Pancam: Machine Vision Inspection of Locomotive Pantographs

Pancam is a machine vision system that monitors wear and damage to the pantographs of in-service electric locomotives, preventing expensive damage to overhead wiring and locomotives.

Dewirements such as this can be prevented by Pancam.

A badly worn pantograph that may damage the overhead wire.

Electric locomotives use pantographs to draw power from overhead wires. Damaged and worn pantographs can damage the locomotive and overhead wiring. Serious damage to the overhead wiring (dewirement) makes the track unusable until repairs are completed. Such damage is costly in both repairs and loss of rail service. Prevention requires regular inspection, but manual inspections are costly and insufficient to prevent pantograph-related dewirements.

Pancam is an automated machine vision inspection system for locomotive pantographs that was developed by Hamey Vision Systems Pty Ltd and Queensland Rail (QR National) in association with Access Macquarie Ltd. Pancam has been deployed in QR's coal transport network, preventing all pantograph-related dewirements for 20 months. Pancam inspects locomotives in normal service as they pass an inspection point. Pantographs that may require maintenance are promptly reported through a Web-based database interface. Email notification is also provided. The benefits of Pancam include improved rail service, reduced repair costs and improved pantograph maintenance.

Pancam is patented and is commercially available through QR Limited. Pancam is a trademark of QR National.

Next: Why and How to Inspect Pantographs.

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