SPONSORED CONTENT: Camlin has been contracted by Network Rail Infrastructure Projects Wales & Western to supply and install its award-winning PANTOBOT 3D smart pantograph monitoring system at six locations on the Great Western Main Line.

The world’s first fully automated three-dimensional pantograph monitoring system, PANTOBOT 3D allows rail operators to make accurate real-time decisions about pantograph condition, pre-empting the danger of costly and disruptive overhead line tear-down caused by a damaged pantograph.

The project for Network Rail represents the first large-scale multi-site PANTOBOT 3D installation. It follows the system’s successful deployment at Heathrow Central station in 2018, as well as on a high-speed line in Italy and the MTR network in Hong Kong. Network Rail will deploy the technology across 16 tracks at six locations along the Great Western Main Line. Site designs are currently underway, with installation and commissioning of the initial sites expected to commence at the end of this year.

While conventional inspection systems rely on subjective analysis of 2D images captured by a track-side camera, PANTOBOT 3D can automatically assess high-resolution images acquired by its specialised stereoscopic machine vision system on x, y and z axes with millimetre precision. This analysis instantly reveals tell-tale anomalies including chipping, increased wear and cracking of carbon strips.

With predictive maintenance becoming a key element of asset management, powerful machine learning techniques allow PANTOBOT 3D to monitor pantograph health trends over time, providing network operators with valuable insights into the likelihood of pantograph failure.

‘A damaged pantograph has the potential to tear down the overhead line, resulting in long delays, widespread service disruption and costly penalties for network operators’, says Paul Fleming, General Manager at Camlin. ‘PANTOBOT 3D’s ability to recognise and analyse pantograph damage on every axis with unprecedented accuracy gives operators a uniquely powerful tool to optimise the health of their overhead assets.’

Hayley Poulter, Project Manager at Network Rail says: “Network Rail Infrastructure Projects is working with Camlin and a wide stakeholder group to deploy the PANTOBOT 3D system at a number of strategic locations along the Western Route. When up and working, these fully functional pantograph monitoring systems will help further our Putting Passengers First campaign by predicting the health of our overhead assets and assisting us by supplying real time data to avoid events before they cause service disruption.’

In February 2019, Camlin’s PANTOBOT 3D won the Supplier & Contractor Excellence award at the 21st Rail Business Awards.


Find out more about Putting Passengers First: www.networkrail.co.uk/putting-passengers-first/