Predictive system targets 25% of train defects

In Europe, 25%-50% of defects in trains occur in the doors, while worldwide it has been recorded, that 70% of passenger injuries are caused by mechanical failures of train doors.

In Europe, 25%-50% of defects in trains occur in the doors, while worldwide it has been recorded, that 70% of passenger injuries are caused by mechanical failures of train doors.

An innovative new project using vibration analysis will provide huge safety and efficiency savings, as well as reduced downtime for rolling stock operators in the rail industry.  In Europe, 25%-50% of defects in trains occur in the doors, while worldwide it has been recorded, that 70% of passenger injuries are caused by mechanical failures of train doors. The VA-RCM (Vibration analysis for Remote Condition Monitoring) project is working on a system which can remotely detect failures before they happen and predict the lifespan of the door.

A consortium consisting of Hitex (UK, Germany), TWI Ltd (UK), Transport Systems Catapult (UK), TMB (Spain) and Innovative Technology and Science Limited (UK) will be responsible for the release of this system. The project will be completed in early 2019.

The concept behind the VA-RCM system lies in vibration analysis algorithms. Vibration takes places when either there is a defect or an external stimulus effecting the mechanism. The system will be able to detect problems with train doors based on comparison with previous vibration data, and predict their remaining lifetime. This data will be gathered remotely in real time, so interventions can be targeted rather than relying on a constant maintenance cycle.

Sofia Sampethai, Project Manager from Transport Systems Catapult

“The transport industry is increasingly seeing the value of smart solutions based on data analysis, Internet of Things and modern senor technology, to provide cost savings and increased safety in a range of scenarios. Train operators are no exception, and in this case, we have identified a clear cause of disruption where a huge impact can be made.

The VA-RCM project can reduce unexpected failures and incidents which can cause carriages to be taken out of service – reducing capacity and causing disruptions to service. We can also provide a way to reduce maintenance costs through predictive systems.”

VA-RCM is a project funded by the European Union’s H2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 730766. You can find out more at

Editors Notes


Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) is the main public transport operator in the metropolitan area of Barcelona (Spain), where it manages the metro and bus networks that transport 2 million passengers every weekday. At the moment Barcelona is an international reference in matters of innovation and digitization applied to urban transport. The use of technologies and intelligent systems allows for high efficiency, the best service and the maximum social and environmental benefit. Thus, the commitment to subway automation (25% of the network is already operating without a driver), the implementation of water and energy recovery systems or the advanced technologies to optimize the maintenance of tracks and rolling stock.

In January 2018, the Barcelona metro network is formed by nine lines and the funicular railway. The network has 156 stations distributed along its 119 kilometres. In year 2017, it supplied more than 390 million trips. The average distance between each station is 650 meters.

The rolling stock of the underground network amounted to 171 trains composed by 846 carriages. 100% of the metro fleet is air-conditioned. The trains have interconnected cars to permit the optimum distribution of passengers.



Hitex focusses on functional safety and software quality in embedded systems and offers a broad portfolio for the complete development process – from the idea to production and certification. Development expertise in safety critical projects is complemented by test tools for static and dynamic code analysis as well as unit test services.

About Transport Systems Catapult

The Transport Systems Catapult is the UK’s technology and innovation centre for Intelligent Mobility, harnessing emerging technologies to improve the movement of people and goods around the world. We are here to support business growth, increase the UK’s share of the global Intelligent Mobility market, and attract investment – creating jobs and generating long-term economic growth.

We will help sell UK capability on the global stage, while also promoting the UK as a superb test bed for the transportation industry. With a clear emphasis on collaboration, we are bringing together diverse organisations across different modes of transport, breaking down barriers and providing a unique platform for meeting the world’s most pressing transport challenges.

The Transport Systems Catapult is one of an elite network of not-for-profit technology and innovation centres established and overseen by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. For more information, please visit

Innovative Technology and Science Limited (UK)

InnoTecUK is an experienced, dynamic and progressive robotics and automation solution provider. They specialise in Development and Commercialisation of innovative and effective Industrial robotic systems to overcome complex challenges across many industries including but not limited to; Offshore, Nuclear, Renewable energy and Oil & Gas.

Their Robotic and Automation solutions have evolved through years of in-depth research and development by their team of in house engineers specialising in the following disciplines; Electrical and Electronic, Aeronautical, Mechanical, Telecommunications and Software engineering.

They offer bespoke solutions based on their current robotic platforms tailored to your specific needs (or buy the platforms as a standalone product) and will soon offer industry tried and tested configurations of these products to provide a fast and efficient solution to some of the challenges at the forefront of selected Industries, Robotics and Automation Consulting and Research and Development Capabilities, all from their dedicated facility located in Cambridge, the heart of Innovation.

The key to their success is consistently delivering high value and high quality technical solutions designed to excel under the harsh real world operating conditions across various industries and their goal is to become a leader in bringing Robotics and Automation to the forefront of the NDT Industry.



TWI is one of the world’s foremost independent research and technology organisations, with expertise in solving problems in all aspects of manufacturing, fabrication and whole-life integrity management technologies.

Established in Cambridge, UK in 1946 and with facilities across the globe, the company has a first class reputation for service through its teams of internationally respected consultants, scientists, engineers and support staff, whose knowledge and expertise is available to its Industrial Members as and when they require.

TWI provides industry with technical support in materials, composites, welding, structural integrity, failure investigation, inspection, NDT and associated technologies. TWI is a non-profit distributing, membership-based company, with 3,500 members from 60 countries around the world. TWI has over 435 skilled staff and a turnover of €45million. TWI is extensively involved in collaborative research and technology transfer projects across all of its technologies and industry sectors. Collaborative projects currently represent 20-25% of TWI’s total project activity and therefore a very important source of knowledge for TWI’s Industrial members and project partners alike.


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