The distance diagnosis technology applied to managing dynamic and predictive maintenance (Dynamic Maintenance Management System)

Trenitalia and SAP have worked on a predictive maintenance system for trains which uses the Internet of Things principle – the interconnection of real objects that talk with each other, accessing information or transmitting data through connectivity, software and sensors. The innovative process is based on the SAP platform Hana, which means that big data can be dynamically generated thanks to the numerous sensors present on the new trains. Any anomaly or the end of a life cycle of a component are communicated in advance, thus completely transforming the way in which maintenance is handled, changing it from reactive to predictive.

The latest-generation distance diagnosis system which was applied in its first phase to high-velocity trains, has also been extended to the regional Jazz trains so as to reduce breakages and breakdowns during service and reduce maintenance costs, to the advantage of millions of commuters who use the train to get around every day. Amongst the first significant results has been a large reduction in the number of cancellations of regional trains because of technical problems. In the first half of 2016, one per cent of scheduled trains were cancelled, and only 0.4% where Trenitalia was responsible. This level more than halved in just two years.

The new maintenance model uses real time diagnostic information from train convoys that make up the Jazz train fleet. Special instrument panels mean that the overall state of the fleet and that of individual trains can be monitored during service and the real time state of on-board devices can be flagged up and the appearance of any possible breakages or criticalities identified.

The telediagnosis system being tried by Trenitalia, which is active on E464 locomotives and on all Jazz trains that travel in the various regions of Italy, is the first significant step towards dynamic and predictive maintenance (Dynamic Maintenance Management System). It actually represents the crucial step towards an innovative type activity based mainly on predictive analysis and on conditions.

Indeed, during the subsequent project phases, advanced ground-based diagnostic systems will be available with evolved functions to calculate the wear on components, predictive algorithms to identify any malfunction and optimisation instruments needed to carry out a service which increasingly meets the demands of commuters throughout Italy.

The installation of the tele-diagnosis system is scheduled to be extended to the entire regional fleet.

Development work 

The “light diagnostic” system is being tried out, in association with Milan Polytechnic, to check the quality of train-rail interaction, which is able to connect to a central location to communicate in real time the indicators and alarms for exceeding certain levels, which can show problems on board the train itself or on the ground.

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