and subsequently lessen the damage to the train wheels.
The technology is already used in England, the United States and Australia but this marks the first time Perpetuum has been used in Scotland.
Perpetuum’s chief executive Dr Steve Turley said: “If fleet managers know what condition a train is in they don’t spend time and budget putting it through an unnecessary upkeep and repair programme.
“Condition-based maintenance means that trains spend more time on the track and improved customer service.”