Four innovations that will improve the maintenance of rolling stock are ready for development.
Funded by the RSSB, the innovations will help to deliver greater capacity, improve safety and reduce the time and cost of maintenance during inspections, according to the trade body.
The projects have been put together from teams at universities throughout the country, including Brunel University which has come up with a system to automate the servicing of passenger train fluids.
Brunel’s project covers the topping-up of water, windscreen wash and the emptying of effluent. A scaled-down version is currently being designed and built before the team build a full-scale working prototype to be tested and installed into a maintenance workshop. Tendering will then take place.
Heriot-Watt University in conjunction with Cranfield University has invented the cab front cleaning robot. This robot applies constant force to its cleaning head as it moves across the surface to ensure it reaches all the pockets and concaves. The sides of trains are currently cleaned by machines using rollers, meaning certain spots are missed and have to be manually cleaned.
Southampton Solent University put forward an automated, non-destructive testing techniques for railway wheelsets, using infra-red and electro-magnetic sensors to detect cracks, and the University of Birmingham’s process for automating inspection techniques with 3D printing to add material back onto the surface of wheels to repair any damage.