«CASCADE» integrated automated system for combinatorial data analysis

«CASCADE» is one of the subsystems of the operational infrastructure Condition Assessment and Forecasting System (Russian acronym - SOPS).The latter, in turn, is included in the United Corporate Automated Infrastructure Computer-Aided Management System (Russian acronym - EK ASUI). At the same time, this system may operate in stand-alone mode on the base of its own server.

«CASCADE» provides for joint processing of the information received by various automated inspection equipment: MFV, MTKP, KVL-P track geometry vehicles, TsNII-4 track inspection stations, «INTEGRAL» and «ERA» diagnostic systems.

The primary outcome of such processing is a comprehensive multi-factor analysis and assessment of rail track condition and its variation in time. All unstable and problematic sections are revealed in timely fashion, highlighting high probabilities of an abrupt deterioration of the track condition or an impending failure. In its turn, revealing marginal conditions makes it possible to forecast the appearance of track failures and defects and to schedule the appropriate preventive measures ensuring operability. Finally, one may reveal the track sections, which most require repair.

All information dealt with by «CASCADE» is displayed in the form of standard (preset) and arbitrary graphic forms. These graphic forms serve as one of the primary tools for comprehensive assessment of railway track conditions and maintenance presenting these parameters statically, dynamically and in the form of a forecast. Management decisions made on the basis of such multiple factor analysis are also presented graphically.

All tasks are performed by «CASCADE» according to modern methods of analysis, assessment and forecasting of the railway track and infrastructure facilities material condition developed jointly by TVEMA and VNIIZHT specialists.

In its functions and purposes, CASCADE software suite is the Russian counterpart of such systems as Railgraph, ЕNSСO, TIPS, TDSS from US, Tracs from Netherlands, TMS from Canada, Ecotrack from the EU, IRISsys from Germany and IFS from Sweden.

«SW INTEGRAL» integration suite of software

Various inspection and diagnostic systems are employed in track monitoring. Each system performs a particular function and hence, uses its own utilities for data acquisition, -processing, and -display. Unifying this information variety into a standardised, generally comprehensible layout can considerably increase the efficiency of inspection management.

This problem can be solved using a unique product from TVEMA, SW INTEGRAL integration suite of software solutions. It facilitates centralised monitoring of the condition and operation of all subsystems functioning in the general inspection system from any workplace. It also enables in a centralised manner the launch and halt of their operation.

The system provides simultaneous recording, viewing, processing and analysis of signals and data acquired by the various inspection devices.

First of all, information is given about the current condition of the entire system itself, namely, records of survey video cameras, which are monitoring the operation of all subsystems and devices and the situation around them. Rectified (corrected) information on the location and movement of the system in space is given by means of the input from the inertial measurement system.

The information on the rail defects and the roadbed condition comes, respectively, from the surface flaw detector and the georadar. Processed as well is the information from the thermal imaging system on catenary hot points and the records of linear cameras, which are visually detecting defects in rails, clamps, and sleepers. 3D cameras provide high-speed, contactless monitoring of track geometry.

Finally, GLONASS/GPS system and equipment provides the results of speed and travel measurements, as well as the information required for referencing to track and geographic coordinates. This information is broadcast to all devices integrated in the system.

«SW INTEGRAL» provides data monitoring both in the course of logging and in processed form. The monitoring algorithm provides convenient sectional search according to various criteria. The data export mechanism is not less convenient; an operator may forward data to selected destinations or move it into external storage either in the full scope or having selected the necessary sections and subsystems.

«SW INTEGRAL» system comprises a server part and automated operators' workstations. All workstations are peer, and their number and locations are determined only by application convenience. Any combination of data screens may be retrieved from any workstation integrated in the system.

The server part consists of different data recording and processing modules.All this modules are operating in concordance. This kind of architecture allows any required functional extension of the system by merely adding modules. This is provided by a unique setup system allowing an operator to add new devices via a simple user-friendly interface. The concordant operation of all modules is preserved in any case.

«ASTRA» software and hardware suite for semi-automatic analysis of NDT&TD data

TVEMA has developed «ASTRA» software and hardware suite for semi-automatic analysis of NDT&TD data which is intended for automatic recognition of defects in the rails and switch components, as well as the measurement of additional parameters which describe the condition of inspected item. «ASTRA» also provides monitoring based on the non-destructive testing technology (NDT) and technical diagnostics (TD) of the rails and switch components in operating conditions.

«ASTRA» SW and HW suite provides the following functions:

• automatic analysis of the measurement information received from various NDT and TD systems;

• evaluation of the diagnostic systems and personnel performance;

• monitoring of the inspection technology compliance;

• rating for rails and switch components;

• classification, storage and transmission of inspection results for further analysis by automated analytical systems (the employment of CASCADE module provides planning of the condition-based maintenance of the railway infrastructure);

• evaluation of the condition of rail facilities (PU-32d);

• generate defectogram.

«ASTRA» SH and HW suite accepts all file formats generated from mobile and manual inspection devices of the TVEMA Group. It is also capable, by built-in converters, to process the formats of diverse inspection equipment from third parties.

When in the mode of automatic decoding, the suite evaluates and displays analytical processed B-Scans from mass storage or actually recorded frames, according to preset criteria.In the mode of superimposing with the track layout data it displays B-Scan and analysis results together with track and rail information. The latter function is available by integration of «CASCADE» monitoring system. «CASCADE» sends to «ASTRA» a package of data comprising railway track information, which includes the rail register and the log-book records. Based on previous inspection records, this information includes deviations from layouted track geometry and results of field inspection.

The network version of «ASTRA» suite can work round the clock performing all tasks in an automatic mode. The report on operations performed is recorded in the suite manager, where an expert may view the crucial areas classified by hazard thresholds. When reviewing the marks on crucial areas, the last marks are assigned the status: not inspected, inspected, marked hazardous. The marks are linked to a corresponding area. The suite can also display a report about the quality of the rail inspection, which indicates: rail defects, not recorded bolt holes, areas of missing rail flange signal and areas with no acoustic contact in compliance with an extract from PU-2A log. «ASTRA» provides acoustic contact quality analysis.

«ASTRA» SW and HW suite performs automated analysis of defectograms and generates the data package for export to «CASCASE» monitoring system.

The analysis data package includes:

• the protocol of crucial areas revealed by the software and marks assigned by an expert;

• the protocol of not recorded bolt holes;

• the protocol of missing flange signals;

• the protocols of no acoustic contact areas;

• the protocol of areas with inspection technology violations (channel setup, speed mode, manual operation of piezoelectric transducers by NDT bogie operators, etc.);

• the protocol of inspection run synchronisation data (GPS, benchmark points and areas);

• the protocol of track sections not inspected;

• the protocol of inspection run file integral status index;

• report forms and logs.

Employment of «ASTRA» should provide the following results:

• reduced costs for track repairs related to rail breakage due to defects skipped by operator and/or decoder;

• reduced time, labour and material expenditures for data analysis;

• optimisation on periodicity of on-the-fly rail control;

• reduced losses due to violation of traffic schedule;

• automatic generation of basic management and analytical reports for upper-level automated systems;

• building a common technological database on the condition of rail facilities;

• introduction of comprehensive rail/switch component monitoring and diagnostics.

In 2011, «ASTRA» SW and HW suite successfully passed acceptance tests at ОАО «RZD» and has been approved for the implementation on the railway networks.