Knorr-Bremse and North Rhine-Westphalian mass transit operator Düsseldorfer Rheinbahn have agreed to cooperate on a joint pilot project for better rolling stock maintenance efficiency. Knorr-Bremse will supply Düsseldorfer Rheinbahn with software and hardware to support wireless data transfer from Düsseldorfer Rheinbahn’s light rail vehicles to its workshops using the digital platform iCOM. Initially, five of Rheinbahn’s 76 NF8U (low-floor eight-axle metro) light rail vehicles, built between 2006 and 2012, will be involved in the project.
iCOM functions as a central data hub, monitoring the status of rail vehicles and helping operators to introduce proactive and more cost-effective predictive maintenance systems. The partners expect the use of online data from moving vehicles to help improve organization of workshop operations, reduce vehicle downtimes and cut operating costs.
In the Rheinbahn workshops, the incoming online data will allow more informed decisions to be made about maintenance and repair work or component replacement. Advantages include the ability to anticipate and avoid costs – among other things by taking early preventive action. Conversely, it is also possible to postpone component replacement work, rather than performing it at fixed intervals as in the past, which could potentially lead to vehicle downtimes – if the data indicates it is safe to do so. Other data helps with analyzing and evaluating the operation of components which consume energy, allowing action to be taken at the right time in order to ensure more effective maintenance and more efficient operation.
In addition to data monitoring, in the future the system will also be able to provide a number of other benefits as well. For example, it will be possible to warn drivers if the train is exceeding a speed limit. A collision avoidance system is also under development. Experts from both parties expect to see a significant reduction in operating costs.