Laser Precision Solutions (LPS): Rail Cleaning Technology
Founded in 2016 with headquarters in Amsterdam, LPS currently operates in New York, USA and the UK with an aim is to solve various business challenges using advanced laser technology. Today, the focus is on the friction loss that railways face in Autumn.
When leaves are crushed onto train lines, they form into an oily layer that creates hazardous conditions for train drivers: reducing direct wheel to rail grip, impacting safety and performance of services, and causing maintenance issues. Slip-sliding and emergency braking creates flat spots on train wheels, forcing networks to take much-needed equipment out of service for repairs.
LPS products aim to help rail networks detect and improve Coefficient of Friction (COF) levels during slip-slide conditions and minimise the impacts of weather events.
The LPS LaserTrain is a high-speed rail cleaning technology that can be installed onto an existing train wagon or a separate wagon and pulled by locomotives. It eliminates leaf mulch contamination with the zap of a laser and provides ideal COF at speeds up to 100kph.
Improved friction levels prevent train wheels from blocking, reducing the number of flat spots and resulting in fewer adhesion delays. The technique also works to clean rust, grease and oil.
- Optimal driving conditions for braking and acceleration, detectable trains and SPAD
- Reduction in flat spots and damaged track due to wheel blocks
- Fewer cars removed from service; and speed restrictions lifted
- Trains operate to schedule with Reduced delays and cancellations for passengers
- Upfront costs to build are offset by the lowest running costs of all systems in the market
- Low energy Consumption: uses pure energy, less energy than a waterjet and requires no consumables or by products
The LaserTrain prototype was first deployed in 2018 with the Long Island Rail Road in New York. In 2020, a second train was added to their network and the speed was increased.
- Low-adhesion delays: down 66% (246 trains) compared to 2019, and down 79% (473 trains) compared to 2018.
- Costs: labour expenses related to fixing flat wheels decreased by 34%.
The Tribometer is a device that can be mounted on to any train. It provides real-time measurements of the Coefficient of Friction levels of the track by measuring wheel slip during (de)acceleration. This allows networks to see where contamination exists and the exact level of friction loss at each location.
This product is at prototype stage. Two models are available depending on the level of accuracy and scale required.
Track Contamination Detection System (TCDS)
The TCDS utilises pre-existing track circuits in the network to monitor rail conditions. It can provide real time updates on how contaminated a track is after each train pass over, and has the ability to monitor demanding areas 24/7.
This product is at prototype stage. Due to the variation in track circuits that pre-exist in the field, we have a selection of non-invasive and invasive options available.
The Tribometer or TCDS allow us to create a heatmap with insights into key problem areas. Rail operators can use this to tailor cleaning operations to maximise efficiency of The LaserTrain and other treatments.