GE Transportation set up its locomotive monitoring facility, the Global Performance Optimization Center, 20 years ago. There are now four centres, located in the United States, Brazil and Kazakhstan.
Each centre is staffed 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. And there are four or five experts working every shift. They take the information coming in from the digital systems to issue condition-based maintenance instructions that are specific to the locomotive in question. The experts give around 300 instructions every day. Impressively, the GE experts can issue a tailored maintenance instructions in under 15 minutes.
GE’s Global Performance Optimization Centers assist more than 50 customers in 20 different countries. In addition, they provide services to non-GE locomotives. Overall, the centres can deal with 80 percent of locomotive maintenance matters. In particular, the locomotive monitoring system looks at the engine, propulsion system, auxiliaries, computers, communications, crew interfaces, control systems and more.
Glenn Shaffer, Technology Executive at GE Transportation, said:
“Locomotive monitoring has come a long way since we started the first Global Performance Optimization Center in the late 1990s. Previously to monitor a locomotive, we relied on manual downloads or analog cellular modems that don’t exist anymore. Today, we have grown to four centers located around the world using artificial intelligence to process 2.5 million messages a day from more than 17,000 locomotives.
“This system improves the locomotive reliability and availability for our customers by more than 20 percent. It reduces the time it used to take customers to troubleshoot issues and provides precise, accurate maintenance instructions in real time that improves service quality. The advanced information enables customers to pre-plan labor, parts and locomotive placement accelerating the return to service.”
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