Robots in the Digital Space: New Ctrl2GO Smart Service and Repair Technologies in the Rail Industry
28 AUGUST / 2019
Robotization and digitalization of the railway industry have become the main topics discussed by experts of the PRO//Motion.Expo 2019 industry salon. Alexander Talanov, Deputy General Director of 2050.digital (part of Ctrl2GO GC) for proprietary solutions development told his colleagues about the smart solutions that the company implements within the framework of the service and repair of the locomotive fleet.
Today 2050.digital implements the Digital Depot project which includes more than 30 high-tech initiatives, including the robotization of individual production processes. Alexander Talanov emphasized that the transport sector is one of the first ones in the industry where they take advantage of robotic systems for both production and service processes. "In operational activities, robots may be used to replace or assist people in any activity that falls under what some technology analysts have called the 4D type: dangerous, dirty, dull or difficult in English terminology. Some of the possible applications include inspection, maintenance, monitoring, surveillance, and so on," he said.

Alexander Talanov called machine vision one of the most actively growing areas of industry robotization. The "Digital Depot" project is developing a possibility of using this solution to analyze the technical condition of a locomotive trolley. At the entrance to the depot, the video analytics system can diagnose its external malfunctions. Human participation in collection and processing of this information is excluded. The received data is recorded, and special RFID tags are used to identify the number of trolleys where this malfunction is detected. Then the collected information is analyzed in a separate subsystem. Also, the process of job assignment is currently automated. A special mobile application has been developed for this. Human—č interfere only at the stage of technological operation.

Numbers support the need for such solutions to improve the speed and quality of work performed. Thus, introduction of robotics in mechanical engineering allows to increase productivity by an average of 2.5 times, and the growth of economic efficiency is about 50%. As an example, Alexander Talanov cited one of the Digital Depot technologies, a robotic warehouse. This is a vertical automated storage system located next to the repair position, and the specialist quickly receives a repair kit. For this, you just need to pass identification: the smart warehouse knows who should pick up the inventory items (II) and which ones. The time for issuing and delivering spare parts to repair technicians is reduced by 90%. Besides, the system contains information on availability of certain II at the warehouse, which allows you to integrate this data with an additional order of missing spare parts.

Alexander Talanov also noted that robotization is only one of the digital transformation elements. Currently, operations are being automated, where artificial intelligence and machine labor are more efficient than analog ones. He noted that the total digitalization of service technologies today depends not only on the speed and level of technological solutions in the depot. This process is inextricably linked with changes in the design features and technical characteristics of the locomotive fleet itself.

The central element of the "Digital Depot" is an integration platform where the data from locomotives and key equipment of the depot is continuously transferred. Based on this information, smart systems predict the technical resources of electric locomotives and make it possible to plan depot work more efficiently. "Our integration system has the function of further transmitting analytical data on failure statistics, work execution time, wear of the main components and assemblies to production and developers. This is one of the main advantages of smart solutions integration. Thus, our colleagues are expanding the set of tools for rolling stock modernization and gradual transition of the railway industry to the operation of smart cars. It is possible that very soon we will talk about machines that can not only carry out diagnostics but also maintenance and repair without human help. At least, all trends today are leading to this," the expert concluded.

Digital depot
is a unified smart system of organizational, technical, technological, and software solutions for continuous improvement of the locomotive fleet maintenance and repair (M&R) efficiency. It is created as part of M&R digital transformation and aimed at moving from reactive management of production processes to predictive one. The project was launched in 2018 at the site of the service locomotive depot in Bratsk. Now more than 30 high-tech initiatives are being implemented there.