Making condition monitoring work for your business
ARTICLE | RAIL EXPRESS | JULY 2021
Trimble Beena Vision are one of the leading global providers of wayside vision-based condition monitoring systems for the examination of rolling stock. With a wide range of systems and broad customer base Beena Vision technology is used by major railways across the world from the extreme conditions of Australia’s Pilbara to within the Arctic circle, from high speed passenger to the longest and heaviest freight trains, and from US Class 1 railways to major mining operations.
Focus on Business Transformation
The reliability, accuracy, and capabilities of Beena Vision’s systems and software produce the information needed to power transformation within railways. This transformation focuses on the automation of inspections, assists with the prediction and management of reliability and safety issues, enables Condition Based Maintenance, improves asset productivity, and better manages components such as wheels and brakes.
Trimble Beena Vision takes a business-centric approach to system implementation where the role of the technology is to enable business change.
In our experience the most successful projects have clear business objectives and both qualitative and quantitative targets around these key metrics:
- Asset performance
- Maintenance planning and costs
- Component life cycle management
- Operational reliability
- Train productivity
The Beena Vision team use our collective experience to assist customers to get these objectives “right”. This approach changes the process of justification for the investment from engineering and technical terms to language that can be easily understood by senior executives.
The Beena Vision approach looks to change the implementation of condition monitoring technologies from a technical/engineering project focus to a business one, where measurable business objectives are used to develop scope and to measure project success.
The technology plays an enabling role and the focus on business outcomes better informs the technical scope and configuration of the systems and software. This helps ensure that adequate recognition is given to how the solutions will be used within the operation, what processes are impacted, what systems require integration, and what change management is required.
Using Condition Data to Your Advantage
Monitoring wheelsets are a good example of how condition monitoring can be used to a business’s advantage, as they are one of the key drivers of safety risk, reliability issues, rolling stock asset productivity, and component cost.
It is easily understood that having access to wheel profile data is a welcome source of valuable information for a railway and that a wheel profile measurement system can provide data to for instance identify and alarm for wheels at condemning limits.
Beena Vision’s preferred approach is to firstly understand all value that can be enabled with this data, in addition to the alarming of wheels that require immediate removal.
This process identifies how wheel profile information may be used to predict when the wheel should be changed and to allow this activity be planned rather than un-scheduled, to calculate wear rates and to identify particular anomalies such as bogie geometry, rail profile, lubrication issues, and to identify any other conditions of interest to that rail operation.
This information can also be used to drive procurement forecasts, to identify “bow-waves” in demand for wheels, labour, and facilities, and to allow wheel life be maximised. Ultimately wheel profile information can be used to manage lifecycles on expensive traction wheelsets by optimising when re-profiling is performed to maximise life.
Understanding wheel and other component conditions enables condition based maintenance programs that reduce component, facility utilisation, labour, and inspection costs and that optimise activities such as shunting.
Beena Vision’s experience is that the business initiative approach is much more effective than a technical/engineering approach and delivers greater value in shorter timeframes.
Beena Vision also recommends that customers understand the wider role that the information wayside systems produce can play within their organisations. The availability of wayside data for data analytics and for use by other applications within a rail operation is also an important consideration. It is the ability to maximise the value of the data collected and to drive incremental value from condition monitoring systems that makes the difference.
Maximising Automated Condition Monitoring
Trimble Beena Vision’s field-proven trackside systems function reliably and accurately with minimal maintenance being required. Trackside images and scans are collected before site server infrastructure uses advanced Machine Vision Algorithms (MVAs) and other processes to generate the data that defines the condition of the components, vehicles, and trains.
The generated images and data are then accessible in the Trimble CMMS (Condition Monitoring Management System) software where further activities and automations take place.
Trimble CMMS has been designed in conjunction with real rail operators to deliver the functionality required to drive improvements in how they operate, maintain, and utilise rolling stock—to reduce costs and improve safety.
The software includes a rules engine that data passes through to apply business rules, relevant to that operation. The rules engine generates alarms, warnings, alerts, and workflows to notify the relevant stakeholders, or to create work automatically within maintenance systems like Maximo or SAP.
Trimble CMMS imports and consolidates condition monitoring data (including from non-Beena Vision sources) so it can be assessed centrally as decisions are made regarding maintenance planning or rolling stock condition. Consolidation of condition monitoring data also allows “composite rules” to be executed across different types of information.
Advanced features in CMMS maximise data accuracy to support key processes and to generate data trending and CMMS is structured so data can be used by other systems or analytics. A range of powerful reports and functions convert the information generated and managed by CMMS into the business insights a railway needs such as train condition summaries, condition based maintenance projections, train braking reports, and many others.
As Trimble Beena Vision work to maintain a leading position in wayside rolling stock vision-based systems and to stand alone on a technical, reliability, and accuracy basis they are always focused on helping their customers to enable and deliver real transformational change within their operations.
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