NEM SolutionsRail

Harnessing railway data sets for cost efficient predictive maintenance and fully optimised asset management

By May 15, 2019 May 16th, 2019 No Comments

The Rise of IoT & Big Data   has interviewed our Chief Business Development Officer, Alvaro Zevallos regarding data used for predictive maintenance in Railway Industry.


Railways are looking to streamline their operations and ultimately reduce their maintenance costs. How can NEM Solutions help them achieve this?

First of all, it is very important to keep in mind what is the current business context of the railway industry: The industry is moving from a supply-side economy to a demand-side economy of scale in which the Digital customer has a key role. New customer’s habits, driven by the use of digital technologies, are pushing traditional railway companies to adapt their complete value chain and become digital companies. The implementation of new business models is taking place in order to guarantee competitiveness in this digital era. Nowadays, the market is not asking for products, there is a clear trend to demand Services focused on customer’s success.

And yes, operational excellence, RAMS optimization and cost reduction are some of the main benefits that our customers can get from our services but, there is one even more important, which is the generation of a digital culture. This makes the difference between a pure digital investment and a digital advantage. We help our customers to save time, risks and money when transforming their businesses digitally, and this means:

  • Generate a digital capability focused on Operations and Maintenance: The use of the adequate digital technologies to optimize their customer’s experience, their operational excellence and, of course, we help them to make more money thanks to the design and implementation of new business models.
  • Generate a digital culture: To make sure there is a clear digital strategy (Top-Bottom), digitalized processes and of course, people commitment to embrace the change and ensure a successful business transformation.

The way we achieve this is based on our unique value proposition:

12 years of successful track record implementing open and scalable “Digital Predictive Brains” for machines (such as, the rolling stock assets) to transform operational Data into Profitable outcomes, this is offered as a digital service, independently to the OEM. We combine our strengths: Domain expertise, Predictive analytics excellence, our technology A.U.R.A. and our network of best-in-class Partners to speed-up the transformational process and ensure customer’s success in Operations and Maintenance.

The costs of collecting and formulating data used for predictive maintenance aren’t always justifiable for all Railways. What examples can you give where Railways have invested in your solutions to help them overcome their challenges?

The cost of opportunity of the following strategies and initiatives is even bigger than the cost of moving forward with Predictive analytics:

  • Keeping a traditional approach without realising that we are living a transformational era. Are you sure your company will be competitive in few years?
  • Keeping a pure data acquisition or a pure data monitoring activity. Why storing and only visualising data if nowadays it is possible to extract the value you need from it?

The lack of trust and expertise are some of the main reasons why some companies haven’t invested yet in digital predictive maintenance scenarios. There is a lot of noise in the market, a lot of beginners offering alternatives for free, a lot of railway actors that have failed when trying to do it by themselves, without being their core business, a lot of suppliers calling “predictive” to a pure “monitoring” solution…

96% of the suppliers are only offering monitoring solutions, 4% are on the predictive side from which 1% belongs to independent suppliers (not OEMs). We are part of that 1% and our proven success stories are not just marketing. For example, Euskotren have saved more than 23 Million euros in 7 years, only in a 58 vehicle fleet, thanks to a value co-creation teamwork with NEM Solutions. They are maintaining their assets based on the real-time outcomes generated by A.U.R.A., and they have upgraded their maintenance plans based on this.

The return on investment is not only in the technology itself, people, processes and business models are essential.

At least once a month, we arrange technical visits to our customers to help our potential customers to gain trust while seeing our value proposition working in real-time in our customer’s facilities.

Regardless of the industry, if anyone is interested to be part of our dynamic ecosystem of value, please contact us.

How can Railways benefit from the data collected from across the whole of their railway operations to help improve services and operations?

They will benefit from data only if it is High Quality and OPEN Data. It is essential to break the monopolies that have been created by several parties during the last years. End customers are forced to use closed platforms “black-boxes” to access to the vehicle’s data. This is not a sustainable and cost-effective option for multi-OEM owners, operators and service providers. It is essential to centralise all Open Data in one stop platform and from there, build a dynamic ecosystem of value including tailor-made predictive analytics to transform Data into Profitability.

Depending on the customer’s type and business strategies, the data transformation process will deliver different types of KPIs which will be updated dynamically, in real time, and will be complemented by operational and maintenance actions to avoid potential failures and to optimise vehicle’s availability and costs.

NEM Solutions is one of the few companies in the world with proven success stories where multi-OEM vehicles have been connected to A.U.R.A. without depending on the OEM. For example, Yarra Trams, HTM, Regiotram, Renfe, Euskotren, Actren, etc. in which Siemens, CAF, Alstom fleets have been connected and Open Data is guaranteed.

IoT is becoming significantly important in the rail industries steps to move forward into the digital revolution. How is NEM Solutions contributing to this?

When talking about IoT, NEM Solutions offers different kind of technologies that range from wayside wheel monitoring systems to on-board MVB/CAN dataloggers, compatible with any type of rolling stock. Our target with IoT is to acquire High Quality and Open Data for our customers. Our edge to cloud technology is continuously evolving to gain efficiency in the acquisition process. We are helping our customers to gain autonomy and confidence in this digital transformation process.

Anyway, IoT is only the first step. We prefer to focus our efforts in the “Internet of Brains”, helping our customers to connect their knowledge with ours in order to generate even more knowledge and speed-up the implementation of a reliable Digital Predictive Brain as a driver of their digital business transformation process. Our customer’s success is offered as a Service.