Siemens Inventors Awarded for Innovative Railway Technology
Ralf Beyer and Peter Faubel are two of the twelve employees who have won the Siemens “Inventor of the Year 2014” award. Both are active in the field of railway technology and together have over 90 patents to their credit. Their clever ideas have spawned products that make the web-based maintenance of rail vehicles possible or which use wireless communication to optimize the power consumption of classification yards.
When it comes to maintaining rail vehicles, technicians have to deal with as many as 200 interlinked control devices from different manufacturers. Until now, technicians have had to carry up to 20 different cables on their maintenance assignments and have about 60 various software programs installed on their notebooks. Ralf Beyer, system architect at the Mobility Division in Erlangen, Germany, wanted to alleviate this situation with the aid of a web-based service for rail vehicles.
Ralf Beyer has now invented a web-based service for rail vehicles – a kind of virtual “drill”.
It was Beyer’s idea to import the software directly into the components of the vehicle control system. This eliminates the need for all those cables because it enables technicians to work with any web-capable mobile terminals to virtually “get inside” the individual components of the control system and take the diagnostics drill-down approach to get to the source of the problem – wirelessly and with only one program. This web-based service will be employed for the first time in the British Desiro City “Thameslink” fleets, in the new ICx high-speed trains for Deutsche Bahn (DB), and in the Desiro ÖBB multiple units for Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB).
Wireless communication reduces the power consumption of classification yards
Constant monitoring of switching operations in classification yards is necessary in order to know which trains are standing where and how many there are. Every freight train has a characteristic profile that is based on the number and spacing of the axles of its cars. Wheel detectors arranged in the tracks of the yard allow trains to be identified relatively easily. Peter Faubel developed these devices even further to enable them to communicate the measured data of the passing trains wirelessly. The detectors register when a wheel passes over them. Based on the time interval between the first and the second contact, the inbuilt processor determines directly at the track whether the train has come from the left or right, how many axles and cars it has, and – derived from the axle spacing – what types of car are in the train formation.
wirelessly transmit data on rail-car positions as trains pass over them.
Innovations safeguard the technological future and success of the company
Since 1995, Siemens has been presenting its annual “Inventor of the Year” award to outstanding researchers and developers whose inventions make a major contribution to the success of the company. Compared to the previous year, the number of Siemens patents in 2014 rose by ten percent to around 64,500 – also thanks to the twelve winners of the “Inventor of the Year 2014” award and their combined total of 900 inventions and 842 individual patent grants.