The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, IISc-incubated startup L2MRail and the Society for Innovation and Development (SID) have signed an MoU with Kerala Rail aimed at enhancing rail safety, especially in vulnerable terrains.
The L2M Rail team and IISc have pioneered Fiber Bragg Grating sensing technology, to develop a Structural Health Monitoring System (SHMS) which will monitor civil engineering structures of Kerala Rail''s Silverline project, according to a statement.
The MOUs were exchanged between the MD of Kerala Rail V Ajith Kumar and IISc Register Capt. Sudhir Warrier, in the presence of Govindan Rangrajan, Director, IISc and B Gurumoorthy, Chief Executive of SID, IISc in Bengaluru on Thursday, it said.
The partnership addresses the need for accurate, real-time data regarding the condition of all rail structures. The team uses FBG-sensor technology to ensure the stability and integrity of structures even in vulnerable areas, which comprise a large part of the terrain covered by the ambitious Silverline project, it said.
Ensuring rail safety in settlement prone locations, flood prone areas, earth slip locations, weak soil and heavy rainfall areas etc, necessitates a shift from conventional manual inspection.
Constant, technology-driven monitoring of both running trains and rail structures offers the ideal solution, the statement said, adding that through this partnership, the Kerala Rail Development Corporation aims to ensure the safety of trains on this 530 km, double-track stretch between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasargod.
Concerning the partnership, Sreenivasa Rao Ganapa, co-founder, L2M Rail and ex-IRSSE officer, said there is a gap between the critical need for rail safety, and the lack of systems that constantly monitor both trains and railway structures in real-time.
"Structural defects are generally identified only when an accident occurs, and preventative identification of weak links could have helped avoid mass casualties, like the recent Mexico metro rail structure collapse," he said.
The potential of FBG sensor technology is immense, and its application is not just restricted to rail monitoring, but to any field that necessitates constant, real-time monitoring and timely warning alerts to identity damages, the official added.
Through this FBG-sensor driven monitoring system, rail corporations will be able to embed or attach sensors in rail structures, enabling both on-demand and continuous data, as well as 24/7 warning alerts in case of damage detection.
The technology will also be uniquely customised for each structure and location with no standard methodology for the same.
"Rail safety has always been a key concern for us, and while trains are routinely inspected, structural damage is more likely to go unnoticed during manual inspection. We welcome the channelling of innovative solutions towards strengthening Silverline infrastructure and taking preventative action against potential rail casualties," said V Ajith Kumar, Managing Director, Kerala Rail.
The immense potential of FBG sensor technology has been tapped by IISc researchers in a variety of domains, ranging from aerospace to biomedical.
Previously, an L2MRail-innovated Fibre Bragg Grating Sensing Technology based Wheel Impact Load Detector deployed in two locations in Bengaluru, with the support of RDSO /Indian Railways and IISc.
L2MRail has also developed several other IPs for innovative applications of FBG sensing technology to monitor parameters critical to ensure train safety. The start-up aims to take the technology to all parts of the country, thereby transforming the parameters of rail safety, the release added.
Lab To Market Innovations Private Limited is developing / innovating next generation technologies to make RAILWAYS SAFE and EFFICIENT. Lab to Market Innovations Private Limited is seed funded by Society for Innovation and Development (SID) at IISc.
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