ZF combines mechanics, electronics and digital technologies to intelligent connectivity solutions for rail vehicles.
ZF presents technologies which improve the networking of complex workflows and thus simplify them. Many things in our daily lives are now connected electronically and can thus operate intelligently. From simple items to complex cars and machines, the „Internet of Things“ (IoT) simplifies our daily lives. This technological progress holds great potential for the industry. ZF has identified this trend and is focusing on IoT in its research and development.
The intelligent condition monitoring system connect@rail demonstrates how integrated sensors and advanced data analysis tools can further improve efficiency, reliability and safety in rail transport. Various sensors record vibrations, oil quality and temperature behavior in transmissions and shock absorbers. On top of that, one sensor attached to the unsprung axle drive or bogie measures amplitudes and bumps in the track system. This enables operators to monitor the status of the tracks and to identify potential hazardous spots early on. These system functions are also supplemented by external information and certain environmental parameters.
A platform developed by ZF then reliably transfers the collected data and information to the ZF Cloud. Operators can view the analysis and recommended courses of action based on the above data from the ZF Cloud using a computer or mobile device. Also, they can optimally schedule maintenance dates and respond to the most diverse situations individually and flexibly. This guarantees that the entire fleet is operating smoothly and as cost-efficiently as possible.
As part of the overall connect@rail system, the ZF Smart Typeplate offers great potential for efficient fleet and maintenance management. With the Smart Typeplate, ZF has integrated a RFID chip with a unique ID into the transmission type plate for the first time. This ID allows data such as the transmission's model, its material and identification numbers as well as technical data to be linked to and displayed by a superordinate application.
Increase efficiency and reduce costs
Wireless Bluetooth sensors, the ZF Heavy Duty TAGs, are mounted to the unsprung axle drive or the bogie, where they record acceleration, temperature and inclination behavior. This enables the sensors to recognize the condition of the track system as well as anomalies in wheel-rail contact during operation. Wear (such as wheel flats) and damages can thus be identified at an early stage. The measurement and route data is analyzed, evaluated and visualized in the ZF IoT Cloud. Operators obtain real-time analyses that help them schedule maintenance cycles based on actual conditions, thus increasing efficiency and avoiding unscheduled service interruptions.
Today, drivers have to check several screens and mirrors before starting off in order to ensure that no persons or objects are jeopardized when the vehicle starts to move. Here, a safety function that makes use of a smart algorithm can offer support. Using data from cameras, LIDAR and radars, it calculates a detailed image of the surroundings. This allows drivers to constantly keep an eye on their surroundings to a radius of six meters. Another benefit: The system automatically recognizes hazards, flags them on the screen and brings the obstacles to the train operator’s attention.