Foto: ingegneria e digitalizzazione

The continuously improving results achieved on the Italian network and the prestigious awards received at international level allow the Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Group to strengthen its position within Europe and in other international markets.

The Mediterranean, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Latin America, USA, India and Australia are the main areas where Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane is active, exporting Italian excellence to develop railway networks in those countries.

The main services offered in the international market relate to engineering, the management of passenger transport, logistics, infrastructures and stations.

Italferr's role on the international stage

Italferr is an engineering service company for traditional, high-velocity and urban transport which deals with planning, management and supervision of work, construction tender projects and project management activity for large infrastructure investments by the FS Italiane Group. Italferr works in Italia and in 40 other countries around the world (Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Turkey, Iran, Asia, India and the Americas). 

Overseas contracts recently acquired by Italferr, together with Generali Costruzioni Ferroviarie (Gcf) and Mermec (measurement specialists) include: the new high-speed Tehran-Qom-Esfahan (440 kilometres electrified twin-track) which will link the main cities in Iran; the rail link between Esenboga Airport and Ankara (27 km) in Turkey; the design of a 750 metre-long suspension railway bridge between Katra and Reasi, above a 200-metre drop, in India; the renewal of the French railway network; infrastructure installations in the Ceneri Base Tunnel, in the Canton of Ticino; inspection of the Finnish rail network; inspection of the railway network of the City of San Francisco and the Bay counties in the United States.

Through these foreign contracts, Italferr confirms its role as a global player in designing large-scale works, exporting internationally the know how of Italian railways, which is appreciated throughout the world.

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.

Engineering and digitalisation

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.

FS Italiane wants its clients to try out a new "travel philosophy", by offering easy-to-use tools to travellers. For example, real-time solutions for journeys, information and suggestions and opportunities to be taken, wherever available.

The aim is to offer a journey planner which is useful from the first stages of planning a trip right through to its end. It is flexible and can incorporate any modifications which have to be made to the initial plans: all in all, it is a travelling companion which is effective and dependable, that knows clients and advises them on what best to do. This is an aim which can be attained thanks to big data and to advanced analytical tools which are linked to the relevant digital platforms.

This means the creation of an Extended Customer Experience, which can enter people’s everyday lives, and which stands out with services such as indoor station mapping, an electronic wallet, delay notification, video chat and social seating, as well as the travel companion.

Digital smart caring

This is a revolution in the way of understanding information and assistance which, thanks to digital technologies, becomes intelligent and personalised, to ensure every client can manage their time better.

The new Infopush functions of the free Trenitalia App, which is available on all iOS and Android devices, will provide travellers with what they have always asked for: to be kept regularly and punctually updated on what is happening on the line and the trains that they normally use.

Over the past few months, a trial has meant that passengers on the 6,500 regional trains run every day by Trenitalia have been able to be automatically informed, at the time requested, of their train’s progress. In some regions (Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Veneto, Tuscany and Liguria) the information can also be extended to line conditions, meaning that clients can find out at a time they decide if traffic is interrupted or delayed. With the new App function, from now on every single event that means a delay of over 15 minutes or a halt to traffic relating to the trains that have been selected (clients can monitor up to four) will be immediately flagged, and the reason for the delay given.

Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, a member of the FS Italiane Group that manages the national infrastructure, is responsible for the maintenance of over 16,700 km of network on which approximately 9,000 trains circulate on average every day. To ensure the maintenance of its high standards of safety, reliability, and quality of the railway infrastructure throughout the country, RFI adopts certified maintenance processes and sophisticated diagnostic tools while maintaining a "complex" system that involves both civil engineering projects, such as bridges and tunnels, and the sophisticated technologies that regulate railway circulation.

The results achieved so far have been possible thanks to important investments in maintenance. The careful planning of maintenance activities make it possible to extend the life cycle of the infrastructure, optimizing the initial investment.

There are three types of interventions in the RFI maintenance system:

  • Ordinary: maintenance actions to contain the natural wear process of the materials that make up the infrastructure;
  • Overtime: actions aimed at renewing and replacing subsystems or components, which determine the reliability, productivity, efficiency and safety of the network;
  • Exceptional: unplanned actions as determined by exceptional events and external causes.

Mobile diagnostics

In order to obtain up-to-date data on the state of the railway infrastructure and promptly eliminate any eventual causes of abnormalities, Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (FS Group) uses a fleet of trains for mobile diagnostics. These special trains also make it possible to plan and schedule maintenance works.

So-called Measurement Trains run through the entire network, checking the technical parameters of the infrastructure based on the coordinates of their position.