OREANDA-NEWS. A series of announcements by GE Transportation at InnoTrans 2016 reinforce how advanced digital technologies and analytics are helping to create an efficient, digital rail ecosystem – from the locomotive and rail car to the train yard and operations center. With the news of global alliances, software and products powered by Predix, GE Transportation is applying its industrial domain and technology leadership to help extend the life of locomotives, reduce fuel consumption, decrease emissions, boost velocity and improve operations.

Today, GE Transportation launched its first-ever European digital pilot with Deutsche Bahn Cargo, Europe’s largest rail operator. Deutsche Bahn is leveraging GE Transportation’s RailConnect™ 360 Asset Performance Management Solution, which provides locomotive health status updates that increase efficiency and spot repair issues before failures occur. This is the first step toward self-aware locomotives and digitalization of the entire rail operation value chain.

"The first results of this pilot project with GE are promising,” said Steffen Bobsien, Senior Vice President Asset Management & Technology from Deutsche Bahn Cargo AG. “We look forward to further extending GE's digital solutions to our European fleets to drive fleet availability, service quality and optimization of value chain assets.”

In collaboration with Amsted Rail, a major freight car component manufacturer, GE Transportation is also introducing Car Integrity Monitor, which extends asset monitoring capabilities to railcars. Using sensors mounted on railcars, this innovative technology will enable Amsted to receive real-time notifications about the condition of key railcar components, as well as broader risk events related to broken wheels, hot bearings and handbrake application.  

The Car Integrity Monitor solution enables integration of Amsted Rail’s IONX Edge™ monitoring system for railcars with GE’s GoLINC™ network and communication platform to collect and monitor sensor data. Car Integrity Monitor is part of GE Transportation’s commitment to create self-aware trains that, through the use of sensors, real-time monitoring of assets, data and predictive analytics, gather information about the train and its environment to boost performance.

“With this advanced technology, we’ll be able to move from intermittent data collected from wayside detectors, spaced sometimes 200 to 400 miles apart, to near real-time monitoring of railcar component health,” said Brad Myers, Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer for Amsted Rail. “The solution can support an individual railcar or a complete train – providing actionable data to allow for better, more informed decision-making.”

Additionally, GE Transportation showcased a series of Modernization product offerings that breathe new life into railroads’ aging fleets. GE Transportation has technology solutions available that revitalize old locomotives that are at the end of their useful life, and can digitally enable the asset with the ability to self-analyze, self-diagnose and communicate with the railroad headquarters. The Modernizations are projected to generate up to 10-15 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, approximately 30 percent improvement in operational efficiency and roughly 50 percent increase in a locomotive’s ability to haul – at a fraction of the price of a new locomotive. The solutions also significantly reduce railroads’ maintenance costs and mission failures. Over the past five years, nearly 300 Modernizations have been delivered to customers worldwide.    

“What’s clear is that our vision for self-aware trains in a connected ecosystem is becoming a reality through our technology and digital solutions,” said GE Transportation CEO Jamie Miller. “The digital industrial future is upon us and the need to turn information into insights and insights into outcomes has never been more important to our customers. We are committed to helping engineers and rail operators make the most of their resources, and drive meaningful productivity and efficiency gains.”

GE Transportation’s digital solutions have the potential to help customers save an average of 10 percent in fuel costs and 10-15 percent in velocity.