To ensure the proper function of restrooms in ICE trains, wastewater tanks must be emptied on a regular basis. It is very important to ensure that the tanks are fully emptied and that they do not become clogged, since the restrooms may otherwise need to be closed or the train might even need to be cancelled for maintenance.
A part of a pilot project, a disposal platform at the ICE depot in Rummelsburg was equipped with smart sensors from Berlin-based start-up BeST to prevent disruption caused by incompletely emptied wastewater tanks. The integration of the system into a mobile adapter that can be mounted between the suction hose and the tank opening without any tools means that it can be installed easily without any modifications to existing facilities.
The system scans NFC tags that are already present in the wagon, allowing it to clearly identity the wagon’s tank. By analyzing the duration of the underpressure when pumping out the tank, it is possible to identify any malfunctions during the disposal process and display these in the LED display on the hose adapter. In addition, the error data is transmitted directly to DB via an LTE mobile communications module. This makes it possible to rectify the malfunction immediately or as part of the next regularly scheduled maintenance.
This solution improves customer service by ensuring that restroom facilities are always in operation, while also increasing vehicle availability and punctuality by avoiding the cancellation of trains for maintenance.
Berlin-based start-up BeST SENSOR develops autonomous IoT sensor solutions and participated in the DB mindbox start-up funding program in 2020.