Track IQ has installed some 59 RailBAM systems throughout the world. RailBAM has proven to be a reliable system with a number of major railroad companies making multiple and repeat purchases. The RailBAM system provides reliable and repeatable data that is used in managing railway wheel bearing maintenance for both fault trending and emergency withdrawal from service.
The implementation of a Bearing Acoustic Monitor may also result in a reduction of the number of traditional bearing fault detection systems being used – for example Thermal Hot Box Detection systems.
The principle of operation is based on identifiable sound characteristics emitted by bearing and wheel impact faults. A bearing fault excites structural response of the bearing components that radiate sound characteristics of the bearing fault signature. Proprietary signal processing techniques allow the bearing fault signal to be extracted from the structural noise, enabling fault identification and classification. An acoustic array gives greatly improved spatial discrimination ("directionality"). De-cross talking using the measured wheel-array geometry and acoustic propagation physics reduces, in software, the influence of a large fault on one axle from the reading of a small fault on an adjacent axle.
Running surface and roller defects, “acoustic” wheel flats, loose/fretting or back-face wear are examples of faults routinely and reliably identified and ranked by the RailBAM System.
The RailBAM System applies to both Package and Axle Box Bearings of all load classes and all bearing manufacturers. Bearings with developing faults have been monitored and trended for more than 300,000 kilometres, although it must be stressed that bearing condition can deteriorate rapidly and it is the rate of change in fault level that is as important as the presence of a severe fault itself. Graded severity fault levels have been determined from a series of test trains with known seeded faults as well as from practical usage of the system and feedback from fleet operators. This has led to a reliable process for isolation and trending of severe and developing bearing faults. These can be optimised to meet the client’s trending/operational goals.
The RailBAM System is designed for remote use in extreme conditions, therefore requiring minimal ongoing inspection and maintenance. Systems are installed and operational in hot arid zones within Australia as well as the extremes of cold temperatures in North America and China.
RailBAM has an autonomous self-monitoring capability to ensure that the site hardware is functioning correctly. If there is a fault identified during “self-monitoring”, an automatic alarm is raised and sent to the system maintainer by email. This allows the site maintainer to have a good understanding of what the exact problem is before going to site, thus reducing time on site.