Two real pilots in Portugal and Sweden

Two real pilots (for roads and rail transport systems) will be used to validate and demonstrate the results of INFRALERT research activities. In both cases, extensive data from auscultation campaigns are available since some years ago. The empirical development of the whole project will be based on these pilot cases.

Road demonstration at Portugal

The road network from Infraestruturas de Portugal will act as the test pilot for the road infrastructure application of INFRALERT concept. IP will provide the necessary resources for the project’s demonstration, by identifying several network clusters where the capabilities of INFRALERT system can be used and supporting the resolution of key problems such as:

  • Providing an accurate prediction of the road condition allowing a more realistic identification of maintenance needs
  • Supporting and validating the definition of maintenance plans, defining the proper balance between routine and correction interventions, seeking the maximisation of infrastructure performance (quality, availability, etc.) and minimising the budgetary needs
  • Supporting long-term strategic scenarios

All INFRALERT capabilities will be tested and compared with the current methods in use in IP, allowing a structured comparison between them and quantifying the INFRALERT benefits, especially while addressing the mentioned key problems. In particular, using the IP’s key performance indicators (KPI) in terms of road network performance (related to network overall quality, global maintenance costs or infrastructure availability), the performance and the impact of INFRALERT in terms of decisions and planning will be assessed.

Rail demonstration at Sweden

The demonstrator for railway infrastructure is under the responsibility of LTU which closely collaborate with Trafikverket (Swedish IM). This demonstrator will be in the Iron Ore Line called Malmbanan in northern Sweden which starts in Luleå and ends in Narvik (Norway). There run both, passenger and freight trains. The freight traffic consists primarily of heavy haul trains with axle loads of 22.5Tn and more. Running heavy-haul railway traffic in a mountainous area north of the Arctic Circle is a challenging task. The trains operate in harsh climate conditions, including snow in winter and extreme temperatures ranging from -45° to +25°. Besides, there are many tight curves along the track that undergo high wear.

Competition in the world market has forced the Swedish iron-ore mining company LKAB to make its transport chain more efficient. As a result, LKAB are now transporting iron-ore with an axle-load of 30Tn and at speeds of 60 km/h. Outside Luleå, LTU in collaboration with Trafikverket (Swedish IM) exploits, owns and manages two research stations to measure wheel-rail forces, both lateral and vertical, in curves between 400 m and 500 m radius. The information is collected in real-time and sent to the server of the eMaintenace lab in LTI where it is recorded. Since all these wheels are identified (properly tagged with unique IDs that identify all of them) may be relevant the evolution of these wheel profiles as a matter of degradation for both rolling stock and infrastructure. Data are available from 2007, including results from auscultation, track events, work orders, etc.

As most of the trains in that corridor are heavy haul trains and together with the harsh climatic conditions, the wear of the track is evident. Some of the trains are mounted with sensors in a pilot project by LTU and Svenska Kullagerfabriken (SKF). The load, temperature and vibration are transmitted in real-time to the servers of LTU in order to integrate this information in the maintenance programs not only for rolling stock operators but also for the infrastructure to provide information about bumpy or broken rails, amongst others.