Condition Monitoring using a Low Power Wide Area Network based on LoRaWAN

Ball, Jonathon (2019) Condition Monitoring using a Low Power Wide Area Network based on LoRaWAN. [USQ Project]

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The Internet of Things (IoT) offers opportunity for the reliable collection of data. Low power wide area networks (LPWANs) offer the establishment of IoT networks and devices with low power budgets. Some LPWANS like LoRaWAN also offer long distances connections, suitable to remote and widespread operating environments (Karimi & Atkinson 2013).

This project investigates the rollout of a LoRaWAN network and the development of a compatible data collection device to enable condition monitoring of critical track circuit devices in Aurizon’s Network.

Aurizon requires a solution to remotely gather the available diagnostic information from these devices. When track circuits fail, they prevent the safe running of trains, can delay road vehicles at level crossings and cost considerable amounts in lost revenue while they are repaired. Aurizon relies on a large number of EBI Track 200 track circuit devices known to fail during their operational lifetime. Prior research has shown that majority of nuisance failures can be predicted and prevented through condition monitoring of these devices (Rose 2009). Due to the geographically diverse roll-out of these track circuits, traditional computer-based serial communications are not possible.

The first concept of the project was to source, purchase and modify a device capable of talking to the EBI Track 200 and broadcasting the data via LoRaWAN. Initial market research was undertaken to determine if an existing solution was available on the market that could be used to connect to an EBI Track 200 device and LoRaWAN. When no device could be found a Systems Engineering approach was undertaken to develop a device capable of reporting back condition information of EBI Track 200 devices over LoRaWAN.

A proof of concept device was built using an Arduino Uno which can connect to the EBI Track 200 device via an RS-485 serial connection to collect condition data. The data is then collected, encrypted and broadcast wirelessly over a private LoRaWAN, after which it is passed over a conventional network to a virtual machine, which authenticates and unencrypts the data. The data is then forwarded to an InfluxDB database for the data to be stored and displayed.

This project has achieved the collection and storage of condition data for critical track circuit devices utilising a proof of concept data logging device. The solution addresses the limitations of traditional serial communications. The collection of this data will allow for the implementation of proactive maintenance activities to reduce nuisance failures and improve the availability of train paths.

Further work is required to improve end device features, such as the inclusion for battery backed transmission, which will allow for powered status messages to be transmitted under blackout conditions. In addition, extra development on the private LoRaWAN network connected to Aurizon’s internal data network, including performing field testing on active receivers will be required before site installation can occur.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Kist, Alexander
Qualification: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Electrical and Electronic)
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2021 23:57
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2023 05:42

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