Manfred Arndt
voestalpine SIGNALING
Co-author: Peter Boom, Principal Consultant – voestalpine SIGNALING
Speaking on 22 November during the Wayside Train Monitoring Systems sessions


Manfred Arndt
voestalpine SIGNALING

Application of Diagnostic Monitoring Solutions for advanced management of rail assets; follow smart structures to implement true modular solutions for more economic asset management

For optimizing asset management on a day-to-day basis it’s important to design a strategy. But which strategy to follow? The first step is about fixing the objectives. Will one lay focus on optimising costs and availability, or on reducing risks and environmental impact? For achieving a higher availability it’s important to implement condition based maintenance for assets that are crucial to the core business process. Monitoring of utilisation and status of the assets is a prerequisite to this.

Nature has often proven to be a good teacher. Realising this, we have created a new modular structure of railway diagnostic and monitoring technologies. Employing the honeycomb principle allowed us a simple and cost effective design.

Applied to technology this means for the users:

  • Simplicity: applications (ways of using the data and information) and functions (diagnostic and monitoring of behavior of assets) combine easily
  • Flexibility: structure is modular and expandable
  • Cost efficiency: synergy is achieved through common components


Today’s railway infrastructure contains a wide range of measurement systems. Monitoring and alarming are core functions for many infrastructure managers. Collection of big data, deriving from many different systems, registering multiple train passages a day and showing information about different aspects of safety, performance and technical status of rolling stock vehicles. Separately fixed asset monitoring technologies can be installed, producing data about status and performance of infrastructure assets like point machines, point heating systems, level crossings, etc.
Combining data sets and using algorithms, applications can be added for advanced analysis and decision support. Measurements will be transformed to information in the right format, to the right person at the time it’s needed.

Following the honeycomb principle, a structure can be build, starting with a basic investment in a function most needed. This fundament has the ability to incorporate additional functions, as plug and play solutions. Over time the system can grow in a natural way, by adding new functions and applications.

The proposed structure has two layers:

  • The wayside layer: on trackside different sensors can be installed and optionally combined with automatic vehicle identification to liaise measurements with train operators and their rolling stock
  • The information layer: an architecture composed of intuitive and web based software applications for daily diagnosis and management of assets which at the same time provide information for long term business improvements.

Creating these structures systems of different brands can be integrated, still having the ability to present information to the end users in a homogeneous way.
And as measurement data will be presented to the rightful users only (by applying ring fencing techniques) the structure can be of benefit to multiple players in a more and more fragmented railway industry: infra managers, train operators, rolling stock owners and private maintainers.

Some use cases will be presented at the conference.

View the topics of discussion and the speakers for each individual theme:

We look forward to welcoming you in Naples between 22 – 24 November for the Intelligent Rail Summit. 

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