The ACEM-RAIL project dealt with automation and optimisation of railway infrastructure maintenance.
The project focused on the track. The final goal was to reduce costs, time and resources required for maintenance activities and increase the availability of the infrastructure. The project included both conventional and high speed lines.
ACEM-RAIL meant an important step forward in railway infrastructure maintenance techniques for the following reasons:
- Several technologies for automated and cost effective inspection of the track (subgrade and superstructure) condition were developed and prototypes were manufactured. These technologies were applicable both to conventional and high speed lines;
- Predictive algorithms were developed to estimate the rail defects evolution;
- Algorithms were developed for an optimal planning of railway infrastructure maintenance tasks. At the time of the project, there weren't any appropriate optimisation models for the integrated scheduling of preventive and corrective operations;
- Models and tools were developed in order to monitor the proper execution of corrective and preventive maintenance tasks.These technologies were applied in mobile (hand held) computers. This way execution and monitoring of maintenance tasks will be automated and optimised;
- A novel technology based on intelligent systems was developed for the optimal management of all the subsystems in the whole railway infrastructure system. A classification of all the different subsystem together with the selection of most relevant parameters was carried out.
The main benefits of the project are: (i) reduction of cost, (ii) reduction of impact on rail services, (iii) increase in safety, quality and reliability of the service, (iv) increase of rail freight transport and, as a consequence, (v) reduction in CO2 emissions.