BRAKE - Self Powered Train Brake Force Measurement
with Wireless Communication
Recent events in the train industry, such as the Amtrak Acela® brake problems, and the Amagasaki train disaster in Japan, have highlighted a need to monitor train brake force. Under a Department of Transportation Small Business Innovation Research Phase I contract, Midé Technology Corporation is developing a novel brake force measurement system for freight train brakes, which could easily be applied to passenger trains as well. The system will provide its own power by means of a piezoelectric energy harvester (utilizing Mide's standard piezoelectric transducer technology) that will use the train's vibrations during normal operation to charge its batteries. During braking events, the system will turn itself on, record the appropriate data, and then wirelessly transmit that data to a central hub where it can then be retrieved wirelessly.
Railroad Freight car safety and maintenance costs are directly related to knowledge of the actual braking force provided by a brake shoe. If the brake force is too low, safety is at risk. If the brake shoe is replaced before the end of it's lifetime to ensure safety, maintenance and thus operating costs are increased.
A self-powered system that monitors the individual braking shoe forces will not only improve safety and decrease maintenance costs but may also lead to additional benefits such as recording of brake usage on specific routes or operators that will allow for shoe design optimization. Also, weighted comparisons of brake shoe performance from different manufacturers could be performed to determine which ones are better. Additionally this system could assist with troubleshooting mechanical problems specific to each brake assembly.
For more information:
Please contact Chris Ludlow (Products), or call: 781-306-0609 x227