SBS Transit deepens ties with Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation and invests in predictive maintenance to further improve rail reliability

Source: Wikimedia.

SBS Transit announced that it deepened the strong ties with the Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation (TRTC) and Metro Consulting Service Ltd (MCS) through a memorandum of understanding aimed at strengthening its engineering and maintenance capabilities as it works towards the 1,000,000 train-km Mean Kilometre Between Failures (MKBF ), which is a reliability measure used internationally in the rail industry.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by SBS Transit Chief Executive Officer, Mr Gan Juay Kiat, President of TRTC, Mr B.C. Yen and President of MCS, Mr Ying-Chung Chuie.

It enables the three organisations to leverage on each other’s competencies and experiences in operations and maintenance through mutual exchanges, study visits, training and the sharing of best practices.

“The partnership we have forged with TRTC and Metro Consulting will help us to leverage on each others’ strengths and experiences in operations and maintenance,” Mr Gan said.

SBS Transit, whose North East Line (NEL), Downtown Line (DTL) and the Sengkang Punggol LRT systems (SPLRT) have operated at MKBFs of 663,000 train-km, 650,000 train-km and 115,000 car-km respectively in 2017, has introduced a series of initiatives aimed at further improving the reliability of its rail networks.

SBS Transit said that it has, for example, invested in Predictive Maintenance Monitoring Systems to identify and flag out component deterioration for rectification before they develop into a fault. The areas of focus include power, train and track as failures in their equipment are likely to affect passengers’ travel.

“Power faults, which have significant impact on train operations, are now monitored via a system which continually scans the high voltage power cables for power discharge. Upon the detection of partial discharge or incipient faults, the system sends warning alerts to the maintenance team for immediate follow up,” it stated.

In the case of the power transformers, SBS Transit said that the Dissolved Gas Analysis (DGA) system is used to detect any thermal or electrical fault by analysing the gas composition in the insulating oil of the transformer. Faults are identified according to the gas compositions as various types of faults emit gases of different levels. This system improves the reliability of the power intake transformers by diagnosing incipient faults before they lead to serious incidents.

Track faults, which plague most railway operations, can also cause delays to rail service. As a first line of detection for track defects or faults, we successfully tested and commissioned the Automatic Track Inspection (ATI) system on the DTL with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) last year.

With the use of cameras, lasers and sensors, SBS Transit said that the ATI system is able to instantly detect any track anomalies such as cracks, missing fasteners, wheel burns, corrugation and third rail sag. Alerts are sent to keep key personnel informed so that the issue can be rectified promptly.

Over the next few months, SBS Transit said that it will be rolling out these systems with funding support from LTA. The Diagnostic Expert System, which synchronises all the train system logs for analysis will flag out anomalies in the various system components such as brakes and propulsion of the train and highlight the probable root cause based on the analysis of the data.

“We are working hard to achieve the 1,000,000 train-km MKBF for NEL and DTL and will keep pushing ourselves to doing better to improve train reliability,” said Mr Gan.

SBS Transit noted that Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation has been operating metro systems for the past 23 years.

Meanwhile, Metro Consulting Service Ltd is a subsidiary of TRTC with 13 years of consultancy expertise in railway operations, maintenance and management. It has participated in rail consultation projects in Taiwan, China, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

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