Indigo track and ride monitoring system enables rail operators to quickly spot problems developing when repeated incidents appear upon a hot-spot map. ID Computing MD, Ian Duffy, developed and manufactured Indigo – he now seeks to extend Indigo sales to train operators.
Indigo does more than just generate data for customers. A high-level of skills and knowledge in vehicle dynamics and track geometry allow Ian to tailor the analysis and reports, for maximum customer benefit.
Monitoring systems of this type invariably present surprises in the data which provide additional unexpected insights into track and vehicle dynamics and lead to additional applications beyond the original scope.
Currently, there are eight Indigo track fault-finding devices on-board Virgin trains, providing extensive real-time data and incident reports to Network Rail via the internet. Ian reports Indigo has no failures or problems with more than 6000 data files recorded so far.
Although Indigo was primarily created as a ride and track quality measuring device, it was also developed with future applications in mind. It has connectors that receive data from other external sensors and the ability to communicate with other devices using serial, ethernet or Wi-Fi links: Ian has already been asked about developing some of these features further to support a particular application.
Ian says “I would love to see Indigo adopted more widely across the UK, so I am also working with a partner to promote and deliver it worldwide. We’ve already secured a sale in France and have further interest in Spain and Norway.”
An excellent computer programmer and mathematician, Ian studied Theoretical Physics and Mathematics at the University of Cambridge before working at British Rail Research and AEA Technology Rail. He worked on various remote condition monitoring systems and with diesel engines, passenger counting, brake pads and wheel flats, as well as writing code for VAMPIRE (a vehicle modelling package) and the real-time acquisition for a track recording coach.
In 2003, Ian established ID Computing in Derby from where he has delivered projects for companies such as DeltaRail, Siemens, Bombardier and Virgin Trains. His projects all related to data acquisition, monitoring/SCADA systems, databases, and reporting.
For the last ten years, Virgin have been using another of Ian’s applications, Vortex, which allows them to drill into black-box data, to improve performance and support delay attribution.
Like many technical experts, Ian was less confident about how to market his product however he discovered funded workshops provided by – another Rail Forum Midlands member – the University of Derby.
On several occasions, Ian saw a business management consultant which he found useful, as a sounding-board that forced him to think more strategically about his company.
Like many small-business owners, Ian has struggled with juggling too many things at the same time. However, he found that and after each business support meeting, he gradually developed definite priorities.
Endorsing the University of Derby’s business support services, he adds “I attended a Business Strategy Workshop, in January 2019 which supported my efforts to think more strategically about the business. I would recommend such sessions to other businesses.”
For more information about Indigo’s Track and Ride monitor, click here.
For ID Computing Ltd website, click here.
For University of Derby Enscite business courses, click here.