Article Source: IMechE

Customers who wish to digitally monitor their freight train fleets can do so in an easy, efficient manner by using a solution developed by Schaeffler and Siemens Mobility.


The Intelligent Axlebox Generator innovation project combines the expertise of both companies in the fields of axlebox generators (Schaeffler) and telematic systems (Siemens Mobility), resulting in a digital system for improving transparency and increasing efficiency in rail freight transport.

With a generator integrated into the axlebox bearing housing cover, Schaeffler provides an independent power supply for freight cars. Siemens Mobility uses this independent power supply for its telematics units, which record information about the train during operation and make the data immediately available via a mobile network.

Freight cars typically do not have their own electrical power supply. Until now, electrical systems in freight cars have primarily been supplied with power from batteries. Available energy is therefore limited from the outset, which also limits the systems’ functionality.

With its axlebox generator, Schaeffler is presenting an independent power supply that is flange-mounted to the wheelset to provide an alternative to the supply of power from the locomotive or batteries. The performance of the electronic system is therefore available without restriction. The wear-free generator supplies one watt of power starting from approximately 40 km/h.

The combination of a continuous supply of power and the Controlguide CTmobile telematic system from Siemens Mobility enables additional added-value services such as condition-based monitoring and immediate data availability.

The system is wireless and can easily be retrofitted or replaced. For customers, converting to an ‘intelligent’ axlebox generator means that the wheelset’s standard components – such as the housing, bearing, and axle journals – remain unchanged. Only the housing cover and the axle cover need to be replaced. In addition, the system is maintenance-free.

Sensors for monitoring the wheelset regarding temperature, vibration, wear, and flat spots on the wheels can optionally be integrated and are currently being developed.

Information about the train in real time

Siemens Mobility’s scope of delivery includes a circuit board integrated into the axlebox bearing housing cover and the CTmobile telematics box installed on the freight car, which records the data and transmits this via a mobile network. Moreover, different sensors for parameters such as door openings, load, and temperatures can be integrated into the system.

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