Sentinel Motion for Rail – A CBM Toolbox for Track and Bearing Monitoring

Train-HD-WallpapersSentinel Motion™  is an IoT-based sensor system that monitors mission critical equipment observing any combination of temperature and linear, rotatory, or vibrational force. This innovative technology was originally developed for helicopter gearbox systems, and has been adapted for the railroad industry. Sentinel Motion offers railroad operators a complete toolbox to monitor faults and anomalies associated with the track, wheel, and bearings.

Sentinel Motion comprises a wireless network of RotoSense™ smart sensors, the Sentinel Gateway communications device, and the Sentinel MotionView software package for data acquisition, analysis, and sensor-gateway management. This sensing system combines the functionality of traditional wayside detection equipment, such as hot box detectors (HBDs) and wheel impact load detectors (WILD), into a single low cost RotoSense unit that can be equipped to each rotating axle. This approach offers continuous remote monitoring of the wheels and bearing systems, while also generating automated alerts if there is an abnormal spike in acceleration or temperature.

According to a recent FRA post and implementation guide, each year the North American railroad industry spends approximately $800 million annually on bearing failures and wheel removals. Approximately 20% ($160 million annually) of that expense is due to bearing failures, and approximately 60% ($480 million annually) is due to wheel failures. Sentinel Motion can help to reduce these operating expenses as it is a proven condition-based maintenance (CBM) solution.

RailSafe RotoSense sensor module (blue) mounted on train axle hub

RotoSense smart sensor module (blue) mounted on a Timken bearing system at TTCI.

In 2015, Ridgetop conducted rail testing at the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI) testing facility in Pueblo, Colorado. The aim of the testing was to:

  1. Characterize track infrastructure
  2. Detect track faults such as broken welds
  3. Detect faults associated with the wheels and bearings

Testing proved that RotoSense is a viable IoT solution for each aim of the testing, and has been significantly enhanced and tested since the original 2015 rail tests. The full testing report can be accessed here.

Because each RotoSense smart sensor is mounted on each end of an axle, right where the wheels and track meet, the three-dimensional accelerometers continuously capture wheel and track vibration data with maximum sensitivity. That sensor data, as well as the bearing temperature, is wirelessly transmitted to the Sentinel Gateway where “edge” analytics are used to process and store the data before uploading it to the Ridgetop cloud. The Sentinel MotionView software application provides all of the necessary tools to remotely control the IoT system and offers a global dashboard view while monitoring your rail assets.

Features and Benefits

  • Precision triaxial accelerometer measurements with up to ± 200 [g] sensor range
  • Multiple operating modes with programmable sampling rates
  •  Near real-time reliability data for advanced diagnostics and prognostics & health management (PHM) applications
  • Software scheduling function that generates alert files with GPS correlation and results from embedded data analytics
  • Data files can be integrated with existing condition-based maintenance (CBM) systems using alerting mechanisms via email, text, or SMS
  • Secure IoT communication with each RotoSense having a unique IP address

What You Get With Sentinel Motion

The Sentinel Motion Development Kit is an easy to use toolbox to support a pilot evaluation for each system level component in Sentinel Motion. The Sentinel Motion Development Kit consists of:

  • Two or more RotoSense Series 3000 sensor modules
  • One Sentinel Gateway communications device / data concentration hub
  • One seat license to the Sentinel MotionView software application

Ridgetop Support

Ridgetop of course stands ready to provide you with the support you need to make your Sentinel Motion system deployment a roaring success. We can help you setup and install your system, give you and your team operations and maintenance training, and answer any questions you may have in a timely manner to keep everything running smoothly and efficiently.

For more information, see:

Product Documentation

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