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DB InfraGO equips ten 711.1-series vehicles with ZF condition monitoring system.


New order for connect@rail: DB InfraGO AG uses the condition monitoring system for 711.1-series vehicles. These models help to maintain the infrastructure of the overhead contact lines. ZF's digital condition monitoring system detects damage to the wheel tires on trains at an early stage. The ability to plan repairs in advance facilitates the smooth operation of the maintenance railcars. The order volume initially covers ten out of the 22 vehicles in the existing fleet. The first two vehicles are expected to be in service from the third quarter of 2024.

Where there is no electricity, there are usually no trains either. Around 60 percent of the German rail network is electrified. So it is important for DB InfraGO to maintain the power lines regularly. The 711.1-series maintenance vehicles are used for this purpose.

"Basically, these vehicles are mobile machines or repair facilities on rails," explains Alan Dittrich, Head of Digital Solutions, Rail Drive Systems at ZF. All the necessary equipment is onboard to repair damage to the overhead contact lines. But what if these railcars themselves unexpectedly fail? "Then there may be a domino effect that can affect scheduled operations," Dittrich continues.

connect@rail helps prevent this from happening. This year, ZF's digital condition monitoring system will be installed in several vehicles in the DB InfraGO maintenance fleet. There, it detects damage to the wheels at an early stage, thus enabling predictive maintenance of the trains.

Digital power for comprehensive wheel monitoring
The connect@rail application in the 711.1 series focuses on so-called flat spots and shelling on the wheels. Due to these defects, the wheel becomes "out of round" and no longer rolls evenly over the rail, generating vibrations. In the future, these defects will be detected and rectified at an early stage to prevent any consequential damage.

Running smoothly: How connect@rail works
For connect@rail, ZF mounts Heavy Duty TAGs on the wheelset bearing cover or on the bogie. There, the Bluetooth-based sensors record acceleration data on the wheel, transmit it to a ZF telematics gateway and then via Ethernet to a DB gateway. Here, the information is collated and sorted. Combined with GPS data from the DB vehicle antenna, this data is transferred to the ZF cloud for final evaluation. A customer-specific dashboard visualizes this analysis in a user-friendly way for DB InfraGO. Based on this information, necessary maintenance work can now be planned in advance. ZF is the only supplier in the market to supply not only the final analysis, but also the raw data to its project partners.

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