Networking and Multicasting for Railway Inspection
Wayside and mobile railway inspection systems are integrating machine vision technology to automatically monitor railcars and track integrity. Camera Link Full cameras are typically deployed in these systems due to their high-bandwidth, but designers must compensate for the camera’s complex, limited reach cabling and lack of networking support by deploying costly extenders.
In a wayside inspection system, a series of Camera Link Full cameras along the track and in an overhead gantry capture images of key components on the moving train. Pleora’s external frame grabbers convert the Camera Link video into a GigE Vision-compliant image stream that is transmitted to a computing platform in a trackside enclosure for analysis.
With the extended reach of Ethernet cabling, processing equipment can be located in more convenient locations for maintenance. The external frame grabber’s integrated programmable logic controller (PLC) synchronizes multiple position sensors, cameras, and lighting sources and triggers the image acquisition process. If a defect is detected, the system delivers a message along with images detailing the failure to a centralized operations center. Inspectors are alerted of any issues and can halt the train or, in the case of non-critical issues, schedule maintenance.
In a mobile railway inspection system, Camera Link Full cameras are installed on railcars or service vehicles to detect damage to the rail and track components. The Camera Link video is converted to GigE Vision, aggregated onto a single network, and transmitted to an onboard workstation for analysis. If defects are identified, image data is overlaid with corresponding GPS information and transmitted wirelessly to an operations center.