Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Invention that can be easily retrofitted makes railway traffic safer

10.07.2014

A newly developed simple device helps in better locating trains on the rail network.

Train location systems traditionally work with track current circuits or loops, which make use of the short circuit established between the rails and the train’s axles. The electric current can however be disturbed by dirt or corrosion on the contact surfaces. The solution to this problem developed at the Offenburg University of Applied Sciences is now ready for testing under real life conditions.


A newly developed simple device helps in better locating trains on the rail network.

One of the central requirements in railway traffic is to always know whether a track segment is free or occupied by a train. Precise and robust localization of trains is essential to prevent serious accidents. At the same time, it allows a higher train frequency and thus a better use of the rail capacity. The more precise the localization of the trains, the shorter the distance between trains can be.

The process developed at the Offenburg University of Applied Sciences allows a more reliable determination of the track usage. Until now the position of trains was mostly determined by so-called track current loops. The steel wheels and axles of a train generate appropriate signals by means of the short circuit created between the two rails.

The layer of rust and dirt that develops on the rails over time represents a problem for this process. Furthermore, problems are encountered when locomotives are used across national borders because the wheels, due to the different profiles used in different countries, may not be touching the rail track head in a position, where the rail is kept clean through constant usage.

Professor Peter Hildenbrand of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Offenburg University of Applied Sciences, developed an innovative solution to this issue.

The new process achieves the necessary voltage drop which acts as signal for the control system by creating sparks which are capable of penetrating potentially isolating dirt layers. The device which creates the sparks (electrodes, control, power supply etc.) is mounted on the railway carriage. 

Implementing the present invention allows the continued use of the widely implemented track current loops without the need for any modifications. There is no need to make costly changes to the track network, as is the case with inductive track monitoring systems, nor is there a need for substantial investments as is the case with GPS based systems. In the latter case, the reception depends on weather conditions, tunnels and stations and therefore necessitates costly supplementary solutions.

The costs associated with this robust and reliable system are very low and the retro-fitting of older railway stock is simple. The design is uncomplicated so that trains and carriages can be retrofitted easily. The component parts of the system are robust and already proven in other applications, for example the car industry. In addition, the device is independent of the electricity network. Electricity is being supplied by batteries and thus the system remains operational even when the train is stationary and there is no power supply.

In a more integrated Europe with increased rail traffic across national borders, the fact that locomotives do not have to be changed at the border represents an enormous time and cost saving. For this reason, TLB was keen to seek patent protection not only in Germany but also in France and Great Britain.

TLB assists the Offenburg University of Applied Sciences in the commercialisation and marketing of the invention and currently seeks jointly with the inventor, Professor Hildenbrand, collaborators for the further development and licensees to test the system under real life conditions. Rail carriage manufacturers and enterprises involved in railway signaling technology are seen as likely candidates for such a collaboration.

The Offenburg University of Applied Sciences, which owns the rights to this invention, has charged the Technologie-Lizenz-Büro der Baden-Württembergischen Hochschulen (TLB) GmbH in Karlsruhe with the management of the patent rights and the commercialisation of the invention. TLB is now looking for suitable commercial partners and/or licensees and supports the university in the commercialisation and marketing of the innovation.
Further information is available by contacting Mr Emmerich Somlo Dipl. Ing., TLB-Innovations Manager on telephone +49 721 790 040 or via email esomlo@tlb.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.technologie-lizenz-buero.com
http://www.hs-offenburg.de/en/

Annette Siller | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht New players, standardization and digitalization for more rail freight transport
16.07.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht A helping (Sens)Hand
11.04.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

When AI and optoelectronics meet: Researchers take control of light properties

20.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers use MRI to predict Alzheimer's disease

20.11.2018 | Medical Engineering

How to melt gold at room temperature

20.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>