CargoNet equips first locomotive with Railnova remote monitoring

Story by Kaat Van de Vijver, Digital Marketing Manager at Railnova
Sep 15, 2017

Remote condition monitoring is the first step towards usage-based and predictive maintenance: by connecting trains with a remote monitoring system, railway organisations are able to monitor their assets in real time and to take action before anything happens that might put their operations and fleet availability at risk. At Railnova we aim to help railway operators with exactly that. For one of our recent projects, we are showing CargoNet how they can turn their railway assets into smart trains.

CargoNet is the primary freight operator in Norway and has a heterogeneous fleet with both owned and leased railway assets. Their trains run in both Norway and Sweden, covering large distances on different terrains and in extreme weather conditions. In order to help them keep an eye on their fleet at all times, we performed a first installation of our remote condition equipment for them earlier this year.

CargoNet reached out to us because they were looking for opportunities that would enable them to better interact with drivers in case of problems, to plan usage-based maintenance based on counters and to receive automatic alerts about abnormal behavior on their assets, but they weren’t sure which data was available via Railnova.

During the test project CargoNet is testing our end-to-end solution:

  • we install our remote monitoring equipment (called the “Railster”) to access data from one of their assets,
  • they use our online fleet management platform to analyse the data captured by the Railster
  • they receive automated alerts,
  • they access locomotive counters to plan for preventive maintenance,
  • they keep track of the operational status and availability of their assets.

Accessing asset data

We started off the test project by installing the remote monitoring equipment on one of CargoNet’s assets. The first installation is usually done by the Railnova Professional Services Team, together with the client. The installation kit consists of a Railster (a powerful and railway certified remote monitoring system) and a custom IKEA-style cabling kit for an easy and fast installation.


Office with a view for our Professional Services Team after completing the installation at CargoNet

Immediately after installing our remote condition monitoring equipment CargoNet is able to automatically receive key locomotive counter data. They can use this counter data on Railfleet to plan for usage-based maintenance: once the counters have been set up they can start creating preventive events on the online platform and plan their maintenance activities.

As we already connected multiple assets from the same class for other clients, CargoNet is also able to test the following out-of-the-box functionalities straight away:

  • GPS, speed, state (moving, stopped, power on, idle),
  • Fuel consumption real-time measurement,
  • Battery voltage measurement, even when the locomotive is parked,
  • Fuel level,
  • Databus parameters,
  • Fault codes.

Once the remote monitoring device is installed, we activate the Railster and set up the accounts on Railfleet (Railnova’s online fleet management platform) for the CargoNet team so they can access the recovered data online.

Digitising fleet management and real-time diagnostics

On the cloud-platform they’re able to manage their digitised fleet and automate communication with their partners:

  • They can track the GPS location and the history of the locomotive
  • They are also be able to analyse all the data coming in from the locomotive in real time so they can better advise their drivers in case of problems.
  • To prevent inline failures, or to inform others about specific activities, they are able to set up automated notifications for abnormality or activity detection. These alerts can then be turned into diagnostics, and the diagnostics into actions which can be dispatched to their teams and maintainers.
  • They can also add other assets to the online platform (without having to connect them to remote monitoring equipment), to manage and monitor their operational status and corrective and/or preventive maintenance workflow online.

Easy interfacing to big data and maintenance management systems

Finally we can also connect the Railfleet platform to the existing internal or external systems, such as SAP. This way CargoNet can help their maintenance teams with resource management and maintenance scheduling, and/or their analysts with extracting valuable insights from the asset data in their existing big data analytics systems.

From POC to …

After a couple of months CargoNet will evaluate the POC (Proof of Concept) and verify if it has been able to deliver the value they were looking for. If they’d decide that Railnova is not the right fit for them, the installed Railster can easily be removed and sent back to Railnova. If they agree that Railnova is the right solution for them, they’re able to equip other assets with Railnova’s remote monitoring system, and add other use-cases that are relevant to them.

Interested in remotely monitoring your fleet, or managing your fleet online too? Get in touch, we’re happy to help!

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