Periodic Reporting for period 2 - AutoScan (AutoScan – Rail inspection by autonomous systems)
Reporting period: 2017-06-01 to 2018-09-30
The overall objectives of the project are:
• Exploit a rapid non-contact ultrasound NDT technology (EMAT) capable of accurately sizing faults detected for large area scanning and robotic ACFM raster scanning for more detailed defect characterisation
• Enhance an existing, autonomous lightweight prototype inspection cart capable of identifying track faults through a rapid detection system.
• Demonstrate the capability to operate the cart autonomously and remotely
• Undertake real world testing at trial site representing typical railway infrastructure and challenges and validate approach.
• To demonstrate autonomous operation for the cart, with ability to detect and record a variety of defects with required accuracy
• Implement a suitable commercialisation strategy
The primary objectives of the project for users resulting from the commercialisation of AutoScan are:
• Improved levels of safety due to increased probability of detection of defects
• Reduce track maintenance costs
• Increased availability of the network due to increased reliability and a data driven maintenance regime
• Extended asset life time and reduced Life Cycle Cost, as cracks occur during service may be detected at an early stage in their growth cycle, allowing an RBI approach
• Track access time reduced and therefore personnel safety increased
All of the technical objectives of the project have been met. The consortium partners are in the process of delivering the operational objectives for stakeholder companies.
The results achieved are:
• Commercialisation of autonomous rail evaluation system – RCF Scanner product released
• Commercialisation of robotic scanning mechanism with ACFM integration interface
• Commercialisation of EMAT rail inspection system
• Commercialisation of remote control system for autonomous rail evaluation system
• Dissemination and exploitation activities related to project execution
The project has resulted in a fully functional autonomous rail evaluation system that has been rigorously tested in a representative railway environment. The consortium is now in the process of exploiting the system by entering into discussions and arrangements with a number of rail stakeholder and supplier organisations and rail maintenance organisations.
• Improve safety and preventing incidents due to track defects
• Detection of hidden defects. Inspection time reduced
• Reduce infrastructure costs by extending the life cycle of rail tracks, and reducing inspection frequency
• Reduce track inspection intervals through effective analysis of track conditions
• AutoScan can provide analysis of health, safety, environment, and business risks of ‘active’ and ‘potential’ mechanisms causing wear and failure, provide a probability of failure and the consequences.
• Improve scheduling; avoiding unplanned maintenance and network disruption
• AutoScan will allow early flaws to be detected and monitored so that preventative maintenance can be scheduled and unplanned maintenance reduced.
Safety is an important consideration in railway maintenance. There is an EU wide pressure to meet EU Common safety targets (CSTs) - measures of risk allowing assessment of whether the current safety levels of the railways in the Member States are maintained. The ERA 2014 safety report25 shows that the number of employee fatalities – 46 - in 2012 was the highest ever recorded the economic burden of fatalities and of serious injuries was €1.5 b, in 2012. AutoScan is a fully remote controlled system removing the hazard of personnel on the track. AutoScan also reduces the number of required inspections by facilitating an optimised risk based inspection (RBI) and maintenance approach.