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SMRT teams up with McLaren to use F1 tech to monitor MRT performance

TRAINS here could soon undergo rigorous Formula One (F1)-standard monitoring thanks to a partnership between SMRT and British-based McLaren Applied Technologies.

The company is part of the McLaren Group which includes the F1 team and high-performance carmaker McLaren Automotive.

SMRT and McLaren engineers are aiming to adapt race car condition-monitoring technology to assess MRT performance.

Such technology, used on F1 cars, provides information from highly specified data captured in real time. This allows the team to optimise on-track performance in races.

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Over a Grand Prix season with around 21 races, the McLaren race team captures an average of more than 12 billion real-time data points from over 300 sensors embedded on its two race cars.

The goal is to customise these to monitor train motors, brakes, pneumatic systems and gearboxes on a test-bed train, set to be ready later this year.

The memorandum of understanding between SMRT and McLaren Applied Technologies was signed in Singapore on Feb 23.

Mr Desmond Kuek, SMRT chief executive officer, said: "In Singapore, SMRT has been pioneering the development of rail condition-monitoring sensors to minimise disruption of our commuter service, optimising train performance by detecting and rectifying emerging defects early.

"We look forward to collaborating with McLaren Applied Technologies to elevate this capability further, combining our engineering expertise in rail with their proven capabilities harnessing sensors, telemetry and software in motorsport."

Mr Dick Glover, acting CEO for McLaren Applied Technologies, said: "This unique partnership with SMRT will deliver advantages for Singapore by maximising vehicle availability and maintenance capacity of their train services."

SMRT has been adapting various measures from overseas to improve the train system here. Earlier this year,it introduced the Japanese concept of kaizen, or continuous improvement, to its work processes.

Maintenance and track improvement works are also being done and have resulted in slower trains and shorter operating hours.

Some trains have been running slower on the North-South Line as works are carried out near Raffles Place MRT station to replace parts of the concrete track bed that support the running rails.

All 35 stations on the East-West Line will face shortened MRT operating hours during the weekends this month for engineering works and testing of a new signalling system.

THE STRAITS TIMES