Perpetuum and Direct Rail Services win Innovate UK’s ‘First of a Kind’ competition

Innovate UK, the United Kingdom’s innovation agency, has selected Perpetuum and Direct Rail Services (DRS) to deliver a project for the Department for Transport (DfT) set to make the UK rail network more efficient, greener and cleaner, as part of its £7.8million ‘First of a Kind’ competition.

Run by Innovate UK and funded by the DfT to support research, development and innovation in the UK rail industry, the “First of a Kind’competition seeks innovative ideas that can be adapted to transform rail travel. Strengthening resilience of railway infrastructure and operations, enhancing rail freight services, and reducing environmental and noise impacts were the themes for this current round.

DRS and Perpetuum will partner to deliver the first UK freight locomotive to have wireless wheelset condition monitoring installed. The ‘in-flight’ condition monitoring solution will mean, for the first time, it will be possible to mitigate in service bearing and wheel failures on any route, independent of location and status of trackside measurement equipment. It is the first installation of a smaller, lighter, energy harvester powered wireless node from Perpetuum, in its first major project with UK freight operators.

Perpetuum’s solution brings significant asset management intelligence and connectivity to the project, while DRS provides a comprehensive range of rail transport and network support services to the UK’s leading freight companies and FTSE 100 businesses.

“We are delighted to have been selected for the project and to partner with DRS,” explains Roy Freeland, President of Perpetuum. “Innovation such as ours can help to solve challenges in the public sector and we look forward to delivering another success story for the Department for Transport and Innovate UK.”

“Direct Rail Services are excited to be partnering Perpetuum in the development and application of their innovative Remote Condition Monitoring equipment and solutions to the rail freight sector,” comments Andy Martlew, Traction and Rolling Stock Development Engineer.

“This round has been the biggest yet and I am excited to see how our funding will bring these ambitious ideas to fruition,” says Andrew Jones, the UK’s Rail Minister.