International rail industry award nominations for Ricardo pantograph monitoring technology

International rail industry award nominations for Ricardo pantograph monitoring technology
23 March 2017

PanMon – Ricardo Rail’s advanced pantograph monitoring technology – has been shortlisted for two categories in the prestigious RailTech Europe Innovation Awards.

RailTech is a high-level international conference that is to be hosted in Utrecht, the Netherlands, between March 28-30th, with the awards ceremony held during a gala dinner on the opening day. Having secured a nomination for the ‘Rolling Stock Innovation’ category, PanMon has also been put forward for the ‘Public Award’, a category where the winner is determined by a public vote.

PanMon is a remote monitoring technology that can help prevent catastrophic damage to overhead wires on electrified rail routes. Rolling stock that draw power from overhead electrical wires require their pantograph units to be in contact with the electrical contact wires at all times, regardless of speed, journey length or weather conditions. This can lead to wear and tear on the actual carbon strips that maintain contact with the wires. The gradual build up of defects on these strips can subsequently inflict damage to the overhead wires and their surrounding apparatus. In extreme cases, they can cause de-wirements that require costly and time-consuming repairs and lead to severe disruption to services. PanMon allows infrastructure owners to identify those vehicles on the network that pose a greater risk of damage to the network’s wires, enabling planned maintenance to minimize the risk failures and the consequential costs of network disruption that these can bring.

“Ricardo Rail is pleased that our PanMon technology has been nominated for these prestigious awards,” commented Ricardo Rail MD Paul Seller. “We are committed to applying the latest technologies and innovations to help solve some of the key challenges of the international rail sector. PanMon is a fine example of this, in helping train operators and network managers to proactively plan rolling stock maintenance and hence improve the reliability of electrified routes.”


The twin award nominations cap a successful 18 months for PanMon. Already operational on the Dutch rail network, the system completed a two-year trial for Network Rail, the UK infrastructure manager, in 2015. PanMon is expected to be installed on locations along the West Coast Main Line, with another two systems due for installation on the Heathrow spur later in 2017. In addition, a Proof of Concept trial commenced earlier in the year with Infrabel, the Belgian infrastructure manager, with a view to possible installation from early 2018.

Pantograph monitoring with pinpoint accuracy
PanMon uses Sensys’ Automatic Pantograph Monitoring System (APMS) to provide high definition images of each passing pantograph through a combination of radar, laser, video and photo technology, and an innovative new contact-less optical Uplift Monitoring system developed by Ricardo in association with Italian-based optical monitoring specialists DMA S.r.l, Turin.  Using specialist software, the system provides ongoing condition reports of each passing pantograph, including a measurement of the thickness of the carbon strip to within 2mm. Infrastructure managers can then work with operators to take early preventative action and, ultimately, extend the life of both the wires and the pantograph equipment carried by the trains.

PanMon forms part of Ricardo’s Intelligent Rail suite of condition monitoring and analysis services, all of which are aimed at helping the rail sector to use data captured during day-to-day operation to improve processes and reduce costs

Ricardo will be hosting demonstrations of PanMon and other Intelligent Rail products from its stand at the RailTech event.