Rail Safety Enhanced with ENSCO's Joint Bar Inspection System

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ENSCO is the only company to offer a high-speed optical joint bar inspection system and has seen the demand for this technology quickly increase. Five of the Class 1 railroads use this technology to augment their joint inspection processes. The system has been used by these railroads to repair sections of track that have had high rates of defective joint bars for an extended period of time and is also used quarterly to ensure new cracks in bars are identified and removed immediately.

These cracks are virtually invisible to railroad maintenance personnel when performing traditional visual inspections from a hi-railer. This capability has made a significant impact in the early detection of defective bars before they reach 100 percent breaks.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) reported in 2006 that broken joint bars are a significant cause of main line derailments in North America. To decrease the number of derailments due to broken joint bars, ENSCO worked in partnership with the FRA Office of Research and Development to develop the Joint Bar Inspection System (JBIS), a machine vision joint bar inspection system.

Fewer Derailments with Joint Bar Inspection Technology:
Utilized by commercial railroads and the FRA, ENSCO's systems locate and identify hairline cracks in joint bars at speeds up to 65 MPH. This is a significant improvement in efficiency over traditional walking inspections and more accurate than visual inspection of bars from a hi-rail vehicle. As ENSCO's Joint Bar Inspection fleet expands, the chances of derailments from broken joint bars decreases. The JBIS automated machine vision technology for inspecting rail joint bars can be installed on a hi-railer or a track inspection car where it captures high-resolution images of the joint bars and uses advanced processing algorithms on the images to detect cracks. The JBIS provides reporting of every exception located during the inspection, allowing the maintenance crews to perform the track maintenance more efficiently. If required, it also provides a GPS location inventory of all rail joints on the line.

ENSCO is the only company to offer a high-speed optical joint bar inspection system and has seen the demand for this technology quickly increase. Five of the Class 1 railroads use this technology to augment their joint inspection processes. The system has been used by these railroads to repair sections of track that have had high rates of defective joint bars for an extended period of time and is also used quarterly to ensure new cracks in bars are identified and removed immediately.

ENSCO added new features to the Joint Bar Inspection System in the past year including refined detection of very small cracks and improved detection on non-uniform rail conditions such as water streaked rail and rail that is cluttered with debris. "We developed algorithms to find what the industry calls 'five percent' cracks, which are about 0.25 inches in length," said ENSCO, Program Manager, Andie Berry. "These cracks are virtually invisible to railroad maintenance personnel when performing traditional visual inspections from a hi-railer. This capability has made a significant impact in the early detection of defective bars before they reach 100 percent breaks."

ENSCO performs Joint Bar Inspection Services for its customers with its fleet of hi-railers or customers may purchase ENSCO's JBIS systems and operate them with their own personnel.

About ENSCO's Rail Technologies Group:
For more than 30 years, ENSCO has been leading the rail industry in developing new and advanced technologies. ENSCO's systems and solutions help customers improve the safety, security and quality of their operations. As an active member of the railroad and transit research communities, ENSCO is committed to the creation, development and application of new technology to improve rail safety and performance. ENSCO is a leading provider of automated and autonomous inspection systems, Web-based data management systems, vehicle dynamics analysis and simulations, large-scale systems integration and other products and services. The ENSCO name represents the rail industry's premier source for track inspection, vehicle/track interaction monitoring and railroad asset management technology. The ENSCO-developed line covers technologies for every phase of rail operations.

About ENSCO, Inc.:
ENSCO, Inc. provides engineering, science and advanced technology solutions for the defense, security, transportation, environment, and aerospace industries. Founded in 1969, with revenues of more than $100 million, ENSCO is a 750-person, privately owned corporation. Headquartered in Falls Church, Va., ENSCO has major offices in Springfield, Virginia, Endicott, New York, and Melbourne and Cocoa Beach, Florida; field offices throughout the United States; and sales representatives in 15 countries selling ENSCO's products and services to a wide range of customers.

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Bonnie Gangemi
ENSCO
703-321-4624
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