|Photo by: Wiki05 via Wikimedia Commons|
A new locomotive hub was opened yesterday by the Siemens company in Newcastle, Delaware. The 44,000-square-foot facility is going to use what is termed the “Internet of Trains”digital and predictive technology to remotely maintain the units for several railroad operators for 140 locomotives created by Siemens, their officials said via press release.
Customers of Siemens are comprised of the Maryland Transit Administration, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Illinois Department of Transportation, and Amtrak. The facility will also be handling an addition from the Brightline company in southeast Florida.
Siemens first used the technology in conjunction with Amtrak to analyze and monitor the data from 70 Siemens-built ACS-64 locomotives running along the Northeast Corridor. The Siemens/Amtrak tandem was able to find problems and make improvements to the performance of the ACS-64 trains. This cut out 33 percent of train delays in 2016, according to Siemens.
Siemens is also implementing virtual reality technology for training maintenance employees on the different kinds of locomotive equipment used around the world. A service tech can use virtual reality goggles and handheld controls, a service technician can virtually stand inside a locomotive and use the handheld controls to work on switches, components, and panels.
In reference to the new facility, Siemens USA Chief Executive Officer Judy Marks said: "This is a key investment for Siemens in our largest market in the world." Marks added, "Trains were the preeminent invention of the first industrial revolution, but today they exemplify a fourth in which software is converging with advanced manufacturing."
Marks said the locomotives manufactured by Siemens in the US are “born digital,” explaining, "They're computers on steel wheels that constantly collect data. Now, in New Castle, our technicians and engineers will make this data actionable for our customers."