Optimising Rolling Stock Preventive Maintenance Strategy in South Europe

Recent work in NEM Solutions has been undertaken by our Maintenance Consultancy team to improve maintenance and asset performance in an overseas train depot.  Through a methodology developed by experts in NEM Solutions, we were able to make significant changes to our client’s maintenance strategy to not only reduce the risk of equipment failure but also reduce asset life cycle cost.

During the initial stages of the work, current costs were analysed through a cost mapping technique, from which it was detected that assets such as gearboxes presented high corrective maintenance costs.  Consecuently a set of initiatives was defined to work towards an optimised preventive maintenance plan, using the application of in-house knowledge and technologies developed by NEM Solutions.  As a rule, improving preventive maintenance strategies in order to reduce the number of asset faults reduces overall maintenance costs, as the costs of repairing or replacing assets when they are damaged or faulty is much higher than preventing the fault in the first place, not to mention the downtime required and loss of train availability.

The work undertaken was presented to the client by the project team, and subsequent work was done to validate previous analyses.

Combining analyses with an onsite visit, two major sources that contribute to high corrective maintenance costs were identified. Firstly, the lack of knowledge in interpreting oil analysis results and the subsequent incoherent maintenance plan; gearbox oil was replaced periodically and systematically, independently of the results of oil analysis.  Secondly, poor lubrication practices were identified that may have contributed to increased levels of gearbox oil contamination (ingress of water, dust etc.).

In addition we were made aware that the client had identified vibration problems and it had been known for bearing cages to wear and fail.

Armed with a global view of the current situation and having fully identified and analysed a number of issues for improvement, the team in NEM Solutions were able to offer and provide a set of turnkey solutions to reduce life cycle costs and improve reliability.

Firstly, the implementation and use of A.U.R.A. lube will ensure that the process of monitoring and maintaining lubricated equipment (as well as the equipment themselves!) runs smoothly and efficiently.  A.U.R.A.lube integrates and organises the tasks of oil sampling, analysis and asset diagnostics through a single management system, providing a one-stop solution for the end user.

Secondly, the installation of ‘plug&play’ vibration sensors and associated monitoring equipment developed by NEM Solutions will provide an ‘early warning’system for the increase in vibration levels and the initiation of potential bearing and machinery faults.  With the application of A.U.R.A. diagnostic, the client will receive monitoring and diagnostic information from individual assets, which identify unpredictable changes in asset operational behaviour.

After redefining the maintenance strategy and associated maintenance plan, a final report was delivered concluding the anticipated cost reductions and increased availability and reliability of rolling stock assets.

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