The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association(NRC) has awarded FTS Tools LLC and Railway Industry Suppliers as the first and second-place winners respectively for its 2023 Innovation in Technology Award.
The NRC introduced the Innovation in Technology Award in 2022 to honor innovation and unique technologies, or technological services, created or implemented by an NRC member company.
In awarding FTS Tools as the first-place winner at the NRC Annual Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, NRC President Ashley Wieland noted that FTS had developed a lightweight, portable, sensor-based device called Laser-Focused that measures rail deflections under full dynamic load. "Easily integrated into any operation, this device magnetizes to the web of the rail and, as a train passes, records lateral (pushing), vertical (pumping), superelevation, rail temperature, and more, under full dynamic load in a specific location of track. As the train passes, data can be viewed on a smart phone in real-time. Once the train passes, the device can generate a report detailing any variations and automatically send it to the track inspector."
FTS developed the technology with extensive input and testing by inspectors from every Class I railroad and most transit agencies. This collaboration was avital step in enabling FTS Tool to develop a device that is easy to use, adopt and impactful for track inspectors.
Industry-Railways Suppliers, the second-place winner, introduced the new CD400SP-IQ, a self-propelled intelligent clip piler manufactured by Pandrol. Using a wireless, Bluetooth remote control, the machine operator controls all functions of the tie clipping process without touching the machine – speed, clipping and de-clipping, clipping type, and engine on/off – which enhances safety and productivity.
The machine also features an 'IQ' system that collects and stores machine data that is accessible remotely.
“The NRC’s Technology Committee was developed in response to requests by railway engineering leaders for technology solutions that will help generate returns on investment and bottom-line savings. The Committee introduced the ‘Innovation in Technology Award’ to recognize innovative and unique technologies or technological services. The award highlights ways our members are using technology to enhance safety and operations in our industry.”
B4 Solutions LLC