Gold Standard in Train Detection
Operators encounter many trade-offs in the day-to-day and long term operation of their railroads. They are often presented with the challenge of achieving high availability and uptime, while facing the reality of high maintenance costs for conventional train detection systems.
For decades, axle counting systems have been proven globally as the gold standard in train detection. In addition to providing high levels of availability, uptime and reliability, these systems also offer lower installation, maintenance and lifecycle costs when compared to the track circuit based systems commonly found in North America.
State-of-the-art axle counters by Frauscher
Axle counting systems primarily provide “clear” or “occupied” status information for track sections. However, Frauscher's modern systems also have the capability to deliver additional types of vital and non-vital information to the operator for further controls and benefits.
How does the technology work?
Axle counting systems consist of both trackside and wayside equipment components, offering flexible design options.
Highly Available Wheel Sensors
Trackside equipment components
The trackside equipment consists of highly reliable wheel sensors, clamped to the rail with a Frauscher rail claw and placed at each entry or exit point of a track section,
When a train traverses a wheel sensor, the metallic wheels dampen the inductive field picked up by the receiving coils, altering the analog signal that is transmitted back to the wayside equipment. The analog signal from the wheel sensor is transmitted to the wayside equipment via the wheel sensor’s tail cable. This cable is connected to a 4-conductor signaling cable in a trackside junction box that is sealed against water and dust. The wayside equipment can be housed in local enclosures or centralized control equipment rooms, with space efficient DIN rail mounts or board racks.
High Performance Electronics
The wayside equipment utilized will depend on which Frauscher Axle Counter is being implemented. The space requirements for components housed in wayside enclosures can range from a small DIN rail mount to a standard 19” board rack arrangement. The function of the axle counter and the way it interprets information received from the wheel sensors will depend on the application it is being used for (e.g., vital vs. non-vital solutions), and whether the Frauscher Advanced Counter FAdC (vital) or Frauscher Track Vacancy System FTVS (non-vital) has been implemented.
Benefits of Frauscher Axle Counting Systems
- Components designed for maximum availability and reliability
- Components that are unaffected by harsh environmental conditions
- Low installation, maintenance and lifecylce costs compared to conventional signaling equipment
- Minimal space requirements for both indoor and outdoor components
- Can be used as a standalone system or as an overlay to an existing systems
Frauscher axle counting systems offer many benefits to system integrators and operators. As a component level supplier, we strive to deliver advantages for system integrators as they design and implement systems, and for the operators who must consider the long-term use of the system.
Frauscher axle counting systems are highly flexible, and at the same time extremely straightforward to plan, design and configure. Once an integrator has established a core design for a project, this design can easily be adapted for other projects or locations. Frauscher technical experts can provide integrators with comprehensive configuration training, allowing them to create their own future project designs with minimal assistance.
There are many factors that contribute to the overall cost savings of a Frauscher axle counting system. The time and cost requirements of installation are greatly reduced compared to other systems, and the ability to seamlessly integrate with existing technologies provides design options that are easier to implement.
Frauscher offers integrators a cost effective, smaller footprint option for yard, industrial and port applications such as switch point protection, end of track warning systems, and storage track clear/occupied status. This option is ideal for non-vital applications where difficult terrain and space constraints are present.
Using the Frauscher rail claw, each wheel sensor takes five minutes to install, providing significant savings on materials and labor. The bonds and wiring required with conventional track circuits are eliminated, significantly reducing installation costs. Frauscher systems can be overlaid with an existing system, allowing operations to continue running normally during testing and commissioning. This essentially eliminates downtime when adding or switching over the signaling system.
Frauscher systems require preventative maintenance only once in two years. This maintenance involves a simple visual check to ensure the sensor is securely and properly positioned, and a quick operational inspection that can be completed remotely or at the wayside enclosure. These checks require just a few minutes per sensor to complete, resulting in a significant reduction in time and costs when compared to the testing and maintenance requirements of conventional systems.
Frauscher wheel sensors are not affected by environmental conditions such as flooding and snow, or by deteriorated track & ballast conditions. As a result, the system maintains high availability and uptime compared to conventional signaling systems that are negatively affected by these conditions.