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Siemens creates smart rail technology

A small team of Australian-based Siemens rail engineers have designed and developed a Remote Diagnostic and Advisory System (RDAS) that can help predict the future to avoid pitfalls. 

The product was launched at the recent AusRAIL PLUS 2015 expo in Melbourne and according to the local head of Siemens mobility division, Max Eichhorn, it is just one example of how Australia can innovate in rail and compete at a global level through intelligent infrastructure.  

“Australia needs to have globally competitive infrastructure to attract business investment and the best talent. This is about overlaying high-end digitalisation technology into both new and existing infrastructure to make it more efficient. There is a global trend and race to build intelligent infrastructure,” Eichhorn said.

RDAS will, for the first time, bring disparate systems on the network into an integrated platform, giving operators the ability to view all their assets in real-time through one consolidated application – a function that does not currently exist. 

RDAS monitors interlocking, network peripherals, point machines, signals, axle counters and others. Currently each device uses individual monitoring tools. 
“Our RDAS reaches out to each device, collects the information centrally and then displays it in an intuitive way to allow the operator to drill down to the individual item to see what is really happening.

“There are several diagnostic systems in the rail industry, but this is the first technology-agnostic system which brings together many disparate systems into the one view. It’s a powerful tool for any network provider,” added Eichhorn. 

According to Eichhorn, the potential for efficiencies and savings are enormous – “Take just one scenario of predicting faults in train doors. We’ve found that by measuring the current on the motors that open and close the door, via our Remote Diagnostic and Advisory System we can now predict 85 per cent of the time when a fault is going to occur – before it actually occurs. This means that we schedule a train for service rather than taking a train out of service and disrupting thousands of commuters.” 

The functions can be deployed with quicker turnaround and with fewer resources – allowing rail networks to do more with less input, cost and time. 

“For Australia to be more competitive globally, we need to modernise existing infrastructure networks and build new ones with future growth in mind. As people get smarter about how they use time, intelligent infrastructure that allows a seamless commute, will play a big role in our productivity as a nation and the investments we attract into the country,” added Eichhorn.

Focused on modernising existing infrastructure to be more efficient and creating new infrastructure that can cope with the increasing demands over the coming decades, RDAS technology will help rail networks progress with automation and digitalisation. 

“Technologies such as the RDAS and 3D printing play a crucial role in not just our competitiveness now, but also in our nation’s ability to lead the way in the fourth industrial revolution,” added Eichhorn.

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