Starting in 2022, VTG will migrate from the time-based maintenance regime applied to date to a mileage-based maintenance approach, using real-time data gathered and analysed via VTG Connect.
This move will allow VTG to exploit the full mileage potential of freight wagons by performing maintenance only when it is needed.
“We always want to give our customers the optimal combination of safety, flexibility and availability across wagon hire and related services. Our entire European fleet is fitted with telematics systems that are fundamental to the development of and transition to this new maintenance regime. As a result, customers’ will enjoy even greater wagon availability to accommodate their wishes,” Sven Wellbrock, Chief Operating Officer Europe & Chief Safety Officer of VTG AG said.
Amendments to Germany’s Railway Construction and Operation (EBO) regulations in 2018 paved the way to this innovative approach, which VTG will now be the first European wagon owner to implement across its fleet.
Mileage-based maintenance makes revision intervals more flexible and increases wagon availability, as greater use can be made of mobile revision and needs-based revision intervals based on actual performance. All revision work will nevertheless still be performed in compliance with the VPI European Maintenance Guide (VPI-EMG). “We will obviously keep to the proven technical rulebook. But at the same time, the underlying change of mindset will sow the seeds of a new maintenance culture. We are not altering the maintenance guidelines: We are simply applying real-time information to systems that already work,” said Frank Sadowski, Head of Technical Support & Safety at VTG Rail Europe.
The whole concept was mapped out based on strict safety parameters and validated by experts considering relevant safety circumstances. Currently, VTG is examining the entire European fleet to verify its suitability for mileage-based maintenance. In principle, practically every wagon that clocks up lower-than-average annual mileage could qualify for more flexible revision intervals.
While some wagons constitute exceptions on account of specific technical fittings, experts are currently examining this issue down to the level of individual components. Two thirds of the VTG fleet already qualify and will be transitioned to the new mileage-dependent maintenance regime at the start of the coming year.