Ansys Rail capabilities streamlined


Ansys Rail provides innovative solutions for trackside projects as well as onboard locomotive and wagon products.

As part of its ongoing expansion strategy Ansys Limited has formed the Ansys Rail Division which focusses only on the development of rail projects and products. Its mining and defence capabilities have been transferred to Parsec (Pty) Ltd which was acquired by Ansys Limited in June 2015.

Lebo Masekela, newly appointed Chief Executive of Ansys Rail, has a long history within the Parsec group of companies and has been instrumental in the success of strategic projects. He sees his appointment in the rail division as a welcome challenge and the group will no doubt leverage from his extensive business acumen and experience in the industry.

“The unbundling of the business enables us to harness our expertise and deploy the right type of solutions to our customers in the rail industry. The rail environment is harsh – the equipment is exposed to the elements and the vibrations are severe. The equipment must be designed for safety and needs to be tested thoroughly before being deployed. The firm supplying rail equipment needs to have experienced engineers who know and understand the demands of safety,” says Lebo Masekela.

Ansys Rail provides innovative solutions for trackside projects as well as onboard locomotive and wagon products. One such solution on the trackside portfolio is the Integrated Train Condition Monitoring System (ITCMS) software suite developed by Ansys Rail for Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) as a key stakeholder. Systems are installed alongside the track to measure temperature of bearings, detecting skew bogies, dragging wheels and other defects on passing trains. By means of a Field Concentrator Systems (FCS), the data from these measurement systems is collated and sent to the Office Processing System (OPS) installed at the controlling officer’s desktop terminal. The controlling officer has a birds-eye view of the status of the train as it goes past the measuring site and can take cognisance of any alarm condition. Alarm information can be relayed to the train driver to inform him/her to stop the train immediately or to continue to the next maintenance depot.

Other products that form part of the ITCMS are the Operator Alarm Terminal (OAT), the Manager/Technician terminal (MTT) and the Maintenance Alarm Terminal (MAT). These terminals provide different views on the data collected by the system and inform operators of pending alarms and maintenance activities required.

The connectivity between the various products can be provided via GSM or via the client infrastructure. The system has many other functionalities built in e.g. the setup of the measurement systems from the OPS and initiating data download and uploads from the OPS.

The ITCMS has been in operation for many years and provides a means for the client to view the current status of trains and to plan maintenance activities. The system provides features such as connecting more than 20 measurement system (MS), uniform data structures for different MS, uniform presentations of data for different MS and uniform presentations of alarms for different MS.

Recently Ansys Rail has added features to the ITCM such as connecting simulators. This enables the TFR technician to test a particular subsystem without having all the other systems physically present.

“Major challenges facing the industry include equipment obsolescence and loss of skills. Most of the equipment has been in service for many years and is prone to breakdowns. Replacing this equipment will be costly and Ansys Rail provides solutions that are both economical and sustainable,” Lebo Masekela concludes.