Predictive Maintenance

Condition monitoring in plain text and real time

How can higher average speeds, greater operating performance and longer maintenance intervals be achieved while also increasing operating reliability? With condition monitoring in plain text and real time, Schaeffler has developed technologies for future train generations.

The first prototypes of the new CM system by Schaeffler were first tested successfully in high speed trains in 2015.

Sutton Coldfield, UK. 5th December 2016. Precision bearing manufacturer Schaeffler has developed a concept for a condition monitoring system (CMS) with intelligent software and a connection to the Cloud for digital, real time monitoring of bogies in passenger trains. By evaluating this data, higher average speeds, greater operating performance and longer maintenance intervals can be achieved for future train generations, while also improving operating reliability.

The compact sensor units, which are specifically developed for rail applications, are used to measure structure-borne sound, temperatures and speeds on the axlebox bearings. This enables the detection of damage to axlebox components such as rolling bearing defects or imbalanced wheel rims. In addition, on a motorised bogie frame, the drive motor and gearbox can be monitored using vibration measurements. A processor unit converts the raw measurement data into parameters, which reduces the volume of data that must be transmitted. This data is then analysed automatically, either in the Schaeffler Cloud or in a local entity and displayed as plain text. Unlike a conventional CMS, the customer does not need to possess vibration-specific expertise or skills to perform manual evaluations. The operator or maintenance technician is connected to the Cloud and can monitor the condition of individual axlebox bearings and even entire axleboxes and bogies.

Up to six sensor units can transmit their signals to the processor unit that processes the raw data into parameters. These can be analysed in the vehicle or in the Cloud.

The operator or maintenance technician is connected to the Cloud and can monitor the condition of individual axlebox bearings, including entire axleboxes and bogies.

The combined sensors record temperature, vibration and speed and were originally developed by Schaeffler for use in German and Chinese trains.

New digital service: load-based calculation of grease service life
In addition, Schaeffler is also providing a new digital service for real time, load-based calculation of grease service life. Depending on the train operator, train type and region, after around one million kilometres in service, axlebox bearings are removed, inspected, cleaned, greased and re-installed. To date, operational impacts have only been taken into consideration in the maintenance intervals as general safety factors. Now, as a result of Schaeffler’s digital service grease service life calculation, for the first time, these safety factors or unused reserves can now be utilised. In combination with other data from the CMS, rail operators can now potentially achieve longer maintenance intervals and better operating performance by closely monitoring the actual loads on the axlebox bearings during operations.

‘Hot box’ detection to SIL2 standards
Measurement of bearing temperatures by the combined sensor unit fulfils the requirements of SIL2 standards that are relevant to rail sector operations. This means that the temperature signals can also be used by the CMS to reliably detect and alert operators to a ‘hot box’ condition. The term ‘hot box’ refers to the external heating up of an axlebox bearing. The development of the combined sensor was in line with EN 15437-2 standards on “Performance and design requirements of on-board systems for temperature monitoring.”

For more information, please contact Schaeffler UK’s Communications & Marketing Department on

Digital service from Schaeffler: operators can utilise the load-based calculation of grease service life to achieve longer maintenance intervals and better operating performance.

About Schaeffler
The Schaeffler Group is a leading global integrated automotive and industrial supplier. The company stands for the highest quality, outstanding technology, and strong innovative ability. The Schaeffler Group makes a key contribution to “Mobility for tomorrow” with high-precision components and systems in engine, transmission, and chassis applications as well as rolling and plain bearing solutions for a large number of industrial applications. The technology company generated sales of approximately EUR 13.2 billion in 2015. With around 85,000 employees, Schaeffler is one of the world’s largest family companies and, with approximately 170 locations in over 50 countries, has a worldwide network of manufacturing locations, research and development facilities, and sales companies.

Dean Palmer, Director, SilverBullet PR Ltd, Stamford, Lincolnshire, UK.
Tel. 07703 023771

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