Digital asset management: The benefits in rail


Asset management plays a pivotal role in ensuring railways run at an optimum level. With recent research from the Railway Industry Association (RIA) projecting passenger demand to potentially double by 2050, and DfT announcing a rail freight growth target of 75% growth by 2050, reliable rail assets have never been more important for customer satisfaction, industry growth and economic development.

Not too long ago, rail assets were managed solely via paper-based legacy systems. Now thanks to digital means, rail companies can perform asset management tasks much more efficiently.

Enabled by Internet of things (IoT), digital rail asset management tools have given huge potential to the rail industry by ensuring service reliability and operating targets are met, all while enhancing safety for both passengers and the rail workforce.

Digital asset management solutions can monitor infrastructure in real-time, gathering live data through technology and channelling it into analytics engines for further analysis. Actions can then be implemented as a result.

The vital information provided enables engineers to identify and resolve asset issues before they escalate, allowing for safe and speedy repairs. Early detection of problems also ensures that asset maintenance can be scheduled promptly and within budget. These measures collectively reduce downtime and enhance railway performance, all while reducing costs.

Here at RTS Solutions, we have developed a robust digital Asset Management system which provides numerous advantages for maintenance workers across the rail industry. Below we explain in more detail how it is helping to make rail operations run much more smoothly.

End-to-end fault management process
The product has a full end to end fault management process which encompasses Log/Create > Diagnose > Repair > Signoff stages. It includes functionality to notify users or mailing lists in the event of major faults such as a machine being out of service, or faults that have caused lost time during on-site operations, which may impact infrastructure maintenance works. Users can easily access the full fault logs for a machine via the Fault Overview screen, allowing them to track progress and review the outcomes of any reported faults.

Reporting a fault is a simple one step process allowing the user to detail the full fault information. If the fault results in lost time impacting track maintenance works, the system will promptly issue an email notification to specified business users so they can manage and escalate as required. Each fault will be assigned a unique fault reference number for tracking purposes.

The engineer is presented with a comprehensive fault log for the asset and is given the choice during the diagnosis phase to indicate whether it’s a No Fault Found scenario or if there is a confirmed fault requiring repair. Additionally, the engineer can specify whether the machine is still operational or is Out of Service; if OOS, the system issues an email notification to specified business users. Throughout the diagnosis process, the engineer can provide detailed information for future reference to be utilised during the repair stage of the fault workflow.

If a repair is diagnosed as necessary and all the details have been entered by the engineer, then a decision is made regarding the type of repair required, whether it’s an immediate or one that can be scheduled at a later date alongside scheduled maintenance.

During the repair process, the engineer can specify if the repair is temporary and record all the details of the repair carried out. If the machine is none-operational upon completion of the repair, but is subsequently returned to service, this information can be recorded, triggering a notification to inform users that the machine is back in service.

If a temporary repair or a decision postpone the repair until a later date is made, then the repair can be scheduled for a set date and can be incorporated into scheduled maintenance activity. In such cases, the repair tasks are added to the maintenance event and will be actioned during routine servicing.

At any time, users have access to the asset’s fault log, providing an overview of all open, diagnosed, repaired and signed off faults, offering a full history of faults on the machine. Additionally, the system can generate fault reports to help individuals review faults logged against assets, time periods, business units

For more information on how RTS’ product suite can enhance operations in your business, take a look at our article on navigating challenges with effective resource management .