Eurailtest Incorporates IoT in Measurement and Testing for the Railway Industry

There is a range of challenges and opportunities within internet of things (IoT), with the goal being to develop products and services while enabling savings on recurring costs such as energy or maintenance and improvement in production quality.

EURAILTEST needs to surround itself with effective, synergistic laboratories brimming with innovation. The IoT challenge is therefore central to the development and innovation projects of our partner laboratories.

The topic of IoT is well-known in the field of maintaining fixed installations and rolling stock because it is a source of many innovative solutions. The challenge for Eurailtest’s partner laboratories is determining what applications there are for IoT that can lower costs and save time when conducting various railway tests.

The Railway Testing Agency (AEF), the Test and Measurement Laboratory (LEM), and the Measurement and Test Department (DGII ME) all have research and development divisions.

In addition to conducting tests and providing the client with the knowledge and skills needed to make their projects successful, those same experts invest a lot of time and energy in railway technological innovation.

Detailed below are a few applications of IoT developed by our partner laboratories.

Since 2016, the AEF has been internally developing the ‘IoT Box’, which consists of an electronic device whose purpose is to exchange information for a lower cost and to bring together sensors, users, networks, and the Cloud.

The IoT Box has advanced considerably, incorporating the latest network technologies and telecommunication protocols such as Lora and RFID.

The AEF’s objectives are:

  • Collection of data captured on test trains in order to interpret them without human intervention
  • Low system electricity consumption
  • Use of self-powered wireless sensors
  • Geolocation
  • End-to-end control over the data
  • Collection of data from different communication protocols

The AEF continues to develop the IoT Box in order to make it more effective and be able to deploy it across various testing and measurement services.

SENTINEL (a French acronym for ‘Digital Recording System for Electrical Currents and Voltages’) is an industrial device for remotely monitoring electricity distribution stations, including electrical traction, signal and train station substations.

The algorithms and processing carried out by the SENTINEL application provide accurate information needed to avoid incidents and abnormal wear to installations, minimise incident impacts, and optimise maintenance and operation.

This system is made up of sensors and acquisition boards packed into a cabinet for fixed installations, or in the form of a mobile briefcase for one-time servicing.

The data is provided on a secure web platform for different types of user profiles such as technical experts, maintenance workers and substation controllers.

It is used to:

  • view substation parameters in real time
  • detect and record disruptive phenomena
  • monitor and alert by reporting alarms (email)

SENTINEL is currently being deployed on the French national rail network (RFN), with 57 substations already outfitted.

The work carried out on the railway infrastructure may generate vibrations with potential consequences on the operation of the signaling facilities, and therefore railway safety and operation. VIBRALERTE is a device that can preventively warn of a failure in these signaling facilities due to these vibrations.

VIBRALERTE is made up of an electronic box and standard relays, which are representative of the signalling facility being monitored. It triggers an audible and visual alarm whenever it detects a state change in a contact of those relays above a set threshold. The latest version of VIBRALERTE also enables automatic remote transmission (by SMS) of an alert to the designated agents.

VIBRALERTE has been incorporated into numerous RFN modernisation operations.

RATP’s Test and Measurement Laboratory (LEM) has set up several experiments involving IoT.

The devices installed include:

  • Sensors for collecting raw data
  • A network hub and gateway for centralizing the data
  • An ‘IoT management’ system for reporting data on the IoT platform
  • A ‘visualization and usage’ information system to decipher and make use of the data

These IoT devices particularly make it possible to measure air temperature, humidity, rail temperature, platform incline and track movement.

IoT plays an increasingly important role in railway testing and measurement. Concurrent with these projects and devices that supplement and improve upon traditional measurement methods, digital simulations are also central to research and development within our laboratories.

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