Indian Transport & Logistics

Freight Corridor Corporation to automate rail wagon inspection

This can enable inspection of wagons day/night, at high speeds, with different load and wagon types and in any terrain.

Freight Corridor Corporation to automate rail wagon inspection

IISc (Indian Institute of Science)-incubated startup L2MRail, SID and IISc have signed an MoU with the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) aimed at enhancing rail safety by automating rail wagon inspection and defect detection. The L2MRail team and IISc have pioneered the Machine Vision-Based Inspection System (MVIS), a first of its kind in India overcoming limitations of human inspection.

The Machine Vision-Based Inspection System (MVIS) can enable automated inspection of wagons during the day or night, at high train speeds, with wide variations in load and wagon types and in any kind of terrain. This end-to-end automated system will be developed within a year and can be deployed anywhere in the world for fast and timely detection of defects in wagons.

The partnership addresses the need for accurate, real-time data for rail wagon inspection and defect detection. The defects that will be detected in the Machine Vision-based Inspection System are Side view defects (Broken/Missing Axle covers, Major damages in wheel disc, Open/hanging doors of wagons, Missing / Damaged Springs etc.) and undercarriage defects (Hanging Parts, Broken or bent brake beams etc.) These defects will be detected in normal running conditions of the train, including high-speed operations. While the MVIS will initially be installed in a single location, it will eventually be installed across the stretch of eastern and western corridors which are between Kolkata to Ludhiana (Eastern) and Mumbai to Dadri (Western).

Sreenivasa Rao Ganapa, co-founder, L2M Rail and ex-IRSSE officer said, "Rail wagons are in need of regular inspection, and currently, inspection of wagons carrying freight are done manually while wagons are stationary or moving slowly. Maintenance personnel are required to inspect the side and undercarriage of wagons for defects such as hanging parts, displaced or broken suspension springs, axle box covers, open/ hanging doors of wagons etc. They often require maintenance personnel to be positioned uncomfortably inside underground pits, and cannot be carried out in inaccessible terrain. The MVIS system will automate this inspection process and enable fast and timely detection of defects in wagons to ensure rail safety."

The project will be developed in two phases. In the first phase, the development will focus on identifying the defects. In the second phase, the development will focus on creating a rugged infrastructure that can minimize maintenance.

"Rail safety and maintenance has always been a key concern for us, and while trains are routinely inspected, manual inspection has its limits. We welcome the channelling of innovative solutions towards strengthening rail safety through predictive maintenance, preventing potential accidents and downtime" said R. K. Jain, IRSE, managing director, DFCCIL.

"While rail safety has traditionally been associated as a need for passenger carriers, freight trains also require real-time monitoring. While accidents are always a possibility, goods also need to arrive on time for which timely inspection is essential to avoid unnecessary delays. We are proud to say that home-grown L2MRail is stepping in to fill in that gap" said Prof. Balan Gurumoorthy, chief executive of SID, IISc

L2MRail has also developed several other IPs for innovative applications of FBG sensing technology to monitor parameters critical to ensure train safety. The start-up aims to take the technology to all parts of the country, thereby transforming the parameters of rail safety.

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