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DB InfraGO Relies on connect@rail from ZF

New order for connect@rail: DB InfraGO AG uses the condition monitoring system for 711.1-series vehicles.

DB InfraGO Relies on connect@rail from ZF

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.

Alan Dittrich, Head of Digital Solutions, Rail Drive Systems at ZF, said:

“Basically, these vehicles are mobile machines or repair facilities on rails.”

All the necessary equipment is onboard to repair damage to the overhead contact lines. But what if these railcars themselves unexpectedly fail?
Dittrich said:

“Then there may be a domino effect that can affect scheduled operations.”

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.
Strong Partners, Strong Rail

This is ZF’s sixth order from Deutsche Bahn and its subsidiaries. The successful cooperation to date has also brought ZF in contact with DB InfraGO.

Alan Dittrich said:

“This order shows one thing above all: Our system is making a name for itself at DB and its subsidiaries. And it proves that connect@rail is suitable for a wide variety of fleet types and applications.”

Max Schwarzer, Project Manager Telematics Equipment, Machine Pool & Track Measurement at DB InfraGO, said:

“The connect@rail system has already demonstrated its added value elsewhere at DB. With ZF, we have found a strong technology partner that supports us in efficiently maintaining our infrastructure.”

The initial order volume comprises ten vehicles. The first two of these will begin service as early as mid-2024. The aim is to equip the entire DB InfraGO fleet with connect@rail.

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