How videoscopes can help to inspect the brakes of the world’s fastest trains
Bullet trains are the fastest way of transportation without taking off from the ground. Originating in Japan, their real name is Shinkansen, but because of their streamlined form and sheer speed, sometimes over 400 km/h, they were dubbed bullet trains.
Nowadays, many types of these trains are used globally and have become an integral part of connecting cities and accelerating transportation. However, while speed and acceleration made these trains famous, an often-overlooked aspect of these engineering masterworks is their brakes.
Considering their size, weight, and speed, every turn and every stop becomes a challenge crucial to the safety of passengers. For example, the N700 Series Shinkansen, with 16 cars, weighs over 700 tons and is over 400 meters long; this means an intricate braking system is needed to ensure safety.
High-speed trains achieve this by using pneumatic brakes. These brakes utilize compressed air pressing on a piston to apply pressure to the brake pads. The necessary airflow is supplied by air tanks and adjusted by an electro-pneumatic valve (EPV). The output pressure is directly controlled by the brake control unit (BCU); antiskid valves adjust the brake pressure to prevent the wheels from locking.
The BCU utilizes many parameters to apply the right amount of pressure on the brakes during turns (when the train is leaning) or stops. These parameters include, for example, the weight of the passengers of each car.
Because the air tanks must continually supply air to the brakes, fresh air is taken from the outside to refill the tanks, if necessary. These tanks are, therefore, the base of these braking systems. As a result, a leak could lead to severe impairment of the brakes or even failure.
They, therefore, need to be regularly maintained (at least twice a year) and, if necessary, cleaned, repaired, or exchanged. Videoscopes help to carry out this very crucial inspection.
For this, a videoscope with outstanding illumination capabilities, at least a two-way articulation probe, and a high image resolution are necessary.
The ten-step brightness control and the four-way articulation of our X2000 probes allow for a thorough inspection.
Furthermore, the X2000 system is portable, extremely robust, and offers IP67 water and dust protection. That makes it ideal for this type of inspection as the most often occurring issues are water, oil, or salt residues within the air tank.
Regular inspections of the air tanks of pneumatic braking systems are crucial to ensure their safety and functionality. Mitcorp’s powerful videoscopes can help to complete these inspections fast and efficiently.