Bombardier Transportation is the global leader in the rail equipment, manufacturing and servicing industry. Its wide range of products includes passenger rail vehicles and total transit systems. It also manufactures locomotives, freight cars, propulsion & controls and provides signalling equipment and systems.
Bombardier Transportation had been using machine to machine telemetry systems on board its rolling stock for four years to transmit details of how individual carriages are performing and when they will need maintenance. The machine to machine communication monitors factors such as wheel adhesion levels, door closing times and engine performance that affect the performance and safety of trains. This information is passed to train maintainers enabling them to fix faults as soon as they occur, keeping more trains on the tracks.
Reviewing its needs, Bombardier wanted a system that was efficient, measurable, and easily scalable. It also wanted an operator who could provide the right Service Level Agreement’s to ensure the required levels of network performance.
Beginning in 2002, Bombardier Transportation examined a range of telemetry options before deciding Orange M2M Connect best met its needs. Prior to deciding on Orange M2M Connect, Bombardier conducted surveys of all mobile networks to ensure it would have the best network coverage available.
Orange M2M Connect is designed to help organisations save time, money and effort managing their processes. It is an end to end approach that quickly and easily connects businesses such as Bombardier, to the information they require. The system consists of a centrally-hosted gateway capable of communicating with thousands of wirefree devices.
M2M Connect enables real time performance monitoring, allowing Bombardier to measure efficiency, and identify, diagnose and resolve problems quickly through a simple internet-based programme. The system is flexible, scalable and future-proof enabling Bombardier to gradually roll it out across its fleet. Bombardier has 1000 rail vehicles on its existing telemetry system and is currently moving 20 per cent of it’s UK systems to M2M Connect with the remainder phased in over time dependent on suitability and their remaining life-span.
Orange has also worked with Bombardier to ensure specific Service Level Agreements meet Bombardier’s needs.
Following the success of the implementation in the UK, Bombardier is reviewing options to roll out the system to the European market and is examining installing the system on its carriages worldwide.
“With reliable, timely and accurate data, we can now supply the rail industry with business critical information – we can even tell them if there are leaves on the line! The Orange M2M Connect system we’ve installed means that we can now get access to our information in close to real time. In the past we have only been able to retrieve data from our cars about 70% of the time. With the M2M Connect solution that connectivity rate is now in the high 90% range. This allows us to plan our daily maintenance schedule much more efficiently, smooth the workload for our staff and help us target issues much more accurately.”
Vincent Smedley, Engineering Director, New Products, Bombardier Transportation Services
The availability of accurate real time information has enabled Bombardier to greatly improve efficiency.
- Daily maintenance schedules can be easily compiled and planned depending on problems highlighted by the telemetry reports.
- Problems on individual cars can be identified as or before they occur allowing Bombardier to provide a faster and more effective service to train operators and preventing trains being taken out of service for longer periods.
- Valuable information can be passed on to train operating companies to improve service levels.
“Gartner believe that by 2006 there will be nearly 58 million mobile M2M devices in use in North America and Western Europe. Orange M2M Connect allows these businesses to move away from managing their own legacy systems to use a flexible, scalable and future proof platform to monitor the operation of machines such as Bombardier’s train cars enabling them to provide a better service to their customers.”
Alastair MacLeod, Customer Development Director, Orange Business Solutions
This was first published in June 2005