PanMon - Ricardo's pantograph monitoring technology

PanMon - Ricardo's pantograph monitoring technology

Introducing PanMon

PanMon is a remote condition monitoring system that provides accurate measurements of damage on the pantograph units of passing trains as they undertake everyday operations.

Installed at key locations along routes, the PanMon technology continuously captures images and measurements from the trains without causing any interruption to passenger or freight services.

Infrastructure asset managers can then assess the condition of each individual pantograph unit in operation on the network and collaborate with vehicle owners to prevent defective units from inflicting damage to overhead wires.

What can be measured by Ricardo's pantograph monitoring service?

  • Carbon surface shape 
  • Dangerous cracks and chips
  • Thickness of remaining carbon
  • Pantograph uplift
  • Pantograph symmetry (pitch, yaw, roll)
  • Horn presence or damage
  • The scanner also captures regular images for manual visual inspection
These systems have identified damaged pantographs that needed immediate actions to avoid possible overhead wire breaks. Catenary engineer, Infrabel
These systems have identified damaged pantographs that needed immediate actions to avoid possible overhead wire breaks.

How pantograph monitoring works


What are the benefits of pantograph monitoring

Improved track availability: PanMon allows immediate action to be taken to prevent dewirements and ensure track availability and safety.

Real time insights: Information is continuously captured and analysed. Automated comparison analysis raises alarms when thresholds are breached.

Cost reduction: Preventing dewirements and extending the asset life of both wires and onboard pantograph equipment results in significant cost reductions.

Safety: PanMon can help detect component degradation before maintenance limits or safety limits are exceeded, reducing incidents that affect train service.

No software installation:  No specialist software installation is required. PanMon's web-based dashboard is accessible via an API and can be integrated into the customer’s systems.

Ricardo's PanMon system

The PanMon scanner collects data using a laser and camera-based triangulation, providing both photographic and 3D scans.

The software rapidly analyses the condition of each passing pantograph and reinterprets the data as real-time reports of a range of damage categories and displayed to engineering teams via a customised dashboard.

Should the reported damage on a passing pantograph exceed pre-defined damage threshold, the system automatically raises an alert to give maintenance planners the option to immediately intervene and prevent a likely dewirement.

The PanMon system

  1. The PanMon scanners capture images from a fixed position above the rails that ensures the entire pantograph unit is captured in the images
  2. The PanMon server instantly receives the images and begins analysing the data
  3. PanMon's webclient extracts and prioritises the relevant trends in the dashboard

PanMon dashboard

PanMon's main dashboard provides real-time readings from each location and highlights where alarms have been raised. Users can view each individual scan for more specific details.

Detailed diagnostics

Clicking an identified alarm on the home page presents operational teams with the photographic evidence alongside a detailed diagnostic report. In the example pictured below, the PanMon scanners have identified a piece of missing carbon (in the red circle) on a passing pantograph unit.

Pinpoint detail of pantograph damage

Operations teams can closely inspect the damage by 'zooming in' on the 3D scan and carbon profile. The carbon profile shows the wear pattern and highlights the damage (in red).

Case study: Infrabel

Case study: Infrabel

Six PanMon units were installed in Brussels as Infrabel, the Belgian infrastructure manager, sought a data-oriented approach to its maintenance regimes.

Read more

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