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Advanced Train Maintenance with Digital Solutions

Industrial Automation, IoT, Railway

Maintaining the operational efficiency and safety of train fleets is a critical aspect of railway operations. In every country, trains require regular inspections, typically after a certain distance or time they have travelled. To address this challenge, railway companies employ a range of professionals who work around the clock to ensure the technical functions of their trains, including exterior cleaning. The ongoing digitization of this maintenance process has introduced numerous advantages, reducing the workload and time on staff and securing the railway's operational capabilities facing also a shortage of skilled workers.

Digital solutions are reshaping train maintenance processes, leading to significant improvements in capacity, passenger experience, train availability, and punctuality. These innovations streamline inspection and maintenance procedures and provide valuable data for predictive maintenance. 

Automated Wheelset Inspection

One of the emerging technologies revolutionizing train maintenance is a automated wheelset inspection system. This system can be installed at access points within the railway yards and captures the profile data of train wheelsets, which are the most stressed components. A laser scanner precisely measures the wheelset profiles, while additional sensors detect irregularities during wheelset rotation, such as flats or deviations. This data are automatically transmitted to the workshop, enabling rapid defect resolution. The system increases workshop capacity by conducting inspections at the entrance, leading to increased inspection frequency and better data for predictive maintenance.

Underfloor Robots

To further enhance maintenance, underfloor robots have emerged as a promising solution. These mobile, low-profile devices are placed between the tracks and travel beneath the train. Equipped with cameras, they capture the condition of the undercarriage, including bolts and access panels, and transmit this data to a central system. Using AI (Artificial Intelligence), the images are compared with ideal conditions to detect potential issues. This inspection can also extend beyond workshops to storage tracks, optimizing space utilization. The development of these robots is ongoing alongside other innovations in various railway facilities.

AI-Powered Camera Gates

Talking about AI, deploying AI-powered camera gates is another valuable tool in train maintenance. These light construction gates are equipped with multiple high-definition and fast-operating cameras and can be positioned at any railway entrance or along tracks allowing trains to drive through even in higher speed. As trains pass through these gates, the train's surface gets examined and AI automatically analyzes the images for damages. This technology significantly reduces the time required for manual inspections of train conditions, even identifying issues like paint damage and graffiti. What used to take hours to inspect with the human eye can now be completed in a matter of minutes.


The combination of these three innovative technologies yields significant benefits for train maintenance:

1. Efficiency: Reduction in manual labor hours and faster inspection processes lead to efficient use of maintenance personnel and resources.

2. Increased Capacity: The streamlined processes and automated inspections increase workshop capacity, ensuring more trains can be maintained in less time.

3. Enhanced Passenger Experience: Shorter turnaround times for trains in the workshop result in improved train availability and punctuality, ultimately benefiting passengers.

4. Cost Savings: Automation reduces operational costs associated with maintenance, ultimately leading to cost savings for railway operators.

How can SYSGO help?

As a provider of real-time operating systems (RTOS) and secure software solutions, SYSGO can play a crucial role in enhancing the use case of advanced train maintenance with digital solutions. Here are several areas where SYSGO's expertise and solutions can fit in:

  1. Safety-Critical Operating Systems: SYSGO's PikeOS RTOS is designed for safety-critical and real-time applications. In the context of train maintenance, where safety is paramount, this operating system can be employed to ensure the reliability and fault tolerance of the embedded systems in automated inspection tools like the automated wheelset inspection system and underfloor robots. PikeOS can provide a secure and predictable execution environment, critical for accurate data collection and safe operation.
  2. Security: In a connected railway maintenance ecosystem, where data is transmitted between various systems and the central maintenance center, cybersecurity is vital. SYSGO can provide secure communication protocols and help protect against cyber threats, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of maintenance data.
  3. Predictive Maintenance: SYSGO's expertise in real-time and embedded systems can be leveraged to develop and implement predictive maintenance algorithms. By analyzing data collected from various inspection tools, SYSGO's software solutions can help predict when maintenance is required, reducing the likelihood of unexpected breakdowns and optimizing maintenance schedules.
  4. Remote Monitoring and Control: SYSGO's solutions can enable remote monitoring and control of automated inspection systems. Maintenance personnel can access real-time data and control systems remotely, reducing the need for physical presence at the inspection sites. This not only enhances operational efficiency but also minimizes risks associated with on-site inspections.
  5. Interoperability: SYSGO can assist in ensuring that the various components of the maintenance ecosystem can seamlessly communicate and integrate with each other. This interoperability is essential for the efficient flow of data and coordination of maintenance activities.
  6. Enhanced Flexibility and Customization: SYSGO's ELinOS embedded Linux distribution offers a high degree of flexibility and customization options. This allows railway companies to tailor their digital maintenance solutions precisely to their specific needs and infrastructure. Whether it's adapting the user interface, integrating additional sensors or functionalities, or aligning the software with unique operational requirements, ELinOS provides the versatility to optimize and evolve the maintenance process over time. 

Outlook into the Future

As technology continues to advance, the railway industry is poised for even more significant improvements in train maintenance. Innovations like predictive maintenance algorithms, remote monitoring, and further integration of AI are expected to play a vital role in enhancing efficiency and reducing downtime. The future of train maintenance promises a more reliable and passenger-centric rail transportation system, underlining the role of digitization in the railway industry.

SYSGO's expertise in real-time operating systems, security, certification, and predictive maintenance can significantly enhance the effectiveness and reliability of digital solutions in advanced train maintenance. By providing a secure and reliable software foundation, SYSGO can contribute to the seamless operation of the technologies mentioned in the use case, ultimately leading to improved train maintenance efficiency and safety. This adaptability ensures that the digital solutions can keep pace with changing technology and operational demands in the dynamic railway industry.

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