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System Health Monitoring for COM Applications

Press release [Thursday 30 August 2012]

Most large metropolitan cities rely on integrated public transportation systems like buses, subways or railways to move people efficiently around.

The Challenge

Transportation systems need to reliably run 24/7 no matter if it's sunny, snowing or raining. Weather and harsh environments cause systems to slowly wear and deteriorate, and system malfunctions are unavoidable, but continuous system monitoring and maintenance can make systems operate longer and run more safely and reliably. Subway systems and tunnels can typically span hundreds of kilometers, so if one part malfunctions, it can be very difficult to diagnose the source of a problem. Without proper monitoring, control centers are powerless, and if problems occur during rush hours, it could be chaotic and dangerous.

The Solution

To overcome this, Advantech developed SUSIAccess. SUSIAccess is an integrated API utility suite that provides system control, monitoring and recovery functions. It can be a stand-alone utility or communicate between systems becoming a network information utility. Most transportation applications are highly integrated and complex, making it very difficult to analyze potential problems without detailed feedback information. Design Engineers are always looking for more efficient ways to remotely control and monitor their systems, and this is where SUSIAccess comes in. SUSIAccess can provide in-depth monitoring of circuit voltage levels, temperatures, as well as the status and reports of all devices and components in the system. It can even determine wireless transmission strengths.

How SUSIAccess Helps

Most subway systems are designed to monitor and record the whole system 24/7 and transmit all that information to the control center. If an unfortunate accident happens, management will then have all the relevant data on hand to analyze and remedy the problem. These systems need massive storage capacities to fulfill the huge data requirements. However, it is a fact of life that storage devices occasionally go bad during read and write phases, and writing errors or complete crashes happen from time to time. So far, there are no 100% reliable long life storage solutions for transportation. Traditional storage devices like HDD have natural limitations especially when operating in harsh environments with high vibration or high temperatures. Solid state storage devices like CF cards or SD cards are more suitable to operate in harsh environments, but they have finite read/write times and life spans. Frequently changing and updating storage devices are critical to balance system reliability and cost. One of the outstanding features of SUSIAccess is that it is able to see the status of all peripheral devices. Currently SUSIAccess provides CF card usage status and functions like S.M.A.R.T information, which shows wear levels and life cycles. With this feature, management can easily schedule maintenance or send out technicians to check a system.

Another special feature is that SUSIAccess has the ability to monitor wireless signal strengths. Reliable wireless communications are essential in modern transit systems, and clear communication relies on solid signal strength, but many factors can affect their quality especially in concrete underground tunnels. Monitoring signal quality and dynamically adjusting signal output strength can secure data integrity. With SUSIAccess, the control center manager is able to monitor wireless strength and even improve the communication quality in dead spots so that important data never gets lost.

SUSIAccess system health monitoring reduces maintenance times, and prevents system malfunctions in advance

SUSIAccess system health monitoring reduces maintenance times, and prevents system malfunctions in advance

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