Products for Rail Vehicles
RailTrendsDigital SolutionsInfrastructure and Driveline Monitoring
System graphic Infrastructure and Driveline Monitoring System from ZF System graphic Infrastructure and Driveline Monitoring System from ZF
RailTrendsDigital SolutionsInfrastructure and Driveline Monitoring

Digital Condition Monitoring with ZF Infrastructure and Driveline Monitoring

Predictive Maintenance Planning for Rail Vehicles and Infrastructure

The Infrastructure and Driveline Monitoring system

The condition monitoring solution enables digital condition monitoring of the rail infrastructure and driveline components.

Therefore, sensors are mounted on the bogie of the rail vehicles to record accelerations, vibrations and anomalies in wheel-rail contact during operation. The data is then analyzed and visualized in the cloud. With the help of these daily measurement data, rail operators can plan the maintenance cycles based on actual conditions, increase efficiency in rail transportation, and avoid unplanned downtimes.

Scope of system

What do I need for the entire system?

Scope of the Infrastructure and Driveline Monitoring system

The wireless sensor Heavy Duty TAG forms the basis for the condition monitoring of vehicle components and the rail infrastructure. The HD TAG can be mounted either on the transmission or the bogie. The recorded data is transmitted via Bluetooth Low Energy to a Secure Gateway, the VCU Pro Onboard Unit. The gateway triggers measurements and collects the data from the wireless Bluetooth sensors. Then, the collected measurement and rail track data is processed and securely transferred to the ZF IoT Cloud.

Heavy Duty TAG

Battery-operated Bluetooth sensor for detecting vibrations and the position

VCU Pro Onboard Unit

Gateway to bundle the individual sensor data, data pre-evaluation and data transfer into the ZF IoT Cloud

ZF IoT Cloud

Data storage and processing in the ZF IoT Cloud


Platform for a comprehensive infrastructure and driveline monitoring


What functions does the Infrastructure and Driveline Monitoring System offer?

Modularity for maximum customer value

With the Infrastructure and Driveline Monitoring, we offer a turnkey solution consisting of hardware, software, and the associated platforms. The system is developed for independent and maintenance-free operation and uses its digital potential effectively: Thanks to the connection to the ZF cloud, data can be recorded, transmitted, and evaluated on a permanent basis.

Customers benefit especially from the modularity offered by the system: The condition monitoring solution can be individually extended by evaluations and monitoring functions. The system can be widely installed in a significant range of rail vehicles, in short and long-distance traffic. Since existing vehicles can also be retrofitted with the required ZF components, every single train used for normal line service could also take over a monitoring function.

Flat Spot and Wheel-Tread Wear Monitoring

What are flat spots?

Flat spots occur through uneven wear on the steel tires of the vehicles. As a result, the wheel no longer rolls gently over the rail, but slides or slips on the track. As a first consequence, you can usually hear and feel blows and rumbling while the train is in motion. In case of increased wear, further damage to the wheel and rail is possible. Flat spots are a possible reason for noise pollution for passengers and residents.

Typical flat spot damage pattern

What is weal-tread wear?

Wheel-tread wear is expressed (for example) by small microcracks on the wheel surface of rail vehicles, which causes vibrations. If the wear is not recognized immediately, further bogie components can be damaged. In the worst case, it can lead to crumbling in the wheel surface. A complete replacement of the wheel tire may be necessary. In passenger transport, the safety of passengers is top priority. Therefore, it is of upmost importance to the fleet operator to identify and resolve such damage as early as possible.

Typical wheel-tread wear damage pattern

How can operators identify such damages on the wheel tires?

The ZF condition monitoring system is designed to detect wheel-tread wear at an early stage – before serious damage occurs. Rail operators obtain daily analysis results, which support condition-based maintenance cycle planning, increasing the vehicle availability and efficiency in operation. Both passengers and residents benefit from increased Reliability and safety of rail vehicles and reduced noise nuisance.

Main characteristics of the ZF system for the detection of flat spots and wheel-tread wear
  • Determination of damage to wheel tires using acceleration data
  • Automated notification in case of detected damage
  • Simple and fast implementation using wireless sensors (Bluetooth communication)
  • Storage and analysis of the measured acceleration data in the ZF IoT Cloud
  • Transfer of the measured raw data to the customer via cloud-to-cloud communication possible
  • Overview of the current fleet and component status via user interface

Infrastructure Monitoring

How can the infrastructure in rail traffic be monitored?

Weather fluctuations, peak utilization, and everyday wear: The rail network is under a lot of pressure, which is why it nowadays is highly important to monitor the condition of the tracks precisely and effectively. The digital monitoring system from ZF aims to identify potential damage at an early stage. Existing vehicles can also be easily retrofitted with the required ZF components. Thus, every single train used for line service could also take over a monitoring function.

Main characteristics of the ZF system for the infrastructure monitoring
  • Continuous monitoring of the rail track on damage or changes by recording statistical acceleration data
  • Exact localization via GPS
  • Measuring equipment in regular vehicles
    • No special, expensive measuring vehicle required
  • Simple and fast implementation and retrofitting of existing vehicles with the use of wireless sensors (Bluetooth communication)
  • Storage and analysis of the measured acceleration data in the ZF Cloud
  • Data transfer via cloud-to-cloud communication possible
  • Monitoring (heatmap) of the current status and changes of the tracks over time via the user interface

Condition Monitoring Driveline Components

How can driveline components of rail vehicles be monitored?
Main characteristics of the ZF system for the condition monitoring of driveline components
  • Intelligent condition monitoring of driveline, chassis and bogie components (i.e. gearbox, dampers)
  • Standardized interfaces facilitate cloud-to-cloud solutions with other manufacturers (i.e. bearings, brakes)
  • Gearbox:
    • Intelligent vibration monitoring of gears and bearings
    • Dynamic oil condition and temperature monitoring
  • Chassis and bogie components:
    • Intelligent level monitoring
    • Function monitoring using pressure sensors
    • Temperature range from -30°C to +100°C


Why choose ZF Infrastructure and Driveline Monitoring?

The digital solution for condition monitoring offers the following benefits for transport services and passenger

Transport services Passenger
Condition monitoring at any time and from anywhere Prevention of noise pollution
Increased efficiency in operation Reduction of noise emissions
Predictive and condition-based maintenance planning Prevention of comfort restrictions
Reduction and avoidance of downtime Increased reliability of rail vehicles
Increased customer satisfaction Increased vehicle availability

Customer references

Graz Linien

Graz trams are becoming more efficient, more reliable and quieter

ZF and Graz Linien are partnering in the development of a digital system for condition monitoring since 2018. Today, several trams of Graz Linien are equipped with ZF’s Infrastructure and Driveline Monitoring system.

First application: Flat Spot Monitoring. This is a main reason for noise nuisance of residents and passengers. The ZF solution detects flat spots at an early stage, thus reducing consequential damage, as well as stress and comfort restrictions for people and environment.

The largest mobility provider in the south of Austria is happy:

“With the digital monitoring system from ZF, we have been able to further increase the reliability and, above all, the safety of rail traffic."
Mark Perz, Board Director of Mobility and Leisure, Holding Graz


Your key to digital condition monitoring

The Infrastructure and Driveline Monitoring can be easily retrofitted to existing vehicles. Contact us now to get more information about the solution.


ZF and DB Systemtechnik agree on cooperation in Infrastructure Monitoring

In a new joint project, ZF and DB Systemtechnik combine existing competencies to increase efficiency in the monitoring of critical infrastructure. Their digital monitoring solution detects potential rail deficiencies at an early stage. This enables predictive and flexible planning of maintenance work, thus reducing unnecessary expenses, preventing delays and breakdowns, and offering a real added value in terms of safety and comfort.