«ASTRA» software and hardware suite for semi-automatic analysis of NDT&TD data
TVEMA has developed «ASTRA» software and hardware suite for semi-automatic analysis of NDT&TD data which is intended for automatic recognition of defects in the rails and switch components, as well as the measurement of additional parameters which describe the condition of inspected item. «ASTRA» also provides monitoring based on the non-destructive testing technology (NDT) and technical diagnostics (TD) of the rails and switch components in operating conditions.
«ASTRA» SW and HW suite provides the following functions:
• automatic analysis of the measurement information received from various NDT and TD systems;
• evaluation of the diagnostic systems and personnel performance;
• monitoring of the inspection technology compliance;
• rating for rails and switch components;
• classification, storage and transmission of inspection results for further analysis by automated analytical systems (the employment of CASCADE module provides planning of the condition-based maintenance of the railway infrastructure);
• evaluation of the condition of rail facilities (PU-32d);
• generate defectogram.
«ASTRA» SH and HW suite accepts all file formats generated from mobile and manual inspection devices of the TVEMA Group. It is also capable, by built-in converters, to process the formats of diverse inspection equipment from third parties.
When in the mode of automatic decoding, the suite evaluates and displays analytical processed B-Scans from mass storage or actually recorded frames, according to preset criteria.In the mode of superimposing with the track layout data it displays B-Scan and analysis results together with track and rail information. The latter function is available by integration of «CASCADE» monitoring system. «CASCADE» sends to «ASTRA» a package of data comprising railway track information, which includes the rail register and the log-book records. Based on previous inspection records, this information includes deviations from layouted track geometry and results of field inspection.
The network version of «ASTRA» suite can work round the clock performing all tasks in an automatic mode. The report on operations performed is recorded in the suite manager, where an expert may view the crucial areas classified by hazard thresholds. When reviewing the marks on crucial areas, the last marks are assigned the status: not inspected, inspected, marked hazardous. The marks are linked to a corresponding area. The suite can also display a report about the quality of the rail inspection, which indicates: rail defects, not recorded bolt holes, areas of missing rail flange signal and areas with no acoustic contact in compliance with an extract from PU-2A log. «ASTRA» provides acoustic contact quality analysis.
«ASTRA» SW and HW suite performs automated analysis of defectograms and generates the data package for export to «CASCASE» monitoring system.
The analysis data package includes:
• the protocol of crucial areas revealed by the software and marks assigned by an expert;
• the protocol of not recorded bolt holes;
• the protocol of missing flange signals;
• the protocols of no acoustic contact areas;
• the protocol of areas with inspection technology violations (channel setup, speed mode, manual operation of piezoelectric transducers by NDT bogie operators, etc.);
• the protocol of inspection run synchronisation data (GPS, benchmark points and areas);
• the protocol of track sections not inspected;
• the protocol of inspection run file integral status index;
• report forms and logs.
Employment of «ASTRA» should provide the following results:
• reduced costs for track repairs related to rail breakage due to defects skipped by operator and/or decoder;
• reduced time, labour and material expenditures for data analysis;
• optimisation on periodicity of on-the-fly rail control;
• reduced losses due to violation of traffic schedule;
• automatic generation of basic management and analytical reports for upper-level automated systems;
• building a common technological database on the condition of rail facilities;
• introduction of comprehensive rail/switch component monitoring and diagnostics.
In 2011, «ASTRA» SW and HW suite successfully passed acceptance tests at ОАО «RZD» and has been approved for the implementation on the railway networks.