R&D of a Remote Mobile Rail Tracking Machine


Nelson Point, WA

Project Overview

Mincka was commissioned to design and fabricate a remote vehicle capable of inspecting the condition of the rail tracks used by various types of rail mounted machines.

The Challenges

The client was concerned about safety issues that could arise during the manual inspection of the rail tracks used by the rail mounted machines. The goal of the project was to reduce the exposure of the rail track inspectors to potential hazards. These included the uncontrolled release of stored energy in the rail retainers and environmental hazards due to high temperatures and dust. In addition, this type of inspection is very time-consuming, since the inspector has to walk the rail track to look for any defects.

The Solution

Mincka assembled a mechanical and electronic engineering team to design a complete solution. We designed a remote vehicle that has high-precision cameras at the front and on both sides, a customizable viewing range, high image quality, and a rail guidance system sized to standard rail specifications. In addition, a high-accuracy positioning system with two independent GPS and a collision prevention system using a panoramic camera and proximity detection sensors, was created. Finally, a control station that provides a set of monitoring and configuration tools to remotely command the vehicle was developed.

The Impact

We eliminated the exposure that our client’s inspection personnel have to the potential release of stored energy and to various environmental hazards. We also reduced inspection time by being able to measure the vertical alignment of the rail tracks and identify defects remotely via video. The comprehensive capabilities of our solution allowed the client to substantially improve their key safety metrics across the board.