Safety and Reliability Monitoring for Rail Cars and Tracks

Microelectromechanical System Sensor Monitoring Solutions

Helping engineers perform dynamic analysis of rotating interactions to develop improved designs for rotating components and transportation applications are key aspects of Ridegtop’s ability to provide industry proven solutions to a the track and rolling stock segment of transportation. Using a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) triaxial accelorometer module mounted on railroad wheel hubs, vibrational and rotational measurements can be made, identifying degradation or other anomalies in railroad track and rolling stock, in addition to anomalies of bearings, rotating shafts and gears.

Why RotoSense Makes Sense for Safety Applications

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

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

The railroad industry is served through Ridgetop’s RotoSense™ and RailSafe™ products.  RotoSense is a sensitive, three-axis microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based rotational vibration monitor.  The units are Internet of Things (IoT)-wirelessly integrated to a system, and are attached to the wheel hubs, where ongoing monitoring of vibration provides insight into wheel cracks in locomotive and rolling stock, as well as detecting anomalies in the track itself.  Rigorous tests have been conducted the Transportation Technology Center (TTC) in Pueblo, Colorado, where the units functioned flawlessly.  In addition to RotoSense, a turn-key configuration consisting of RotoSense modules and analysis software is available.  The tools are applicable to trains, street cars, and light rail systems where advance indications of wear-out conditions are important.

In today’s automotive industry, post-event analysis, or diagnostic testing, is the predominant maintenance technology used in automotive service facilities. Prognostics and health management (PHM) solutions, also known as electronic prognostics, provide advance warnings of impending electronic module and circuit failures prior to an actual failure event.


For automotive manufacturers and service technicians, this can:

  • Reduce lifetime warranty cost to manufacturer or third-party warranty vendor
  • Reduce service and maintenance times for electronic system analysis
  • Improve vehicle performance and reliability

For customers, on-board prognostics can:

  • Increase reliability and safety of vehiclessmartcar
  • Reduce maintenance costs and total cost of ownership
  • Improve overall satisfaction with vehicle experience