To promote the reliability of its fleet of rail cars and to move toward a condition-based maintenance approach, NJ Transit has launched a pilot program in which Automated Rail Vehicle Inspection Systems (ARVIS) are being used to complement visual inspections of brakes and wheels on a range of fleet vehicles. NJ Transit contracted the UK firm DeltaRail to design, build and install three ARVIS installations at its new Morrisville, PA maintenance facility and to support them during a two-year trial. DeltaRail has installed a number of similar systems in Europe over the past 10 years, but the NJ TRANSIT project is the first example of ARVIS technology being put to use in the western hemisphere. To provide local support DeltaRail worked with ENSCO as its US partner on this project. The installation at Morrisville comprises three identical ARVIS systems covering all entry tracks into the yard. Each trackside system measures wheel profile, axle-mounted disc brake pads, wheel-mounted disc brake pads, tread brake shoes and wheel roundness. A total of 36 cameras (12 for each system) are used, making this the world’s largest automated visual inspection system for rail vehicles. The system became operational in April 2008. The measurement information and images from each trackside system is sent by a high-speed communications link to an ENSCO-hosted data server. The measurements for every component are added to an Information Display System, which builds historic wear trends, predicts remaining component life and highlights problems causing abnormal wear rates. Access to the information is available globally through a secure internet account. It is anticipated that the data from ARVIS will provide a better understanding of the current and future state of equipment. This predictive information will improve management by reducing maintenance costs, increasing maintenance efficiency, improving safety, optimizing associated consumable costs and demonstrating compliance with standards to regulatory bodies. Additionally, the potential exists to reduce the frequency of manual inspections in the hazardous areas beneath trains while still meeting all FRA inspection requirements, allowing maintenance staff to concentrate their efforts on repairs. This paper describes the installed systems, shows some of the initial results and discusses how the information will be used to deliver the expected benefits.

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