DB Cargo is pushing digitization of its vehicle fleet forward, and the company has now made substantial progress towards achieving its aim of fitting 2,000 locomotives with diagnostic technology by 2020. At present, almost 1,000 of these high-tech locomotives, in service around Europe, provide information about the vehicles’ condition. It has signed a cooperation contract with Siemens to upgrade its existing class 152 electric main-line locomotives and thus transform them into what DB Cargo calls “TechLOKs”. In addition, class 170 and 191 Vectron locomotives from Siemens will also be connected to the TechLOK system.
Based on those telematics units installed in locomotives, DB Cargo uses the TechLOK system to collect, visualise and process diagnostic and constantly generated sensor, no matter where they are in Europe. This information enables the company to make further improvements to its daily operations, and it also forms the basis for approaches towards condition-based, predictive maintenance. In contrast to the current, conventional approach of performing maintenance mileage or time based, locomotives will now be maintained when the data shows that this is necessary. Thanks to this, DB Cargo can continue to increase vehicle availability, transport quality and savings.
Dr. Jürgen Wilder, CEO at DB Cargo, says, “Our fleet digitalisation activities have one main focus: further improvements in quality for our customers and optimisation of the vehicle value chain. The TechLOK system already comprises almost 1,000 locomotives operating on international routes. The deal we have now signed with Siemens and especially the connection of operational knowledge with the knowledge of the vehicle manufacturer ensures that we will keep speed towards our project goals.”
The contract covers not only connecting locomotives to the TechLOK system but also joint activities on developing data analytics models based on the technical insight the locomotive sensors provide. This will result in new algorithms and technical rules to maintain locomotives more flexible and condition-based.
In addition, experts from Siemens and DB Cargo will work conjointly at Deutsche Bahn’s Asset und Maintenance Digital Lab in Frankfurt am Main. Johannes Emmelheinz, head of the rail service business at Siemens, says, “This long-term partnership with Deutsche Bahn is of strong strategic relevance to Siemens. Linking data analytics with locomotive specific knowledge allows us to support Deutsche Bahn on its path towards digitization as well as the overall target to improve asset availability.”