Frazer-Nash experts, Chris G Jones and Ashley Stower, were thanked by Maggie Simpson, Director General of the Rail Freight Group (RFG), for an interesting presentation they gave at the RFG’s Annual General Meeting and Autumn Group Meeting in Middlesbrough on 6 November.
Digital asset management specialist, Chris, who manages Frazer-Nash’s Middlesbrough office, and Rail Business Manager, Ashley, gave a presentation titled ‘Rail freight growth – a perspective from other sectors’, highlighting how lessons learnt from the defence and energy industries can help the rail freight sector overcome the challenges it faces.
Writing to Ashley Stower, Maggie Simpson said:
“Many thanks to you and Chris for today's presentation. It was spot on, and the examples you showed were sufficiently thought provoking for those attending.”
Discussing the purpose of the presentation, Ashley said:
“Other industries are experiencing – and solving – problems and challenges similar to those the rail freight industry is facing today. As professional problem solvers across a range of sectors, we help deliver answers to difficult questions. I believe that, by bringing examples of best practice from other sectors, we can help the rail industry to address some of its key challenges.
“Using examples drawn from the defence domain on logistics modelling for the UK army; from the energy sector on industrial gas turbine life prediction; and from the transport sector work we’ve undertaken on rail maintenance depot modelling, we outlined how modelling, simulation and analysis tools can deliver solutions that fit the rail freight sector.”
Going into more detail about the presentation content, Chris explained:
“Modelling, simulation and analysis tools could be used to optimise terminals, increase network paths and capacity, and to predict failures of locos, wagons and infrastructure.
“For example, we helped the army to calculate equipment availability and understand the implications of changes to activities and schedules through creating a logistics analysis tool. This fleet availability simulation enabled our client to create and visualise potential future scenarios and understand their impact on availability, so it could manage procurement and logistics to ensure enough spare components locally to support operations.
“Within the gas turbine sector, our client wanted to decrease its operating costs and move its business model to an availability-based contract, but needed to better understand when its assets would fail. Using engineering modelling and assessment, we developed material condition-based monitoring predictions, which utilised real-time data from 15,000 units to inform analytical models that predicted assets’ remaining useful life. We managed to deliver a 70 per cent reduction in spare holdings.
“For the rail industry, we’ve developed a depot modelling tool that analyses logistics operations at rail depots, identify capability risks, and assesses the suitability of upgrades in terms of both cost and capability. The tool, which has now been developed into software, reviews optimisation models, identifies cost-saving models and underpins decision-making on maintenance plans against timetabling, resource availability and reliability targets. It has helped one of our clients inform its decisions on where to upgrade existing facilities, and where to build from scratch."