DZSF Launches Condition-Based Maintenance Project

The German Centre for Rail Transport Research (DZSF) has commissioned a project to determine the need for adjustment to regulations governing condition-based maintenance of rail infrastructure.

Explaining the move, it explained that digitalisation was a key part of developing efficient maintenance of the rail infrastructure. Permanently monitoring its components provides information about the components’ condition, allowing maintenance measures to be performed as needed and in a targeted manner rather than during scheduled maintenance. It further said that this type of maintenance was more reliable and maintenance activity could be better planned, which could in turn lead to significant capacity increases on the network.

However, because of the rules that are currently in place, there is no automatic reduction in the maintenance work needing to be performed, despite the increasing use of diagnostics and prognostics. The volume of work from diagnostic messages and error predictions initially increases with the number of condition-based maintenance applications. The DZSF said that in order to be able to exploit the advantages of condition-based maintenance, the regulations would need to be adapted and first subjected to a systematic review. Once the need for adjustment has been identified, the rules and regulations can be developed further as the rail industry moves more fully towards condition-based maintenance.

The methodology developed would also allow further application examples of condition-based maintenance to be examined in the future, the DZSF said.

The research project is being implemented by a consortium consisting of DB Systemtechnik GmbH (consortium leader), DB Engineering & Consulting GmbH and infraView GmbH Mainz. The first results are expected in 2024.

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