Tractronic Sensformer®: Born connected – The world’s first intelligent traction transformer.
One of the most challenging aspects of digitization is the implementation of artificial intelligence algorithms in mechanical and electrical components. With the increasing complexity of electromechanical systems, several components cannot effectively fulfill the additional features with their current condition monitoring. They definitively need more.
The onboard electrical network of a locomotive belongs to electrical systems, which are becoming increasingly complex. At the same time, its performance must be constantly controlled and improved. This can be compared with a runner. Runners always have to improve their performance, whether by controlling their heartbeat or by adapting their behavior according to performance data. Every sports scientist knows that: an accurate heart diagnosis doesn’t just give information about the state of the heart. It also reveals the overall health of the body. The heart of an electric locomotive is the traction transformer. It distributes the electrical energy to all parts of the train for processing of traction tasks and more. Like the performance monitoring system of a runner, the condition monitoring of the traction transformer, supported by a detailed data analysis, gives information on the “health” of the train. The operation of the train is optimized by a smart system using the information delivered by the traction transformer. Even better, by effectively controlling its behavior through artificial intelligence-based monitoring, the transformer significantly reduces the train’s operating costs. This is the basic idea which motivated Siemens to develop a new generation of traction transformers: to be active and self-controlled. The reliability of the train will be improved. These transformers are called “Tractronic Sensformer®”.
The Tractronic Sensformer® contains the necessary sensors for monitoring the most important operating parameters. All data are collected on a secured information node. After edge processing the information is sent out to a cloud. An artificial intelligence algorithm on the cloud combines all needed information to generate a new, optimized data stream and gives recommendations to the train based on the optimization criteria (i.e. energy consumption, maintenance). Only standard and open cloud solutions are used for quick and easy insights to all connected assets and enhanced operational decisions. Siemens fully understands cybersecurity requirements and uses highly efficient encryption technologies.
The first installation of Tractronic Sensformer® was successfully completed on an electric multiple unit in August 2018. With the Tractronic Sensformer® the important keystone of the train electrical network is now digitalized.