‘Mind the doors’ – New project investigates train door failure


Across Europe, 25-50% of train defects come as a result of failing doors1, while worldwide records show that 70% of passenger injuries come as a result of mechanical damage to train doors2. However, a new project, funded by the European Union’s H2020-FTI (Fast Track Innovation) Pilot programme, aims to develop a system to detect train door failures and predict their remaining lifetime.

The Vibration Analysis for Remote Condition Monitoring (VA-RCM) project is set to run until 2019, using Internet-based remote monitoring to not only assess performance but also to predict train door failures. 

TWI Ltd is joined in a consortium for the project by Hitex (UK, Germany), Transport Systems Catapult (UK), Transports Metropolitans De Barcelona SA (Spain), and Innovative Technology and Science Limited (UK).

The condition monitoring project uses algorithms based on vibration analysis, since vibrations occur either when there is a defect with a train door or a certain external stimulus. The vibration monitoring is based on the deformation of a simple mass-spring model, while image recognition can also be applied in order to distinguish between doors that are working correctly and those that are failing.

While monitoring is just a part of the project, the real challenge lies with predicting the probability of failure. This work could offer valuable information about the degradation of a system, allowing targeted predictive maintenance to be performed, which would save costs as compared to performing preventative maintenance.

The principle is to apply vibration analysis and pattern recognition to signals received from the train doors and reported to a central location via the Internet. This information can then be used to analyse the level of functionality and assess mechanical damage to the train doors.

Sofia Sampethai, Project Manager from Transport Systems Catapult explained, ‘There is a great meaning behind the research for VA-RCM systems. Vibration analysis and pattern recognition applied on the signals received during the operation of the train doors can pave the way for better maintenance, enhancement of future design of train doors and, most importantly, a decreased number of accidents.’

VA-RCM is a project funded by the European Union’s H2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 730766.

TWI’s involvement in the project comes as part of our Innovation Centre partnership with the Transport Systems Catapult under the banner of the Smart Asset Management Innovation Centre (SAMIC). You can find out more about TWI’s work with the Innovation Centres here.

To find out more, please contact us.


1/ European Railway Agency www.era.europa.eu/Core-Activities/Pages/Registers.aspx

2/ EUROSTAT http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Rail_accident_fatalities_in_the_EU#Further_Eurostat_information


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