The Schaeffler Group has created an award-winning Train Support System out of its Generator Sensor Bearing (GSB). This unique, onboard unit allows the recording of information relevant to the condition of wheelsets, rail tracks and bearings, and sends the data to a higher level control system.
The evaluated information forms the basis for repair and maintenance actions and is critical for railway supervisory systems, including online timetable generation, localization, risk and process analysis, routing and others.
The Train Support System is a recipient of the Intelligence for Transportation and Logistics innovation award from the Center for Transportation & Logistics Neuer Adler e.V (CNA) in Germany.
The company’s axlebox bearing was used with an integrated GSB as the self-sustaining source of energy in rail freight wagons. Schaeffler designed the software and system electronics and incorporated them in the GSB to form an onboard unit.
Just like a dynamo, the GSB induces the needed electric power through the rotating movement of permanent magnets situated on the wheel axle. The power is usually around 100W at a nominal voltage of 24V. Hence, an independent, self-sustaining energy source is at hand, which offers additional functions via an electric storage unit, such as the detection of sensors and switches or the automatic opening of doors.
For the Train Support System, the company has upgraded the GSB with an advanced electronic system into an onboard unit and connected it with a higher-level information management system, enabling not only the processing and recording of signals in the bearing, but also the transmission of data via GPS satellite technology.