CatMon - Ricardo's catenary monitoring system

CatMon - Ricardo's catenary monitoring system

Introducing CatMon

CatMon is a monitoring system that detects imperfections in the catenary/overhead wire (OHW) by measuring abnormal impacts recorded bypassing pantograph unit.

Easy to install, solar powered units are mounted to the pantographs of regular in-service trains which then provide continuous readings of the OHW condition as the train continues in service.

The information is  reported to maintenance teams via the CatMon dashboard. Automated alarms are triggered when specific concerns are detected - such as the development of hard spots and other imperfections on the wires - with the location plotted on the dashboard's map.

How catenary monitoring works

CatMon Factoid

Operational benefits

Improved track availability: With real-time reporting, CatMon can prompt immediate action to prevent dewirements and improve track availability and safety.

Real time insights: Once installed, CatMon constantly scans the overhead wires for irregularities, providing continuous surveys of the network.

Cost reduction: Preventing dewirements and damage to the onboard pantograph will lead to significant cost reductions. Meanwhile, the use of regular in-service trains also eliminates the expense and disruption of a measurement trains and visual inspections.

Easy installation and maintenance: Installation takes less than an hour with the CatMon units powered by solar panels that require limited maintenance.

Ricardo's CatMon system

On many networks, catenary maintenance work is only conducted after scheduled inspections performed by a measurements train.

However, when emerging issues in the wires go undetected entirely preventable component failures, or even wire breakages, become more frequent occurrences, leading to service disruption and expensive repair work.

CatMon provides an alternative, more cost-effective approach: using in-service trains to carry monitoring equipment and provide real-time intelligence of emerging faults:

  1. Accelerometers are mounted on the pantograph head. The units are solar powered and clamped to the pantograph without requiring permanent change to the train.
  2. Data is collected in real-time and sent via 3G. All data is aggregated and analysed.
  3. Information is reported via a web-based interface that allows operators to locate emerging problems across their network.
  4. Alternatively, the measurement data can also be provided via an API, facilitating integration in the customer's systems. 

Optional add-on: Capture high-resolution video footage during impact events

Our partner, Telemattica, has developed an optional add-on to our CatMon system that uses a ruggedized, rail-specific camera to capture of high-resolution video footage during impact events detected by the CatMon system. Data collected by the camera is made available through a browser-based interface via secure web browser and as raw data via API.

Users are able to view registered events just minutes after they occur, and access details of the location, severity of impact, direction of asset and device health.

CatMon dashboard

The opening page of the CatMon dashboard provides a location reference for recent raised alerts alongside real-time reporting.

CatMon Factoid

Incident location details

Operational teams can select each individual alert to instantly gain more detailed information, including satellite images of the catenary section in question and the ability to assess the accessibility of each location to maintenance teams.

Defect severity alerts

When impacts are regularly reported as being over a defined threshold (illustrated as '50' in the graph below) users are alerted to consider planning remediation work and enable a quick return to acceptable levels.

Catenary monitoring of Adelaide rail network

Catenary monitoring of Adelaide rail network

When the city of Adelaide sought more frequent asset monitoring data to support a proactive maintenance regime they turned to our round-the-clock methodology.

Read more

Request information about CatMon

Please tick the boxes below if you give consent for Ricardo to contact you with additional information on our services, products or events. Your information will be stored on our secure systems, will not be shared with 3rd parties, click here for Ricardo’s privacy notice.