Siemens dives into Big Data

Unexpected maintenance can take a big chunk out of railroads' budgets. This kind of repair also could lead to unplanned downtime and reduced efficiency. But last month, Siemens unveiled a plan to ease railroaders' maintenance burdens by helping them fix components before they fail.

The company in late April launched Siemens Digital Rail Services, a new business unit aimed at "digitalizing" the U.S. rail industry. The new division offers the Railigent™ platform, which uses real-time monitoring to provide information on a train's state and location. The platform also utilizes data analytics to perform remote vehicle and infrastructure diagnostics.

The goal is to move away from "reactive maintenance" and focus instead on prediction-based maintenance.

"Predictive maintenance means that components are replaced when they are actually close to failure and not when the manual suggests. This means expensive components are used optimally, lowering total spend on parts and minimizing labor costs associated with maintenance," Siemens officials wrote in a whitepaper.

To learn more about Siemens Digital Rail Services, check out my recent article on progressiverailroading.com. What are your thoughts on predictive maintenance? Is it something you've been working on at your company or railroad? I'm curious to hear readers' opinions on this trend.

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