PRE2016 3 Groep3

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Group 3: Railway Maintenance Robots

  • 0902228 | Lindsey van der Aalst
  • 0938349 | Thomas Bastiaansen
  • 0948949 | Micha van den Herik
  • 0939318 | Tim van Leuveren
  • 0855969 | Job van der Velde
  • 0941574 | Floris van der Velden

Week 1

Introduction

Delays with the trains are a common complaint of most people, and the company National Railways (‘Nationale Spoorwegen’) takes a lot of the blame. Some of the delays are caused by small objects positioned on the tracks or the condition of the railway tracks by itself. As a result, the train’s stopping distance increases by big margin. For this problem, a small robot is designed to minimize these problems. It will check the tracks for snow and leaves and use laser technology to free the tracks of these things. Not only that, it also detects the wear and will ultimately also maintain the condition of the tracks.

USE Aspects

User: NS

Could be an expert knowing all the in’s and out’s of the machine. But in general, it is the NS themselves. Efficiency is important for the User. The machine will need to have the ability to move at the same speed as standard NS trains and be able to remove obstacles, leaves and snow when needed, as well as detect any wear on tracks and railway switches. The machine should not conflict to much with the current situation. The Netherlands already has one of the most tight packed schedules in the world, with single delays often causing a chain of delays. The machine should work between (or outside) this schedule, else it will not have any benefit. The main purpose of the machine is to prevent delays and when it is not able to fit in the current schedule, it will only cause more delays. The machine should be easily operable. However, since not everyone has to use this machine, easily operable is not high on the priority list.

Society: train travelers

Delays can occur due to many reasons, for example tracks that are in need of reparation, or bad weather conditions. Train travelers want to get from point A to B as quickly as possible, delays don't add to the train traveling experience. By the use of an automation machine, which can detect and remove obstacles that cause delays, train travelers can get from A to B more quickly. Time always translates to money, and for all three USE aspects money is on the priority list.

Enterprise: ProRail

As mentioned in User, efficiency is important for both the User and Enterprise. The enterprise is also held partly responsible for the delays and thus they would like to prevent them as much as possible. Also, the Enterprise want the machine to be most profitable as possible. The cost of the machine is then also desired to be as low as possible, while still doing its tasks. It should be reliable because failure can lead to even larger delays or train accidents, which in turn lead to larger costs. It has to be cheaper than the ways used currently or it should weigh up to the costs of the delays, else it is not profitable investing in it. Most of the arguments mentioned in User and Enterprise will overlap. In our case, we will be more focusing on the Entrepreneurial side of ProRail.


Our focus

kosten vergelijken en laag houden waarom focussen we op wat

Objectives

  • Functions at the same time as other trains are in use (same speed as the trains)
  • Detection wear of tracks
    • Rust
    • Cracks (ultrasonic?)
    • Dimensions & shape
  • Maintenance of tracks;
    • Removing snow, using a laser
    • Removing leaves, using a laser and compressed air/shovel
    • Removing rust, using a laser

Side Objectives

  • Not have much wear of itself on the tracks
  • Charge in front of the trains for optimal use
  • Modular ‘carts’ -> different equipment for different tasks
  • Additional detection: Condition of welds, fasteners, sleepers and ballast, temperature of railway
  • Possible detection of railway track geometry using gyroscope. (heavy maintenance required for readjusting railway track geometry)

Extensions

  • Good for the climate and environment.

Approach

  • The focus lies on the User and the Enterprise, which are the NS and ProRail, respectively. Especially the Enterprise aspects are important for this system. This means that the system needs to be efficient, sustainable and that the production costs need to be as low as possible while still remaining quality.
  • Research has to be carried out about state-of-the-art technology. For example, one of the recent developments in railway technology is a laser which can remove leaves from the railway tracks [1]. We will also implement this technique into our system. Also, currently a monitor has been developed to check the condition of the tracks [2]. This technique is used to measure the cross section without contact. This technique could possibly be used for our system.
  • A literature study will make clear if our idea is really innovative and unique. We will also do research about how the system needs to be designed, what the most efficient form is, how it needs to be loaded, etc.

Sources

  1. Smith, O. (2016). No more commuter misery? Trains fight leaves with lasers. Retrieved from http://www.thememo.com/2016/09/12/train-leaves-leaf-zapping-trains-rail-safety-and-standards-board-are-arming-up-with-microwaves-and-lasers/
  2. ETS SPOOR B.V. (n.d.). Railmonitor. Retrieved from http://www.etsspoor.nl/producten/meetapparatuur/railmonitor/

Railway Innovation. (2016). Protran and Johns Hopkins University develop unmanned rail inspection robot. Retrieved from http://railwayinnovation.com/protran-and-johns-hopkins-university-develop-unmanned-rail-inspection-robot/

Loccioni Group. (2012). Felix, robot for railroad switch dimensional measurement. Retrieved from http://research.loccioni.com/en/robotics/felix/

IF design. (2016). Railroad Probe. Retrieved from http://ifworlddesignguide.com/entry/90335-railroad-probe/

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

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