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Fault-Tolerant Control (FTC) applied to an inherently redundant electromechanical railway track switch

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posted on 03.07.2020, 08:41 by Precious Kaijuka
Track switches are essential in order to enable railway vehicles to change routes however they are also the largest single cause of failure on the railway network and remain a single point of failure. This thesis focusses on modelling and fault tolerant control of a new type of electromechanical railway track switch. Unlike conventional track switch machines, this switch needs closed loop feedback control. Firstly, a detailed simulation model of the switch is developed and validated against experimental results. Two model-based control designs are then developed and tested: a classical cascaded P/PI controller and a modern state feedback LQR controller. The two controllers are compared and it is found that, whilst there are some performance differences, both meet the requirements for use in a redundantly actuated track switch. Following this, a fault tolerant control scheme for sensor faults is developed and validated using fault detection, identification and accommodation methods applied to a detailed non-linear simulation model and then validated on the experimental test rig. The results demonstrate that using a reliable fault tolerant control configuration could increase the availability and reliability of the switch in the presence of sensor faults. Finally, a fault tolerant control approach to actuator faults on the switch with triplex redundancy is developed and validated. In order to achieve this, a dynamic model of a railway track is developed in simulation as the basis for load application to the system. Three parallel actuators with their associated controllers are used to actuate the switch showing good performance in meeting the position control requirements. Different actuator faults are applied and their control performance results are shown. A summary of the control performance is also presented highlighting the differences in performance with different permutations of actuator faults. Overall, it is shown that redundancy in actuation with a suitable control scheme provides benefits in achieving post-fault availability of a redundantly actuated electromechanical railway track switch in the presence of actuator faults.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


Loughborough University

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© Precious Lorraine Kaijuka

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A doctoral thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.




Roger Dixon ; Christopher Patrick Ward ; Will Midgley

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