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Siemens: Railigent is the X factor

siemens railigent x

Siemens’ Railigent X advances sustainable transportation by digitally increasing the capacity of rail systems with less resources.


Siemens made a bold move to hasten digital transformation in 2022, when it unveiled its Xcelerator open business platform: a comprehensive portfolio of software and services offered by the company to enable customers to accelerate their digital transformation easier and faster.

Xcelerator is designed to empower businesses, particularly in the industrial, smart infrastructures and transportation manufacturing and engineering sectors, by providing digital tools, solutions, and services to streamline product development, accelerate innovation, and enhance operational efficiency.

Xcelerator connects different mobility players on one open digital business platform using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to help unify systems and improve operations regardless of who built them.

In the mobility sector, there are typically many systems running in parallel, due to different suppliers in each national or even each local transport system.

Xcelerator helps customers unify fragmented rail systems with the overall intention of providing higher availability, punctuality, and utilisation of trains and the rail infrastructure. It is the vendor-agnostic technological roof on top of Siemens’ digital transformation strategy, allowing them to functionally unify proprietary and third-party solutions.

Rail Express speaks to Siemens Mobility’s Head of Customer Service for Australia and New Zealand, Gonzalo Martinez Delgado, about how the digital ecosystem enables rail operators and asset owners to better understand data, analyse assets, and derive actions, resulting in enhanced operation and maintenance to achieve 100 per cent system availability.

Martinez Delgado (pictured above) said Siemens Xcelerator is a dynamic and evolving platform, with new capabilities and integrations continuously added to keep up with the changing demands of the industry.

“Because it’s hosted on the cloud, it always has the latest version. The cloud is the fundamental technology element of all this acceleration,” he said.

“Without it, operators and businesses would need to upgrade and renew systems constantly, but by using the cloud, you have access to the latest systems all the time, together with the benefits it brings in terms of cybersecurity protection with the latest available protections centrally managed.”

Xcelerator is currently used by a wide range of industries, including automotive, aerospace, industrial machinery, transportation and more. Its goal is to help companies innovate faster, reduce time-to-market, improve product quality, and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving global marketplace.

Railigent X, a suite of applications that advances sustainable transportation by digitally increasing the capacity of rail systems with less resources, is part of Xcelerator.

“Siemens believes in the need for and benefits of digitalisation and transformation. Each industry domain within Xcelerator has the right solution, and Railigent X is the one for rail,” he said.

“Using the same mindset and design principles as Xcelerator, Railigent X helps train and rail network operators deliver added- value across their core processes.

“We’re providing the technical tools and blueprints together with the process behind the modules that enable the digital transformation.”

As an open ecosystem that includes customers and partners, Railigent X fosters innovation and the creation of additional data services. At the same time, the Railigent X application suite can integrate data from different assets and multiple OEMs based on open market standards. All of this combined with AI helps all industry stakeholders get more from their rail system and increase capacity – with less resources.

“To facilitate the digitalisation process, one of the things that Siemens understood as crucial for this journey was that we need to be open, to be willing to bring our data into this ecosystem, so that we enable full functionality between all sources and users,” Martinez Delgado said.

“If we want to really accelerate altogether as an industry, we all need to work together.

“We aim to connect infrastructure and rolling stock and make the information available and useful to both rail operators and passengers.

“Currently there is a complex patchwork of rolling stock, hardware, software, signaling, electrification and passenger information on every trip.

“By connecting the information across the different stakeholders of the mobility ecosystem – asset owners, operators, maintainers and passengers – we enable digital and sustainable mobility solutions.”

Martinez Delgado said there are a variety of train operators, infrastructure managers, computerware programs and apps that need to be brought together rather than engaged individually.

“We need to digitally connect the various stakeholders across the mobility chain within Railigent X to enable a punctual, comfortable, reliable and easy-to-use transportation system,” he said.

“This unified approach allows operators, maintainers, and asset owners to have access to all the relevant information in order to optimise the rail journey for passengers.

“Railigent X makes intelligent use of rail asset data to create added value. It empowers rail operators, maintainers, and asset owners to understand their railway data, generate valuable information, and obtain deeper insights into the performance of their assets.

“They benefit because by connecting everything within one ecosystem, they will be able to manage all their assets centrally, no matter who manufactured them.”

THE CYBERSECURITY CHALLENGE

Martinez Delgado is aware that while rail transport is becoming more digital, the shift exposes rail systems to increasing cybersecurity risks.

“Transportation systems are critical infrastructure and growing targets of cyber- crime,” he said. “Operators face frequent and evolving threats, new laws, standards, and technology trends that define new requirements for cybersecurity.”

Martinez Delgado said Siemens’ holistic approach to cyber threats included using secured processes, assets, products, and services to protect rail systems during the whole lifecycle.

“We are a leader in digital rail and a founding member of the Charter of Trust, a non- profit alliance of leading global companies and organisations working together to make the digital world of tomorrow a safer place.

“Cybersecurity is an integral part of rail, combining informational and operational technology for optimal rail protection.

“We use a security approach that covers all angles over the entire life cycle, tailored to customer needs in compliance with national laws, industry standards, and regulations.”

EXAMPLE IN ACTION

Siemens Mobility is the system integrator for on-time delivery of the city-shaping project Sydney Metro–Western Sydney Airport, the new metro railway line that will service between St Marys, the new Western Sydney International Airport, and the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.

The company has been awarded a contract to deliver 12 automated, driverless three-car metro trains, a purpose-built depot, the digital rail infrastructure including signaling, telecoms, and platform screen doors as well as system integration, testing, and commissioning. The company will also complete a 15-year maintenance contract.

Siemens Mobility is delivering the turnkey project as a member of the Parklife Metro consortium with its partners Webuild, RATP Dev, and Plenary Group, all with strong international experience in delivering infrastructure projects.

This will be the first carbon-neutral project and the first Railigent X project to be implemented in Australia.

“The Railigent X digital asset management applications will ensure 100 per cent system operational availability of the assets,” Martinez Delgado said.

“The operator, RATP Dev, wanted to implement its own computer maintenance management system (CCMS), and the diagnostic data and automatic corrective work orders for it are coming from Railigent X.

“Railigent X is used to help gain valuable data insights in operation to enable greater reliability and availability for the assets, providing root cause analysis, condition monitoring, remedy recommendations, health prediction models and ultimately whole life cost optimisation.

“So, while the asset information system and service payment monitoring system are from our direct customer and partner RATP Dev, Railigent X was introduced as a condition monitoring system to help them provide an overall solution, showing once more Siemens’ flexibility to integrate into an open ecosystem with customers and partners.”

SUSTAINABILITY

Lastly, and definitely not least, is the effect of Railigent X on sustainability.

One of Siemens Mobility’s pillars is to act decisively and introduce sustainability standards that enable decarbonisation and dematerialisation of the entire mobility value chain.

“By integrating solutions for our customers and implementing measures in our own company, we are creating added value related to decarbonisation, resource efficiency and transforming how we use the railways,” Martinez Delgado said.

“As a company, we support our customers in moving towards carbon-neutral passenger and freight transport, from door to door, in cities, and in-between, with rolling stock, rail infrastructure, intermodal solutions, rail services, and turnkey solutions.

“We play our part by utilising energy- efficient products and accelerating alternative propulsion systems that use battery or hydrogen technology.

“Our customers also enjoy the benefits of increased asset value through our lifecycle management strategy, in turn reducing the ecological footprint of their operations.

“We need to optimise operations and save manufacturing reserve trains when there is no need. For example, we can help predict failures. Every time there is a failure that is not fixed, it consumes more time, more resources, more effort, more carbon.

“Fault-finding means we don’t need spare trains kept in a garage waiting for the running trains to fail. This is really sustainable because we have saved resources to build a train that will probably not be used, and would be scrapped later.

“One of the main benefits of Railigent X is the impact on lifecycle cost.

“Operators who can optimise the lifecycle are also more sustainable because they are looking for the optimum in terms of cost investment.

“So that’s another area in which we are reducing the carbon footprint and expenses.

“Furthermore, if you make the right decisions at the right time, you can also save energy.

“For example, why make a train travel faster from A to B if you know that there are some delays and train stops along the way?

“In such cases, there is no need for speed, instead we send the right message to the train to start coasting, to keep on running. This uses less energy consumption and less carbon.

“Sustainability is the overarching challenge, not just for rail operators, not just for customers, but also for the general public.

“And Railigent X has all the tools needed to satisfy customers at the end of the door-to- door trip, in a sustainable way.”