Trapeze Blog

The Trapeze Approach to Better Rail Asset Management

By Michael Scollo October 26, 2020 Reading time:

This Trapeze blog post is Part 2 of 2 in a series regarding rail asset data management. Read Part 1 – How to Take Control of Your Rail Asset Data for Better Maintenance Outcomes.

The Trapeze Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) solution for rail is designed to incorporate rail-specific asset classes and workflows. Find out more about the advantages this brings when compared to generic EAM systems.

In my previous blog post, I covered the importance of incorporating multiple data streams into a centralised EAM, to improve asset maintenance efficiencies, and extend the asset lifecycle through trend analysis.

In today’s post, I will take you through the Trapeze EAM system, and how it is tailor-made for rail.

An effective EAM system draws its strength from understanding rail asset classes and their configuration - making all datasets easily accessible within a single platform. This ensures maintenance personnel receive manufacturer alerts in the same tool that also manages job allocations, inventory spares and time utilisation.

The Trapeze EAM platform contains ‘best-of-breed’ and purpose-built rail modules that support each of these areas. This means an organisation can track the lifetime asset configuration of any piece of equipment, ensuring critical information is not lost or overlooked. 

With Trapeze EAM implemented as a single source of asset information, your organisation will know what is required for capital works, as well as asset renewal campaigns and performance improvement. Trapeze EAM can also integrate the Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) dataset, ensuring that renewal decisions are easily justified. 

 

Understanding Physical and Digital Asset Interaction

Given the capability and technology, organisations will monitor asset physical condition for CBM. In rail, this is important, as assets are often highly utilised, and only have short periods where they can be serviced. Pre-empting failures based on condition data is an effective strategy in extending an assets’ useful life and reducing downtime. 

Where Trapeze technology differs, is that it leverages this data to enable rail best-practice asset management. We understand that rail maintenance managers and workshop supervisors do not need to interpret all asset complexities, although they are required to know the times where intervention is required. 

Another point to consider is that not all assets are connected – disconnected assets play a critical role in your rail infrastructure. Asset condition information from disconnected assets needs to be captured and processed in the same way as connected assets. One a common scenario in rail is to perform asset condition assessments, commonly delivered by third party consulting firms where condition scores and asset valuations are averaged out across asset classes. This allows rail asset owners to understand what areas are experiencing the most decay, and where operational spend needs to be allocated. However, this data is not granular enough for maintenance managers to understand and decipher. 

The Trapeze EAM system empowers rail operators and asset owners, by delivering a purpose-built mobile application, specifically designed to capture condition information from the field for assets that operate in a disconnected state. Once assets are audited, data is processed following the same business rules as digital assets - ensuring consistency across all classes. Offline assets can then be inspected regularly during regular maintenance activities. This means asset valuations based on asset condition information can be performed regularly, and data accuracy is increased as information is being averaged out. 

 

Maintenance Management and Capital Planning

When equipment condition information is fed through the Trapeze EAM system, maintenance managers can comprehend what assets are underperforming in an easy-to-use portal view. This allows them to:

  • Create campaigns for asset improvement initiatives, and
  • Build capital renewal programs for asset replacement.

The Trapeze Asset Performance and Assessment module was specifically designed to rank and categorise assets based on performance and condition data – enabling users to intuitively classify multiple assets into campaigns and renewal programs. Once assets are grouped, management reporting can be generated around budgets and planned maintenance schedules.  

While the process described seems simple, the technology required to deliver this functionality is complex. One example of this complexity is understanding the predictive decay and condition modelling for rail specific asset classes.  It is important that rail asset owners and operators understand from a planning perspective, where funds need to be allocated, to ensure the rail network can operate at a required level of efficiency. 

Trapeze has a deep understanding of predictive asset management using CBM data, through decades of research and operational experience working with rail organisations. The result is a comprehensive database of ‘survival age’ and age decay curves (expected condition) of rail asset classes, of which this interface is shown below:

This is where understanding your assets’ condition and performance is real-time adds value back to your business. You will have the ability to decipher the impacts of performing minor capital works will have on an assets’ useful life. You can also justify decisions around fund allocations - do you invest in uplifting assets that are at the end of their useful life, only to squeeze out a few more years of operation, versus allocating funds to uplift assets that are midway through their lifespan to improve their condition and performance? An EAM will tell you this. 

 

The Research and Development Approach to Rail EAM

The Trapeze EAM solution is tailor-made for rail, which eliminates the need for expensive customisations and redundant software. Developed with a best-of-breed approach, the Trapeze solution includes built-in rail-elements – including consist management and linear assets. There is also the capability to maintain complex network rail asset class configuration datasets. 

Some Trapeze EAM modules designed specifically for rail include:

  • Network restrictions (Slow Zones)
  • Track access requests
  • Consist management
  • Rail network and asset configuration management
  • MobileFocus with embedded Geographic Information Systems 
  • Linear visualisation module
  • Depot and yard management

While some rail organisations have attempted to develop their own solutions to meet the functionality of the above modules, this can be time-consuming and costly – often overlooking the need for ongoing support and new version releases. We can cover this with the added benefit of having a solution that continues to grow specifically with the rail industry, and for operators around the world. 

 

Supporting EAM Cultural Change

At Trapeze, we understand rail asset and maintenance processes, while sometimes inefficient, can be culturally ingrained over decades. For this reason, implementing a software solution can often require careful change management to ensure the system is accepted, and efficiencies can be realised.  Our strategy is to bring in software experts that understand the deep complexities of rail, and the problems you are trying to solve. We then implement a bottom-up approach – engaging, training and nurturing staff to demonstrate value, and improving user acceptance.

 

Future Trapeze EAM Innovations

With our dedicated rail industry commitment and continuous collaboration, Trapeze is always working with our rail partners to plan future updates and innovations that meet the requirements of the rail industry. One area we are currently investigating is ‘Rail Worker Protection’ – safety vests with components that interface into the Trapeze EAM system that acts as a warning system, freeing up track workers to focus on their required tasks safely. We are also investigating how an EAM can be integrated with operations so they receive alerts for when they can perform work on the track.

Watch this space for the latest developments in Rail EAM!

Learn more about Trapeze EAM

To find out how a centralised EAM could help your rail organisation, please

Contact us for more information. 

Author: Michael Scollo

Michael is a successful and experienced professional with over 10 years’ experience in the asset management space. He assists businesses in changing the way organisations think about their asset management systems and processes.

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