New assistance systems such as PlasserSmartTamping – The Assistant help the operator manage the machine’s operational systems. All work units of a universal tamping machine are controlled by the assistance system during turnout maintenance. The operator only has to confirm the actions the system recommends. This reduces the risk of serious operating mistakes significantly, even though there is always the back-up level of manual interaction.
The new assistance system meets many of our customers’ requirements. Infrastructure operators expect transparency, process reliability and quality in turnout tamping. Machine operators expect a higher level of automation of the tamping process, higher workplace quality and, if possible, a reduction of the staff required. We have taken a step towards these requirements, using the opportunities created by digitisation.
Fitted with laser scanner, colour camera and rail profile sensors at the front cabin, the machine scans the turnout lying ahead. The assistance software analyses it. The system recognises turnout components and obstacles and recommends corresponding actions for the lifting and lining unit, the additional lifting device and the tamping unit.
These recommendations are shown in the main tamping cabin on the assistance screen on top of the turnout. Green indicates that the system has positively checked the recommendation. The operator confirms the recommendation and activates the pedal. The additional safety feature shows possible irregularities in the recommendation in red. The assistance system operates live, in real time. A separate surveying run and operators in the co-tamping cabin are not needed.
All actions, such as tilting the tamping tines, are carried out by the assistance system. It operates the 3-rail lifting unit, the 4-rail tamping unit, following a tamping plan based on the information provided by the infrastructure operators. A tamping report, issued as an open multilayer pdf, informs about all aspects relevant to quality.