Maximum transparency regarding the condition of vehicles and their complex onboard systems enables reliable planning for fleet operators. As a supplier of all safety-critical systems, Knorr-Bremse also provides the software for condition-based maintenance and its management.
This is precisely where Knorr-Bremse’s application for condition-based diagnosis and early detection of wear and damage comes in. It makes use of the data from sensors that are already installed in the vehicle subsystems, such as the pressure, temperature and acceleration sensors. This sensor data flows into refined online measurement and analysis processes to generate automated diagnoses. The moment a diagnosis is received, the necessary visit to the workshop can be planned, tools and equipment ordered, or suitably trained personnel booked. So by the time the train returns to the depot, the scene is already set for an efficient maintenance session.
The system is “alive” in the sense that it can be adapted to changes in vehicles, maintenance schedules and the knowledge gained from practical experience. The lessons learned from operation and maintenance can be easily used to optimize these processes – in other words, the algorithms can be effortlessly adapted to individual vehicles or entire fleets.
The system has a wide range of applications. In the case of light rail vehicles, for example, these include everything from maintenance optimization to continuous performance monitoring and energy optimization of HVAC systems. These functions can be combined to offer Knorr-Bremse customers advanced service models that guarantee availability or aftermarket services within an agreed timeframe, or provide a stable cost framework that removes uncertainty and facilitates planning.
Other Service Apps and Data-Based Business Solutions
But for all the connectivity that modern vehicles offer, there are still some things that simply cannot be automatically assessed by digital systems and are therefore not captured by conventional condition monitoring. Knorr-Bremse has developed special service apps which also allow items that are not digitally documented, such as a worn driver’s seat, to be entered into the digital service management system.
The on-site service personnel who spot the worn seat would submit a fault report directly via their smartphone or tablet. Mechanics can also upload photos of the damage so that they are directly available to the responsible member of the service network.
Taking Digitization to the Next Level
Rounding off its digitization and data-based business solutions strategy, Knorr-Bremse has acquired a minority stake in the Belgian startup Railnova. The company ranks among the leading providers of telematics and fleet management solutions and maintenance workflow software for the rail industry.
This technology can be used with any type of rolling stock and offers solutions for operators, leasing companies, repair shops and manufacturers. With more than 1,500 systems already installed, the company’s business model has clearly proven its worth in the marketplace. The company is thus an obvious fit, perfectly complementing the product and systems know-how of manufacturer and life cycle partner Knorr-Bremse.