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Omnicon Group Perspective: Testing and monitoring solutions to increase PTC performance

By Alfred DuPlessis, vice president of engineering, and San Nguyen, senior reliability and safety engineer

The Omnicon Group is an award-winning engineering services company with over 30 years of experience developing robust software, hardware and test solutions and performing safety and reliability work. Our customers include leading rail manufacturers such as Kawasaki, Alstom and Bombardier. We also support the largest train districts in the United States, including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Long Island Rail Road, New York City Transit, Metro-North), New Jersey Transit, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Port Authority Trans-Hudson, Toronto Transit Commission and Bay Area Rapid Transit. Omnicon focuses on catastrophic situations in the rail industry and expertly works to reduce hazards and failures. PTC is vital in assisting trains in stopping during such situations.
Recognizing that PTC is a large integration and coordination effort, Omnicon provides added value to our customers by developing testing and monitoring solutions to increase performance and minimize financial losses for rail manufacturers. We are involved in all phases of PTC deployment, from system architecture design to implementation to monitoring. In addition, we perform required reliability and safety analyses mandated by the manufacturers and districts to reduce delays for PTC components on a system level. Examples of our deliverables include reliability and safety demonstration and monitoring plans, fault tree, functional hazard, and failure mode effects and criticality analyses that are used to find latent failures that may cause catastrophic events.
Failure mode effects and criticality analysis looks for component failure modes, rates and consequence severity, thereby highlighting where fail-safe features are needed. Fault tree analysis investigates the ways that individual or groups of components can fail to produce specific undesirable events, which provides troubleshooting information. Functional hazard analysis identifies every function of a system and calculates the consequences and severity of all possible function failures. Together, these three engineering analyses provide manufacturers a way to constantly improve the design of future technology.
Omnicon is facilitating the process of PTC integration through performing engineering design reviews and applying our knowledge of developing safety-critical systems. Additionally, our deep understanding of rail-car components and the track/network systems they run on will ensure that PTC is implemented with the highest degree of reliability.
This federally mandated initiative aims to implement PTC across more than 70,000 miles of track nationwide by 2020. Omnicon’s goal is to contribute to making rail transportation safer and more reliable for the millions of passengers who use it daily.