Siemens opened a new Locomotive Service facility in New Castle that will operate as the company’s digital service, supply chain, and technical field training hub.
The 44,000 square-foot New facility will combine Siemens’ digital analytics know-how with its industry knowledge to move rail further into the digital age, a release stated.
The center is located at 800 Centerpoint Blvd, near the Farmers Market. The company will open with 20 employees. Amtrak, a major customer for Siemens has maintenance, dispatching and other operations in northern Delaware.
The New Castle team will train service technicians and remotely maintain Siemens locomotives for customers across the U.S. including Amtrak, the Maryland Transit Administration, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, FloridaBrightline, and the Illinois Department of Transportation, among others.
Members of Siemens’ Digital Rail Services team in New Castle will remotely collect and analyze over 800 data points from each locomotive daily. The data includes information on equipment health, operational metrics and environmental data made available by automatic, continuous streaming from the locomotive.
The data, can help diagnose fleet issues and develop predictive maintenance capabilities so issues can be identified before problems develop.
The Siemens team is already putting its data capabilities to use by working with Amtrak to monitor and analyze data from 70 Siemens-built ACS-64 locomotives running along the Northeast Corridor.
On-board information is sent automatically to Siemens “Smart Cockpit” software that helps analyze and flag any items that require closer attention, like if a locomotive is exceeding certain temperature levels.
The Siemens team reviews flagged items and recommends actions that are relayed directly to the local technical advisors and Amtrak maintenance experts at the depots along the corridor.
Data already collected has led to Siemens and Amtrak to design and implement software updates that improved the ACS-64’s performance, helping Amtrak achieve about 33 percent fewer delays in 2016 compared to 2015, the release noted.
“When Americans have access to reliable train travel, they tend to take advantage of it. Siemens’ new center – right here in New Castle, Delaware – will help make rail service more reliable by using cutting edge technology to service and build new locomotives at a faster pace and higher volume,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, a frequent Amtrak user and long-time supporter of the goverernment-owned rail system.
The team will also use virtual reality technology for maintenance training on different locomotive equipment running worldwide.
Using virtual reality goggles and handheld controls, the service technician can virtually stand inside a locomotive and use the handheld controls to work on switches, components and panels. This training will prepare them both mentally and physically for work on actual locomotives at customer locations across the U.S.
“This is a key investment for Siemens in our largest market in the world,” Siemens USA CEO Judy Marks said. “Trains were the preeminent invention of the first industrial revolution, but today they exemplify a fourth in which software is converging with advanced manufacturing. Siemens’ locomotives now come out of our U.S. manufacturing plants born digital; 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. That’s major value added for railroads striving for even higher levels of safety and reliability.”
In addition to remote data services, the new facility will include a supply chain distribution center to quickly deliver locomotive parts for locomotive customers. The hub will rely on Siemens supply chain from partners across the U.S and will rely on 16 full-time positions based at the New Castle hub to work with the company’s nearly 70 existing service employees at customer sites.
“It’s important to realize that keeping a locomotive running smoothly relies on more the vehicle and rail infrastructure, it’s how you maintain these trains that will keep them running reliably for our customers,” said Chris Maynard, vice president of Siemens Mobility Customer Services. “We are bringing the rail industry into the digital era and creating an “Internet of Trains” to ensure locomotives operating across the East Coast and beyond are running as efficiently as possible.
Siemens has transportation manufacturing hubs in: Sacramento, CA; Louisville, KY; Marion, KY; Pittsburgh, PA
Siemens is already a large employer in Delaware, thanks to its medical technology business, which has operations in Glasgow.
Siemens reported worldwide revenue of $88.1 billion in fiscal 2016. Siemens’ USA reported revenue of $23.7 billion, including $5.4 billion in exports, and employs approximately 50,000 people.