Frog Health: Act in Time

The KONUX Winter ‘20 release is now live!, 25.11.2019

Christian Benk, Senior Product Manager

With the winter holidays slowly approaching, millions of people are preparing to travel to visit family and friends. Of course, given that railways need just 20% of the energy consumption and emit only 16% of CO2 emissions compared with other major means of transportation, we hope that they will choose to travel by train. Well, at KONUX, we have been doing more than just hoping: The Winter ‘20 release of the KONUX Predictive Maintenance System is now live, and I am really proud to tell you a bit more about the new ways in which we are empowering our customers to ensure trains arrive on time.

Photo by Johannes Hofmann on Unsplash

Why frogs?

With the Winter ‘20 release, we are adding a new component to the KONUX Predictive Maintenance System for Rail Switches – the frog (also known as crossing). The frog is a key component of the switch with an average lifetime of about ten years. It is also a major capital expenditure for infrastructure managers, and appropriate maintenance is key in prolonging its lifetime. Due to the characteristic geometry and the fact that it is the one place where the track is discontinued, the frog can experience a variety of failures such as cracks, spalling, breakout, wheel burns, and squats. These can deteriorate exponentially and dramatically shorten the lifetime of this critical switch component if not attended to.

How can our customers extend the lifetime of their frogs?

Our goal is to help our customers perform the right maintenance actions at the right time to achieve the best result. Today, the KONUX Predictive Maintenance System can detect anomalies in the vibration data from the frog area to help plan timely interventions and avoid more serious and costly damage. It can also help validate the impact of maintenance actions (such as tamping, grinding or welding) at the frog. This way, infrastructure managers can optimize maintenance planning, avoid failures, and extend the lifetime of their assets. And all of that without the need to put extra pressure on their team’s resources in the field, or disrupt the normal operation of the track with equipment or slow measurement vehicles. Learn more about our Predictive Maintenance System for Rail Switches.

As with most AI-enabled products, the amount and quality of data are key. A big part of unlocking new insights about frog health has been the new generation of our autonomous IoT device. With it, we’ve managed to quadruple the sensing range without sacrificing measurement resolution, enabling us to better understand what happens at the surface of the frog. Finally, gathering sufficient ground truth is instrumental in training our models and ensuring that we provide accurate and actionable insights. Working closely with customers in six countries, we are continuously improving the accuracy of our algorithms to unlock more and more value.

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About the author

Christian Benk is a Senior Product Manager responsible for shaping and managing the continuously evolving KONUX Predictive Maintenance System for Rail Switches. Christian has over six years of product management experience in bringing game-changing solutions to life.