Monitoring of hot axle box bearing temperature

On-board Monitoring System for Bearing Temperatures

On-board Monitoring System for Bearing Temperatures
The monitoring of hot axle box bearing temperature by on-board monitoring systems improves train safety by detecting wheelset bearings about to fail.
WHY MEASURE BEARING TEMPERATURE

Failed bearings on rolling stocks present important safety risks, potentially leading to catastrophic events such as derailment or fire.

A rise in the heat generated by a bearing is found to be a good predictive diagnostic of a bearing about to fail. Thus, monitoring the hot axle box bearing temperature enables detection of bearings presenting a risk of failure. Acceptable temperatures and temperature variations are set: any value deviating from the norms will trigger alarms and, potentially, actions to guarantee safety.


HABD Vs ONBOARD MONITORING

The European standard EN 15437 deals with interface and design requirements for Axle box condition monitoring. The standard is divided in two, Part 1 describing bearing temperature measurement by trackside Hot Axle box Detectors (HABDs). Part 2 describes the monitoring of hot axle box bearing temperature by on-board systems.

Icon Standard   EN 15437-1: Railway applications - Axle box condition monitoring – Interface and design requirements - Part 1: Track side equipment and rolling stock axle box

Icon Standard   EN 15437-2: Railway applications - Axle box condition monitoring – Interface and design requirements - Part 2: Performance and design requirements of on-board systems for temperature monitoring


The illustration below depicts two methods to monitor the bearing temperature, one by onboard equipment (A), the other by by trackside equipment (B).

On-board monitoring of axle box bearing temperature

EN 15437 refers to temperature monitoring of the axle box but also specify that the rolling bearing itself can be monitored directly. The most common setup up is to monitor the hot axle box temperature. The temperature sensors monitor the hot axle box temperature (more precisely, the grease temperature) at all times, and the train computer issues warnings if the measurements vary from the normal.

On-board monitoring overcomes number of limitations of the HABD trackside systems. Firstly, the temperature monitoring is continuous whereas track equipment only measure at one point in time, when the train passes by. Also, the track equipment is used for all trains with no possibility to develop specific solution depending on the train type, bogie design, bearing property, and so on while the on-board system can be tailored to match the train characteristics.



SAFETY INTEGRITY LEVEL (SIL)

On-board monitoring of axle box bearing temperature is a safety critical function commonly developed as SIL-2, providing probabilistic risk reduction factor from 10-6 to 10-7. SIL stands for Safety Integrity Level and is a concept defined in the IEC 61508 standard. For the rail industry, the CENELEC has developed the EN 50126, EN 50128 and EN 50129 standards. For more information on SIL, please visit our dedicated page here.

 

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