The SKF Insight bearing, which has been retrofitted to the wheelset axlebox of an SJ B7 coach, integrates an intelligent self-powered sensor and wireless device within the same space as a conventional bearing. The bearing is combined with a node and gateway wireless system which enables data from the wheelset to be transmitted in real time to a remote server for analysis.

The information gathered will enable railways to switch from scheduled maintenance intervals to a predictive system where bearings are only changed when they have reached a defined level of wear. Using intelligent bearings should also reduce the incidence of false hot-box detection.

"This pilot project is a part of SJ's effort to find new technical solutions," says Mr Pär Söderström, a technical specialist in SJ's vehicle division. "We are moving towards condition-based maintenance of our vehicles in the future, with further improved reliability and cost control. Here we see a big potential in the wireless technology that SKF offers and that we will evaluate together after the pilot."

SKF says if the trials prove successful, as it believes they will, it hopes to equip more vehicles with SKF Insight sensors for a longer period.