Smart Fasteners and Intelligent Infrastructure


In the rail industry the assembly and maintenance of critical threaded fasteners is widely
acknowledged to be a necessary yet an expensive, time consuming activity and subject to
human error. The failure implications of such fasteners can be catastrophic, as can the failure
of the present manual systems which aim to ensure their integrity. The Potters Bar incident is
believed to have been caused by nuts being missing on critical bolts.
There are ~26,000 sets of points in the UK rail network, each of which has ~30 high criticality
fasteners associated with it. Similarly, critical threaded fasteners are used in overhead lines
and bridges. The ongoing costs of fastener monitoring and maintenance are significant, and
the potential costs of fastener failure (financial and human terms) are extreme.
The proposed solution, a Smart Washer (SW) will address 3 key priority areas for the UK rail
• Reduce costs of installing, maintaining & managing infrastructure
• Operational safety, reliability & efficiency
• Network management & control.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Smart Component Technologies Limited, Huddersfield, United Kingdom £40,545 £ 24,327


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