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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Damage detection: Using vibration monitoring to pick up signs of wear

The Engineer
Feb 20, 2012

Eight of the 16 axles on a Desiro train are driven by their own motor

Siemens is reaping the benefits of using vibration monitoring to pick up signs of wear to the bearings of train traction motors. Stuart Nathan reports

Keeping Britain’s trains running is a concern close to the hearts of a very large proportion of the working population and Siemens, supplier of many of the trains on the UK’s rail network, takes it very seriously. Condition monitoring is an important part of the toolkit.

The company has recently begun using an innovative technique to pick up signs of wear to the bearings of its train traction motors, enabling it to overhaul the motor before it breaks down and saving both time and money.

’If we can detect signs of wear to traction motor bearings, we can repair or replace that motor at our own convenience before more significant damage occurs,’ explained Peter Ridgway, production support engineer at Siemens Mobility, Rolling Stock. ’The cost of repairing a damaged traction motor would be many times the cost of a standard overhaul.’

The method used by Siemens is vibration monitoring, which is becoming more widespread within the industry. The company turned to specialist Schaeffler - which Ridgway found on an Internet search - to solve a problem that had arisen in the traction motors of its Desiro electrical trains.

Desiro trains normally comprise four coaches, each with two bogies that hold two axles. On each train, eight axles are driven via their own asynchronous traction motor.


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