Building the future standard of railway monitoring and analysis

Meet the team behind Railway Metrics and Dynamics

It started with testing railway vehicles 1990s, and the birth of an idea. After over a decade in simmering, the idea gave birth to Railway Metrics and Dynamics (RMD) in 2011. Another decade of hard work and the idea is reality. This is the story about the team that made it all possible.

Bonny Wong analyzes the latest data from the PMU-sensors sending reports from all over the world.

It is quiet and still inside the bright office in northern Stockholm, where RMD’s software is being fine-tuned – except for the clatter from Bonny Wong’s keyboard as he analyzes the latest data from the PMU-sensors sending reports from all over the world.

With a hard thump on the enter key, he starts a new simulation of how a faulty railway switch causes vibrations in passing railway vehicles. With the help of the simulation, RMD obtains supplementary data that further sharpens the platform’s analysis of railway infrastructure and vehicles.

“This is a job that really makes me proud”, he says.

“With RMD we develop and sell a comprehensive platform for real-time analysis and monitoring of both rolling stock and in next step the infrastructure. Our solution makes up the hub for data collection and analysis – and makes it possible to manage all types of assets proactively and predictively.”

Bonny Wong is one of several people with specialist knowledge in either data analytics and machine learning and/or the rail sector. All people working with the RMD platform are software engineer or have university degrees in engineering physics or similar.

But – let’s take it from the beginning.

During the second half of the 1990s, RMD:s CEO Jan Lindqvist and his late colleague Jack Long, worked with selling bogies in Europe for an American company. This is when they met Martin Bäfverfeldt, who at the time worked for SJ Labs testing railway equipment.

“We bought the testing service for our new bogie from Martin and his team, and that was the start of a long and fruitful partnership”, Jan Lindqvist remembers.

Bonny Wong, Martin Bäfverfeldt and Jan Lindqvist discussing the way forward.

This first acquaintance between Martin Bäfverfeldt, Jack Long and Jan Lindqvist grew into friendship and later Martin would also join the team.

Around the same time, the idea was born that accelerometers could be used to find deviations in the running dynamics of railway vehicles. This idea evolved when Jan Lindqvist was working together with Helmuth Kristen developing IT systems for another railway company.

In 2011, Railway Metrics and Dynamics was founded by Jack Long, Helmuth Kristen, Jan Lindqvist and the American racing profile Howard ”Buz” McCall Jr. Helmut Kristen built and programmed the first version of the PMU himself, but soon the project had grown and they started looking for expertise to help develop the technology. This is when they met with Kenneth Wrife, who is highly specialized within system development, digitization, and analysis.

”We work with this unique sensor, the PMU, that in real time identifies movement patterns and measures acceleration in three dimensions. All these movements are verified against our unique algorithms. The more data we collect – and the more PMUs that are installed around the world – the better the analysis and the more efficient our system will become”, says Kenneth Wrife.

In 2019, a new engineer Henrik Rönnholm was recruited. He is specialized in data analysis and machine learning and wrote his master thesis about the railway industry. One year later, a fellow classmate to Henrik, Bonny Wong, also joined the team.

Henrik and Bonny became the masterminds behind the RMD Machine Learning Lab together with Martin Bäfverfeldt who eventually also joined the team. Martin has unique experience with the running dynamics of railway vehicles.

The Machine Learning Lab serves as the focal point and base of operations for all of RMD’s ventures.

“The main advantage for RMD is to have a place where we can consolidate our competence and provide a seedbed for future growth. Stockholm also offers Sweden’s broadest range of competence in this field”, says Henrik Rönnholm.

The Machine Learning Lab has all the hardware required for future development of the RMD platform

“We have servers for data storage and computation, a complete workshop for creating and assembling tools and equipment to collect data, and a creative office space for cultivating new ideas”, says Martin Bäfverfeldt.

“But most importantly, we have the right mix – unique expertise from the railway industry, combined with unique expertise in data analysis and machine learning. We are truly industry pioneers here,” says Jan Lindqvist.

Visualization of the collected data is important.

A short presentation of the full team

Martin Bäfverfeldt

Martin Bäfverfeldt has over 35 years experience of railway engineering and consultancy. As test manager and business unit manager at SJ Maskin Lab/Interfleet Testcenter for over 20 years, he gained a unique competence of railway vehicle behaviour. This, combined with 15 years of consultancy work related to infra structure, depots, and railway system performance, has given Martin a deep knowledge of railway vehicle interaction within infrastructure in both breadth and depth.

Role in Railway Metrics and Dynamics: Works with bonding the measurement technology with gait dynamics, develops analysis tools, steers the development in the right direction and ensures the quality of the progressing work.

Jan Lindqvist

Jan Lindquist has more than 25 years of experience in senior positions, with extensive experience in management and business development, from the global rail sector. In addition, he has created six innovations (patents) in the railway sector (IoT) and electronic payments.

Role in Railway Metrics and Dynamics: CEO, Member of the Board and co-founder of Railway Metrics and Dynamics together with Jack Long and Helmuth Kristen.

Kenneth Wrife

Ever since he completed his master’s degree in electrical engineering at Chalmers University of Technology, Kenneth Wrife has worked with programming and data analysis and machine learning.

Role in Railway Metrics and Dynamics: Kenneth Wrife works with Railway Metrics & Dynamics database, the graphical interface Dashboard and with connecting the different parts of the system.

Helmuth Kristen

Helmuth Kristen has worked with several different cutting-edge technology companies, including Precise Biometrics where he was the Advanced Research Specialist. He holds a Master of Science degree in engineering physics from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and a PhD in Astrophysics from Stockholm University. His doctoral studies were financed by the ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope. Following doctoral studies, Helmuth Kristen was a post-doctoral affiliate at Harvard University.

Role in Railway Metrics and Dynamics: Member of the Board and co-founder of Railway Metrics and Dynamics together with Jan Lindqvist, Jack Long and Howard McCall.

Henrik Rönnholm

Henrik Rönnholm is and IT and data analysis expert, with both professional and hobbyist experience of ultra-low-power microcontrollers and electronics. He has worked with RMD more or less since he completed his master’s degree in computer engineering at KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm in 2019. With his focus on data analysis and machine learning, as well as a written master’s thesis within the railway industry, he has a given place within RMD’s IT team. 

Role in Railway Metrics and Dynamics: Henrik Rönnholm’s main responsibility is the embedded systems (both hardware and firmware) as well as most neighboring systems.

Howard McCall

Howard McCall is one of the co-founders of RMD. He has more than 45 years of experience from executive positions in the Global Railway industry.

Role in Railway Metrics and Dynamics: Chairman of the Board and co-founder of Railway Metrics and Dynamics together with Jan Lindqvist, Jack Long and Helmuth Kristen.

Bonny Wong

Bonny Wong is a software engineer that majored in data analysis. He studied at KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and devoted himself to machine learning. He has previously worked with web development, simulations and natural language processing and has an interest in agent-based models.

Role in Railway Metrics and Dynamics

Works a great deal with the platform but is also included in machine learning and in developing analysis tools.

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