Sensors for remote-controlled shunting in cargo traffic
Remote-controlled shunting locomotives are used to handle growing volumes of freight and extended trains. Numerous challenges in shunting make the process of coupling a critical moment
- different types of carriages and their specific properties
- filling level and number of freight wagons
- environmental conditions in the switch yard
The safety of goods, people and machines must be guaranteed here. In cooperation with a customer we develop an innovative sensor based on their established acceleration products for this special application. The sensor measures a the impact of the locomotive - if this predefined threshold is exceeded, the shunting unit can be stopped instantly in order to avoid major damage to the engine suspension. Further problems on the entire traction unit due to unnoticed damage caused by the coupling impact can be avoided. Severe collions will be identified and the traction unit will be sent for maintance checking and then returns to service. That saves resources and improves safety in shunting operations.
Shunting is based on "driving on sight and stopping in front of obstacles". Coupling is particulary a very delicate moment since major forces act on wagons and the locomotive. When the driver is steering, he is able to feel the impact and assess whether the coupling speed was just right. In case of using a remote control system without sensors, the train driver receives no feedback as to whether the speed was correct.