Giuseppe Aurisicchio, Measuring Trains and Systems – MER MEC S.p.A
Measuring and Inspecting Switches & Crossings with the “SICS Approach”
Switches and Crossings (S&C) play an essential role in connecting the rail network and, represent one of the most crucial parts of any railway network. In fact their specific complexity exposes them to several defects; this is confirmed also on statistical base, by the high percentage of railways infrastructure failures occurring in S&C. This means that they are accountable for a large portion of the M&R costs and additionally they can have a relevant impact on total maintenance works in terms of time and used resources.
Today the approach based on data measuring and collection is able to increase the amount of acquired data; but in order to allow a full understanding of the S&C current status as well as to provide capabilities to assess their behaviour, it is essential to turn data into information. “Turn data into information” means an efficient and effective usage of collected data; in the past the measures of parameters, the data collection and the maintenance planning were used in isolated, and even parallel, processes.
Today the need of an integrated approach, enabling a convergence of processes belonging to different sectors such as monitoring, signalling and maintenance engineering, has been recognized. S&C are a good example of convergence because they are made by mechanical and electrical components and thus involving different maintenance and planning competences. Measure of complete and integrated set of parameters, analysis of parameters correlations, accurate identification of possible failures, determination of systematic maintenance operations help to identify both the most critical situations and the related failure processes and support a better approach for preventive maintenance.
MER MEC proposal is based on a more comprehensive and advanced approach that is defined as “SICS approach” (Synchronization/Integration of measured data, Correlation for measures and defects, Statistics on “Big Data”), an integrated and holistic approach overcoming all the limitations of the traditional approach and giving the high advantage to support the implementation of International Standards and to increase up to the top the safety of S&C.
Benefits of the SICS approach include the S&C automatic measurement of all the typical parameters, detection of defects, correlation of data and information, statistics on “big data” and finally the generation of an optimized planning for the maintenance works, made thank to the support of a dedicated decision support system.