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February 25, 2019

Cloud-based Railway Bridge Monitoring with Solar Powered Q.series DAQ

For a large railway operator, Gantner Instruments continuously monitors a railway bridge using displacement transducers to detect deflection in bridge support elements.

Bridge movement is measured with every passing train and data is transferred to a Gantner Cloud system via 4G modem. In the case of unwanted bridge movement, an alarm is generated and the Railway Operations Center is notified by Email. For every passing train, data is acquired at 500Hz with high resolution to ensure precise measurement of bridge movements for further evaluation.

The challenge was the tight schedule to provide a solution with no possibility to power the measurement system from any local grid. In combination with the demand to generate fast and precise measurement data with every passing train, the power supply system had to be designed with great care. After analysis of the local region’s weather data from the past 5 years, two solar panels were selected along with a high-quality Lithium-Ion battery. This carefully selected combination of products guarantees several days of measurement autonomy, even under harsh environmental conditions including low temperature and solar radiation during the winter season.

The entire process from first customer interaction to the installation and commissioning of the off-grid measurement system took only 3 months. Gantner Instruments was responsible for the complete system design of the measurement cabinet as well as the simulation and design of the solar powered off-grid system. After 2 weeks of full-scale testing at Gantner Instruments’ headquarters located in Schruns, the complete measurement system was delivered on-site.

Thanks to close cooperation with the customer during all project phases, both the installation and commissioning of the complete measurement system were executed within one day. With the Gantner Cloud system now in operation, data is collected with every passing train while live measurement values and system status information is accessible for railway crew with just a few mouse clicks. With a web browser-based fleet monitoring system such as the Gantner Cloud, it is possible to manage any number of constructions, regardless if on-site grid power is available.


Q.series Hardware power by Solar and Battery

Autonomy calculation for Nuernberg based on historical weather data and Q.series power consumption

Customer specific IP65 Outdoor Cabinet installed next to highway

Author: Benedikt Heinz

Benedikt Heinz is Gantner Instrument's Vice President and Global Sales Manager.

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