DataTraks Secures Contract to Manage Trackside Acoustic Detection System (TADS)

by Brad Shannon
June 30, 2014

DataTraks Secures Contract to Manage TADS for TTCI

Partnership covers new and existing North American predictive maintenance systems

DataTraks, which provides engineering and software solutions for companies around the world in the railroad industry, has contracted with the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI) to manage the application of TTCI’s Trackside Acoustic Detection System (TADS®) in North America. TTCI is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

TADS was designed to detect and monitor flaws in tapered roller bearings at normal track speeds. It is a non-vital, non-safety critical detection system. The system’s bearing detection algorithms are designed to flag certain known features associated with internal bearing defects. TADS is designed to detect the following condemnable bearing defects in AAR-type tapered roller bearings:

  • Cup spalls or brinells
  • Cone spalls or brinells
  • Spalled, etched, or seamed rollers
  • Water-etched raceways

TADS is a wayside system developed by TTCI for the purpose of finding defective railroad bearings prior to failure and reporting their location to system owners. This microphone-based system collects the acoustic signature of each bearing on a passing train and processes this data through a suite of algorithms designed to identify defective bearings. The system is capable of predicting which bearings are defective, the type of defect and the confidence of the prediction. There are currently 18 TADS sites in the U.S. and Canada. BNSF has 14, including portable systems, while CSX, Norfolk Southern, Canadian Pacific and Union Pacific have one each.

“The years of work we’ve done in partnership with TTCI on TADS has been a key part of our growth and success, and we’re excited to have this expanded opportunity to manage this important system for them,” said DataTraks’ President and CEO James Bilodeau.

The contract puts DataTraks in charge of ongoing development work to improve TADs, building and deploying new systems through a licensing agreement with TTCI, as well as maintaining existing systems and providing customer support to existing and future customers. DataTraks, which hired additional staff over the last year to prepare for this contract, will manage the additional work with its current team of 10 employees.

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