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Digital networking and standardisation in the maintenance process for locomotives and rail freight wagons in the ECM (entity in charge of maintenance) context.

The DISTINplus project aims at digital networking in the maintenance process between ECM 3 and ECM 4. The focus is on the three topics (a) process analysis and standardisation of transport routes and data schemes, (b) the development of an adaptive IT system, and (c) the performance of an environment analysis to determine synergy potentials in the maintenance of locomotives and rail freight wagons.

Project background:

Since the end of the special regime concerning private rolling stock, both in the locomotive and rail freight wagon sectors, the two roles ECM 3 (fleet manager) and ECM 4 (maintenance service provider) in particular are often distributed between different companies. This means that the maintenance process must be designed across company boundaries and thus almost always across IT system boundaries. In relation to the complete order processing process, these boundaries have not yet been overcome, which results in high manual efforts and associated high costs and quality deficits.
The DISTINplus project will completely digitise this order processing process by creating the necessary industry standards and providing the corresponding IT systems for operational processing. The digital networking of the individual market participants will sustainably increase the efficiency and competitiveness of rail freight transport.

Aims of the research project:

The overall objective of the project is to fully digitise the order processing of maintenance between ECM 3 and ECM 4 of locomotives and freight wagons within 3 years and thereby increase the efficiency of rail freight transport. The following sub-goals can be derived from this:

  • Complete digital data exchange as well as flexibilisation of standardised data to avoid gaps and breaks between systems
  • Detailing  maintenance planning
  • Reduce throughput times, reduce downtimes and lower the currently high costs for manual process handling
  • Improve the quality and stability of the maintenance process, resulting in vehicles having higher availability in service
  • Increasing the competitiveness of rail freight transport

Intended outcome:

The DISTINplus project aims to pilot and evaluate the results iteratively by the project partners FHE and Sternico GmbH with the associated partners in test and productive operation, so that a practical reference is guaranteed. On the one hand, the FHE supports the planning and review of the results, and on the other hand, it strives for research results in the field of environment analysis and synergy potentials in maintenance. The following results are to be achieved in the course of the project:

  • A Europeand open standard for digital order processing between the functions ECM 3 and ECM 4
  • A tool with which the technical content to be exchanged can be agreed individually
  • An adaptive IT system for the use of standardisation
  • A strategy paper presenting the synergy potentials and interactions resulting from the comprehensive digitisation of the ECM 3 and ECM 4 business processes

Funding source: Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV)

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