Sand Sensor

Device and procedure for measuring the height of stacking of a substance in railway environments

It is a safety system that belongs to the field of sensors for measuring the heights of substances, especially the height of sand in the railway field and communications in desert environments.

The device is capable of determining the amount of substance accumulated in a certain place as well as its associated measurement procedure.

The substance can be any whose density is known, and preferably, those substances found in railway environments such as water, sand, snow, mud, ice, etc.

The invasion of the roads by sand from moving dunes or deposited by phenomena of sand storms and wind is one of the concerns that can affect both the use and maintenance of the facilities. If a significant amount of sand is deposited on the tracks, it may be necessary to temporarily reduce the permitted speed, in extreme cases interrupting train traffic for safety.

In this context, it is necessary to use substance accumulation or accumulation detectors capable of providing the operator of the railway line, particularly the high-speed line, with information about the amount of substance (sand, water, etc.) that accumulates at all times at certain points on the track. To give this information,
the device and procedure are created to measure the height of accumulation of a substance in railway environments.

The device is capable of directly measuring the height of the accumulation through capacitive sensors, and indirectly through the value of the accumulated weight on a load cell together with the typical density of the material to be measured, allowing adjustments to be made to the density using an ambient humidity sensor. This double measure gives more reliability to the reading provided by the device.

It also has an accelerometer to check the verticality of the device, thus avoiding erroneous readings in case of inclination or overturning due to a possible blow.

The information generated by the device is transmitted to a control centre where the necessary actions will be taken based on the level readings.

The device has been tested in a high-speed railway environment without having suffered any type of interference in its readings, neither due to proximity to the catenary nor during the passage of trains.

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