Rail vehicle maintenance
going to a digital station
data collection from a range of other components. The system can also produce
a track condition map, with faults located,
identified and recorded with unrivalled
The Multilog IMx-Rail system can also be
integrated with SKF's cloud-based data
storage and sharing services and SKF's remote diagnostics services. Its versatility,
combined with SKF's expertise in monitoring rotating components in a wide range
of industries, enables rapid analysis and
prioritisation in rolling stock maintenance
Tested on the track
In rail transport, time is the decisive economic factor.
Many industries have long used condition-based maintenance (CBM), where parameters such as vibration and temperature are measured to detect anomalies at an
early stage. The monitoring aspect is
commonly referred to as condition monitoring.
Historically, the principle of maintenance in the rail sector has been to service
trains on a time or mileage basis. While
this approach has been used successfully
for many years, it does not take into
account whether the components actually require replacement. Inspections can
only be carried out when trains are not in
motion and servicing operations require
the prolonged shutdown of rolling stock
or interruption of operations on the line.
With an ageing fleet and increasing demands on train availability, maintenance
costs remain one of the sector's biggest
Thanks to significant innovations and the
availability of technology, CBM maintenance is increasingly being used. Digitalization significantly helps in maintenance
T+T T e c h n i k a a t r h 5/ 2 0 2 3
and can enable customers to extend maintenance intervals. This can produce benefits for train availability, for example.
The less time rolling stock spends in service, the more it can be used to transport
passengers or freight, which is important
at a time when the sector is facing increasing pressure on demand. It can also help
to reduce overall life cycle costs and spare parts management by providing early
warning through assembly-free diagnostics of potential risks and accidents.
SKF has combined CBM maintenance
with its expertise in bearings and other
components to create a version of its extraordinarily successful Multilog IMx platform for the rail sector. This latest innovation combines rolling stock and track
condition monitoring in a single, easily customisable solution.
The next step in the digitalisation
Multilog IMx-Rail is a multi-channel, online, disassembly-free diagnostics system
that uses new rail-certified components.
This next step in the digitalisation of trains
allows operators to implement conditionbased maintenance that helps reduce total cost of ownership, increase availability,
reduce unplanned downtime and extend
The Multilog IMx-Rail can be implemented during the production stage as well as
the retrofit stage. It provides early warnings of potential problems with rolling
stock rotating parts such as wheel bearings, gearboxes and motors, and enables
The Multilog IMx-Rail system is already
proving its capabilities in operation. A typical example of an application on a standard commercial train is the mounting of
an autonomous system of sensors and
electronics on one of the vehicle chassis.
During daily operation, the system measures and records acceleration and vibration
signals, then processes the data and sends
all data wirelessly to a remote collection
point where the incoming information can
trigger the desired action.
A specialised software system, also provided by SKF, then uses sophisticated algorithms to analyse the sensor data, as
well as information on the position and
operating status of the train. A software
system called "@ptitude Observer" identifies, locates and accurately records abnormalities on the railway line that may cause
wear or damage to train wheels, passenger discomfort or noise in particular sections of the line. The maintenance staff can
then use the information to start a more
detailed inspection of the designated section of track.
The Multilog IMx-Rail system not only
helps operators assess the condition of
wheels and rails, but also allows them to
identify vibrations caused by other train
problems, such as bearing failures. This
approach is already being used by operators around the world to help them prevent breakdowns and optimise rolling
stock maintenance schedules.
As rail traffic grows, so does the importance of digitalisation and maintenancefree diagnostics solutions such as Multilog
IMx-Rail. Their implementation helps to
increase the efficiency and operability of