GE is cooperating with DB Cargo on “self-monitoring” of locomotives and rolling stock

The US corporation General Electric (GE) has signed an agreement with DB Cargo as the first European rail operator for the purposes of carrying out digital locomotive diagnostics. At InnoTrans 2016 the chief executive of GE, Jamie Miller, announced that the pilot project, supported by the “RailConnect 360“ power management system, will be continuously monitoring the condition of DB Cargo locomotives in order to identify in advance where repairs might become necessary.
This would enable downtime for maintenance to be fitted more easily into overall rolling stock scheduling. Locomotives are just one of the products manufactured by General Electric. According to Seth Bednar, the corporation’s Chief Digital Officer, the in-house network and communication platform GoLINC forms the core of the system and is already installed in 6,000 locomotives.
“With this platform locomotives become mobile data centers“, Miller said. Bednar pointed out that digitalization is an interesting possibility for older locomotives in particular because these are more susceptible to irregularities. “We do not insist that our customers always purchase the newest and biggest, but instead we help them through our locomotive modernization programme to extend the working life of rolling stock, and to improve energy efficiency.“ According to Miller, digitalization can enable older locomotives to achieve fuel savings of up to 15 per cent, and improvements in reliability of up to 30 per cent.
GE is also exhibiting the Car Integrity Monitor, a joint venture with the US software company Amsted Rail. This extends monitoring to include rail cars. Sales director John Felty stated that this link is already installed on 20,000 cars. This offers wider monitoring and supervisory possibilities, shifting the perspective from a single car to the train.

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