Automated Surface Inspection

Machine vision technology improves efficiency within the rail industry

Friday 26th April, 2019


Machine vision technology within the rail industry

Trains require regular maintenance to ensure safety and to minimise wear and tear. Traditionally, manual inspection would be required to inspect the roof, but this is a time-consuming process.

The process is arduous and requires the qualified technician to cover over 200 meters of the roof surface, while the train and overhead lines are grounded.

PSI Technics saw an opportunity to reduce the time spent during this process. They developed a machine vision system that automates inspection, by using an advanced camera and lighting systems.

The technology records damage to the roof structure as the carriage passes underneath, the images are then sent to the systems analysis software. The system captures images from different angles, enabling the software to identify a range of defects.

Defect classification

Defects and damage to the following areas can be captured by the software:

  • The surface of the roof
  • Antennas
  • Insulators
  • Screw connections
  • Climate covers
  • Cables and conductors

Defects are classified and labelled once the images are passed through to the software. Manual inspectors are then able to use this data to detect and locate many different types of damage on the roof structure, such as:

  • Spalling
  • Cracks
  • Displacement
  • Deformation
  • Single fibre or strand breakage
  • Loose bolt connections
  • Contact burns
  • Missing components

Inspectors can use the data collected to shape future decisions and preempt wear and tear further down the line.

Additional benefits include increases in efficiency and better time management, the software provides inspection results within 10 minutes, compared to 1.5 hours from manual inspection. The train can also stay operational during the maintenance inspection, which is another benefit of the automated inspection system.

Reduce waste and improve efficiency

Automated quality assurance allows greater workflow efficiency. It boosts your bottom line by saving money on wasted materials and improving the efficiency of the whole business. If you would like an informal chat about your automated inspection needs please call Shelton Vision on +44 (0) 116 279 0920 or fill in our online contact form.

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Image credit: Dannebrog_Spy