How does VERSE® work?
The VERSE® system – developed jointly by Pandrol and AEA Technology – is an accurate, non-destructive method of stress-free temperature measurement. As there is no need to cut the rail, it takes much less time than traditional approaches, at less than 5% of the cost.
Taking a measurement involves unclipping around 30 m of track. The VERSE® equipment incorporates a clamp to the rail head, which allows the rail to be lifted to 10 kN (monitored by a load transducer). The system then deflects the rail and a displacement transducer logs the load and displacement at regular increments, accurately measuring the force and displacement profile of the deflection. The higher the tension in the rail, the more force will be required to deflect it.
Output from the transducers is routed to a handheld computer and combined with other data, including ambient rail temperature, rail profile and height of the rail (so that rail head wear and rail grinding can be taken into account). The VERSE® software then uses this data to return an instant stress-free temperature trackside, with a high level of accuracy. The data files are stored on the handheld computer and can be downloaded to PC software for further analysis.
The VERSE® equipment is simple and efficient to use. Preparation is minimal – there is no need to know the inherent stress and stress history of the length of rail, and measurements do not need to be taken at different rail temperatures. The rail temperature at the time of measurement needs to be lower than the stress-free temperature, which makes VERSE® ideal for use at night and early in the morning. The user inputs critical data into the handheld computer and is guided through the rail deflection process. Typical testing time is 20 to 30 minutes for an experienced crew, depending on the type of rail fastening.