Barnbrook boxes clever with new contract win

Andrew Barnett, the inventor of BlueCube and chief technology officer at Barnbrook Systems

A Hampshire manufacturer has scooped a five-figure order for innovative ‘smart’ technology to improve Britain’s railways.

Barnbrook Systems Ltd, which is based in Fareham, is supplying its cutting-edge BlueCube wireless sensors for remote condition monitoring of onboard systems  – including a new contract to improve the operation of train doors.

Barnbrook is a designer, developer and manufacturer of electronic and electro-mechanical switching devices for aerospace, defence, maritime, rail and commercial industries worldwide.

Its BlueCube sensors and accompanying iSense software – all designed and manufactured inhouse – can track nearly any function on a train in real-time to make sure it keeps running efficiently. It also flags up issues before they turn into major failures which could lead to cancellations, delays or safety problems.

The innovative modular system is already being used or trialled to monitor heating and ventilation systems, engine performance, water and sanitation systems and brake control systems on trains.

Barnbrook is also upgrading more of its BlueCubes with Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to track live train movements.

Now 35-strong Barnbrook is involved in a project with train operator Great Western Railway and leasing company Porterbrook to improve the operation of carriage doors.

BlueCube’s cutting-edge sensors will monitor opening and closing times of every door at every stop.

The new system will allow depot managers to precisely pinpoint faulty or slow doors so they can carry out repairs and improve punctuality, reliability and safety.

The first devices will be fitted on selected trains between Cardiff and Portsmouth Harbour via Bristol and Bath, as well as Weymouth to Worcester Shrub and Great Malvern.

Barnbrook chief technology officer Andrew Barnett, who created BlueCube, said: “BlueCube is smart technology for a 21st century railway.

“This new contract shows the industry is embracing BlueCube as the means to improve efficiency and realise longevity of equipment without compromising on safety and service levels.

“With rising numbers of rail users, BlueCube can also help rail operators deliver the best possible customer experience for passengers nationwide.”

BlueCube can be applied across multiple sectors, include defence and aerospace.  It is already being used for refuelling by a leading international aeronautical company.

Barnbrook unveiled its cutting-edge fuel switch to make refuelling safer and more efficient for helicopters when it attended Farnborough International Airshow for the tenth successive time in July 2014. It will be attending again in 2016.

The company is a finalist in the Digital Pioneer, Mobile Technology and Product Innovation at the UK Rail Industry Awards in February.

Financial details of the contract were not revealed.