To achieve harmonization of European rail traffic, it is necessary to turn many screws. In general, railway undertakings and vehicle manufacturers have their hands tied when it comes to national regulations. In order to guarantee cross-border traffic in Europe, many approval procedures have to be gone through. Once this has been achieved, there are a number of other challenges that have to be dealt with at the European level in the ongoing operation of rail vehicles. In this article, we want to focus on the challenges of fleet management (ECM 3). At BOOM Software in Leibnitz, the problems of the ECM 3 level are taken very seriously – after all, it is a matter of making a decisive contribution to the safety and reliability of the rail mode of transport. This is why BOOM Software has been working intensively on the topic of Entity in Charge of Maintenance with and for customers over the last three years and has developed an integrative solution.
Those who know BOOM Software are aware that we are experts regarding the amalgamation and the proper preparation of data. Concerning the maintenance of rail vehicles, three categories of data are relevant:
Only if all this data is available in one place and, if possible, in real time, there will be a true relief of the ECM 3 structure and a step towards future viability and flexibility has been taken. But how can RUs and workshops create precisely this relief? The magic formula is: “from reactive to proactive!”
Rail as a mode of transport is increasingly covering longer distances, both in passenger and freight traffic. Locomotives or even wagons cover hundreds and thousands of kilometers in Europe and are on the move throughout the country – often across borders. For example, passenger trains from Venice to Munich or freight trains from Koper to Hamburg.
Assume that a locomotive is used for freight transport and that technical problems occur on the vehicle during a transport order abroad. Therefore, a workshop visit is indispensable! However, the question is: How do I find a qualified workshop?
A list of workshops is stored in the master data of Rail Asset. This means that the person responsible for the vehicle can find out with just a few clicks which workshops are nearby and which also have the necessary certifications for the vehicle or rather for fixing the problem.
This tool also enables a fast and uncomplicated exchange of information between asset managers and external workshops. Uncomplicated also means the international exchange of documents and data in a uniform format. In many areas, this is not an easy task and it needs to be solved with a lot of foresight and structure right from the start. In this context, it is crucial to enter into an exchange with experts – such as BOOM Software – at an early stage. The already available software solutions of the Austrian company enable even small RUs and workshops to benefit from the experience of major players and to be well prepared for future challenges in international competition.
A rail vehicle is a highly complex system that has to withstand extreme loads. Thus, it is all the more important to know about the condition of the vehicle at an early stage. Particularly for vehicle owners, this is a decisive competitive advantage. However, Rail Asset also offers great advantages for the employees in the workshop.
If a vehicle comes into the workshop at the prescribed maintenance intervals, the assigned mechanics can call up all the relevant data at the click of a mouse: condition data, mileage, operating hours, documentation of past maintenance and manufacturer specifications. This makes work in the workshop massively easier, as the mechanics do not have to spend a long time looking for faults or possible wear, but can work with pinpoint accuracy. If the employees in the workshop are given a tablet, this information is literally available on the vehicle – that means the data is where the vehicle is.
When it comes to working with independent workshops, Rail Asset provides external access for workshop operators. This means that there is no need for a lengthy and complex exchange of information, for example on previous work on the vehicle. Nor are any interference-prone interfaces created between the vehicle owner and the workshop. The workshop operator is assigned in the system as a user and can thus access all data directly and also document his own work.
Also the documentation of maintenance and operational releases are handled in the software by the workshop. This means maximum transparency for workshops and their employees with regard to past maintenance activities. As a result, the workshop operator as well as the railway undertaking are more independent and flexible, without compromising quality.
For example, all component installation and removal activities are logged and time-stamped. This ensures the traceability of the components.
“A continuous, consistent and seamless flow of information through the ECM organs is the vitality index in a reliable, operationally safe and efficient vehicle asset management!” – Helmut Hohenbichler, ILT BOOM Software AG
In addition, ECM 2 interfaces enable process instructions and detailed vehicle data to be used for an efficient maintenance strategy and long-term planning.
“In the European rail system, people often think in small units: different countries, different standards, different technologies. For the further internationalization of rail as a mode of transport and – above all – for increasing competitiveness compared to trucks, it is important to create more flexibility. With Rail Asset, we as BOOM Software provide maximum flexibility and reliability for maintenance!” – Andreas Schaller, CEO BOOM Software.
If you find yourself in this article – whether as a representative of the ECM 3 level or as a workshop – we offer you the following: Write our expert (Katharina Moitzi: firstname.lastname@example.org) an informal e-mail and in an initial discussion we will evaluate your possibilities to take the first step now towards networking and improved competitiveness.
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