19 december 2019

Ctrl2GO Group and LocoTech Present Pilot Project "Digital Depot"

On December 17, 2019, a presentation of the Digital Depot system's elements was held at the Bratskoe service locomotive depot of the East Siberian railway's Vikhorevka station as part of a visiting session of the Locomotive economy section of the Russian Railways Scientific and Technical Council. The event was chaired by Deputy CEO of Russian Railways, and Head of the Traction Directorate Oleg Valinsky.

"Digital Depot is a pilot project that the LocoTech Group of Companies, together with the Ctrl2GO Group, have been implementing on the basis of the Bratskoe service locomotive depot (SLD) since 2018. At the moment, more than 30 different digital and technological solutions, combined into one intelligent system have been implemented in the SLD.

The main goal of the innovations is to improve maintenance efficiency and repair quality of the locomotives. Process automation minimizes the impact of human factors on the quality of the repair process, and modern digital and technological solutions reduce the time spent by the locomotives in the depot. Thus, the time spent on production operations will be reduced two-fold, and labor productivity should grow by 30%.

The Digital Depot project's uniqueness is in the unified integration of digital solutions. A key element of this complex system is a unified integration platform, where data is continuously transmitted from the locomotives and the depot's technological equipment. A forecast analysis of the technical condition of the locomotive fleet is built on the basis of this information and resources are planned for more efficient organization of production processes", LocoTech CEO Alexander Mavrin said.

The project's goal is to increase the coefficient of readiness for operation (CRO, the main indicator of the service company's efficiency) of the locomotive to 0.95, as well as to improve the quality of repair (which is reflected in the increase in service life and trouble-free operation). Achieving the required CRO is done by reducing the period of current repair (CR) CR-1 and maintenance (M) M-2. And improvement of repair quality due to objective control of technological operations with the use of modern digital means of measurement and identification. 

The company NIITKD designed and put into operation a universal repair station under the framework of the Digital Depot project. It totally eliminates the need for locomotive maneuvers: super-cycle work on a 3-section machine is carried out without rearranging sections in the workshops, thereby reducing repair time to 16 hours or less. This is one of the important elements in transforming the technological process. In addition, the repair station is really smart, it is fitted with new equipment capable of directing transmission of the captured data to the automated control system.

Other Digital Depot elements were also presented at the event.

For example, at the entrance to the depot, an intelligent frame with antennas to read RFID tags of linear equipment and locomotives has been installed. Tags are one of the data sources for the wheelset tracking system, which collects information about its measurements, presence, and location within the polygon. The frame also has cameras that recognize the locomotive number and the time it enters the depot.

At the depot entrance, a radio-controlled arrow is installed, allowing the driver to remotely switch the direction of movement. This streamlines the process of shunting work.

Among the digital solutions, we may mention the system for measuring the tire profile with laser profilometers. A digital specialized measuring system is used for tracking the state of the commutator device of the TM (traction motor). The system for determining wear on the brake pads, used in the Bratskoe depot, makes it possible to predict the date of their replacement.

The depot is equipped with a new "digital" control room that receives information about all production processes in the depot and general statistics of planned indicators.

"Digital solutions have been integrated into a single planning system. The system operates as follows: based on the data obtained, it predicts the probability of a particular locomotive node, allowing you to plan the necessary amount of work for each section before it goes to be serviced. Then it automatically plans the volume of materials and the list of linear equipment needed for repair, and also brings to employees already automatically drawn up work plan online," Yuri Sumin, Digital Depot Project Manager, Ctrl2GO Group added. "The level of inventory in the warehouse has also been digitized and, in the event of a shortage of any spare parts, a signal is also sent to the planning system to pre-order the necessary components. For quick receipt of inventory items, an automated vertical storage system has been installed next to the repair stations, which allows for the accounting and provision of repair kits for frequently used equipment for CR-1 operations."

Additive technologies, or 3D printing, allow us to solve the problem of supplying the most sought-after and small-scale products. It is possible to quickly produce individual parts right in the depot with its assistance.

All processes are monitored by employees in real time, using special mobile devices with a set of interconnected mobile applications that are provided for each stage of maintenance and repair of locomotives. This helps reduce time and effort when collecting vehicle condition data, and improves data credibility. It also reduces the time for distributing production tasks and making management decisions. The positive effects were also achieved by the reorganization of the depot staff. The organizational structure of the enterprise was rebuilt, while still maintaining the total number of employees.

The result is a service organization in which locomotive maintenance and repair in the depot takes place in a pit stop mode.