Smart Maintenance of Rail HVAC Systems

Environmentally friendly rail passenger mobility is a key to achieving sustainability goals, including those of the Paris Climate Agreement. In order to expand the attractiveness of public (local) passenger transport for passengers, availability, reliability, costs and comfort are key aspects – not least of the heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) system. Maintenance is required to ensure failure-free, energy-efficient, hygienic and safe operation of the HVAC system. Today, components are replaced preventively, regardless of actual deterioration, and usually before the end of their product life. This results in significant costs (material, maintenance time) and causes environmental impacts (waste, resource requirements for new components, energy demand).
The R&D project SMACS aims to advance innovations for smart maintenance of HVAC systems in rail vehicles. The fields of focus are demand-oriented and condition-based maintenance strategies, and efficient, digitally linked maintenance processes and tools.
SMACS is developing condition-based maintenance and predictive maintenance as new maintenance strategies, using digital twins and new methods from machine learning and artificial intelligence. Demand-based maintenance of e.g. compressors, fans and air filters as well as early detection of system anomalies during operation, reduces maintenance costs while ensuring highest reliability and continuous highly efficient system operation.
Furthermore a digital assistant for maintenance scheduling aggregates and evaluates application-oriented information from condition-based maintenance and predictive maintenance. In addition, a digital assistant is developed to support the executing maintenance personnel via an expert system by digital twinning. Thus, in SMACS, an end-to-end digitally linked maintenance concept is being developed with the participation of important players from the rail industry and the fields of research.

Our project partners

The project was funded by the program “Mobilität der Zukunft” of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action (BMK).
The program is managed by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).