The most featured and advanced portable ultrasonic rail testing system, HANDWave by C.A.T.E.R, has won full approval for Network Rail and Transport for London (LUL and TubeLines) use in the United Kingdom.
C.A.T.E.R (Centre for Advanced Transport Engineering and Research) based in Australia, says that although based on the well proven HANDWave ultrasonic rail testing system, the final design is a major refinement of the original innovative concept that caught the attention of the global rail industry in the last four years.
The HANDWave uses ULTRAWave LITE processing software which is the portable form of the ultrasonic system proven over many years by Japan Railways and MTR Hong Kong. This experience has influenced the design and many of the features available across the range of the C.A.T.E.R RFD product range. HANDWave has added to what is already the most featured of all portable units.
Software changes offer an even wider range of configurations to tailor to individual network conditions. Recorded information is readily accessible, viewable and reportable in a variety of ways leading to flaw trending and proactive response aided by accurate location recording.
The hardware changes include frame assembly and construction material changes for ease of assembly and even lighter weight, Cant and Lateral adjustment improvements, greater power (third) rail clearance for certain rail networks and battery type changes for weight reduction and power increases. The Processing Module has become even more robust. The advantage of the removable PC Notebook for display and recording remains for security and ease of file sharing in the office.
The Series II release comes after listening carefully to customer ideas and comments and addressing the needs highlighted from these surveys. The essential requirement was to maintain the unique concept of having one unit in modular form to be able to test one rail (SRT-Single Rail Tester), two rails at a time (DRT- Dual Rail Tester) or in an automated way by the DRT being towed by a small rail vehicle. The advantage of this flexibility of setup offers significant cost savings for operators as this removes the need for the purchase, staffing and maintenance of several different types of vehicles.
The HANDWave has similar interfaces and controls to these train-borne systems which offers familiarity to operators and therefore savings in staffing and training costs by the same operator pool when either vehicle based or portable RFD systems are employed.
In conjunction with this benefit comes the familiarity of the software across all levels of C.A.T.E.R ultrasonic systems. There are clear economies for the same test operator to be able to work at the pedestrian level of HANDWave up to the full train-borne systems with several rail inspection systems onboard.
Acceptance by the major UK networks is a coup which highlights the significant advantages offered by the use of HANDWave in any rail network's rail inspection tool box.