Markus Hollfelder

Senior Key Expert, Siemens Mobility Services

Supernova Award Category: 

Data to Decisions

The Organization: 

Siemens Mobility, a leader in worldwide transport, offers solutions for urban, interurban, and freight transportation including mobility management, railway electrification, rolling stock, and customer services. Siemens Mobility enables mobility operators worldwide to make infrastructure intelligent, increase value sustainably over the entire lifecycle, enhance the passenger experience, and guarantee availability.

The Problem: 

The rail industry is modernizing into the digital world: rail cars and track components have become complicated pieces of machinery, facilitated by data across three main areas:

1. Data and analytics are now part of a highly complex, technology-driven, R&D process -- facilitating Siemens’ evolution from making “old-fashioned trains” to designing more modern, sophisticated, and digitally-optimized rail vehicles.

2. The standardization of data in train manufacturing -- improving manufacturing processes by establishing a “common language” of data among components, when often trains are custom manufactured according to the specifications of each customer’s unique rail network. Data standardization in manufacturing is critical, otherwise, Siemens is unable to create well-designed and future-ready products for their customers.

3. In order to maximize the use, value, and productivity of train cars throughout its expected 30+ year lifetime, data becomes a critical element -- whether in day-to-day functionalities or long-term maintenance and planning.

All the data that must be taken from each element of this life cycle and fed back to every other element -- creating a highly complex web of interconnectivity intersecting train operations with manufacturing, R&D, maintenance, and beyond. Every piece is connected to the other, impacting Siemens Mobility products for their entire lifecycle.

The Solution: 

To solve these challenges, Siemens built the Railigent rail intelligence solution. Railigent enables smarter use of rail data from track sensors and rolling stock to measure hardware component wear-and-tear, speed, weight, distances, and the in-train environment; empowering rail operators to understand the full picture of rail conditions, generate valuable insights, maintain regulatory compliance, and maximize network efficiency. Railigent collects data from thousands of sources and analyzes millions of data points in real-time, such as detecting degradation patterns and instantly alerting operators while the problematic train is in transit, then scheduling maintenance and triggering the next best action. This helps operators facilitate better passenger experiences by being more aware of potential aggravators and ensuring only the best trains are online; but Siemens also utilizes this data for its own continuous improvement across R&D, manufacturing, and maintenance.

The Results: 

Running a perfect rail network is the main goal for Siemens’ customers: trains that always run on time, at a lower cost, with maximum efficiency and passenger satisfaction. That’s because when things go wrong, costs pile up quickly; if a train breaks down, not only are there the harsh expenses of replacement parts and labor, but also lower revenues due to fewer revenue-generating assets deployed in the field. Let alone the sometimes incalculable cost to an operator’s reputation when trains are consistently late, broken down, or uncomfortably over-capacity with anxious passengers.

Siemens is forever changing the way the rail industry operates by offering customers a smart digital core infrastructure solution, enabling them not only to execute on day-to-day operations more intelligently, but also gain the agility to plan and expand around future needs -- crucial as Siemens Mobility powers transit systems for some of the world’s most populous and interconnected regions.

Customers already using Railigent are seeing reduced train lifecycle costs through extended service and maintenance intervals, making their rail transport more cost-competitive. With a strong digital core, customers can create much more interesting passenger experiences from knowing each train’s location, real-time capacity, predictions of possible system delays, and maintenance issues. 


Prior to the implementation of Railigent, potential disruptions and service delays rarely could be predicted; fixes were reactive and not always optimal; and maintenance costs after a breakdown were always significantly greater than any preventive maintenance. As train components have increased in complexity, it has only become more difficult to see potential problems and fix them before they worsen. Providing passengers with guaranteed train reliability and quality of experience was more aspirational than realistically achievable.

Railigent has changed all of that. On average, today the Railigent solution lowers maintenance costs and energy consumption by 15% through extended service and maintenance internals; decreases unplanned downtime by 50% using predictive maintenance to detect incipient failures; and reduces unnecessary transfers to maintenance by over 30% through condition-based monitoring. Railigent also optimizes maintenance and operation planning, improving asset availability of up to 100%.
Additionally, Railigent is open to well over a dozen key third-party rail technology ecosystem partners, including BOOM Software, Dellner, Frauscher Sensonic, HACON, Knorr-Bremse, Menlo79, Strukton, Voith, and Wi-Tronix. Railigent’s open ecosystem ensures the rail transportation industry is optimizing its asset life cycles to provide passengers with a seamless, comfortable experience.

The Technology: 

Railigent is built on the TIBCO Spotfire analytic platform with AWS Cloud at the foundation. TIBCO Spotfire software is the most complete analytics solution on the market, enabling everyone to explore and visualize new discoveries in data through immersive dashboards and advanced analytics. Spotfire analytics delivers capabilities at scale, including predictive analytics, geolocation analytics, and streaming analytics.

Disruptive Factor: 

Railigent helps customers operate better and helps Siemens design more sophisticated and reliable trains for the future. Aggregate data allows Siemens to understand the “universal common language” of train components -- solving the standardization conundrum that arises when manufacturing bespoke trains according to each customers’ unique needs. This closed feedback loop means Siemens will continue making the best trains for years to come.

Additionally, Siemens made a strategic decision to open up Railigent to a wide range of partners and competitors, allowing customers to combine in-house and third-party applications within Railigent for more comprehensive asset and system management. With more transportation ecosystem partners working together to increase system visibility and drive future innovations, Railigent customers achieve more added value in the long run.

What does it mean for the average train passenger? A seamless, comfortable travel journey. Trains that run consistently on time. Fewer crowded trains, or trains with broken doors, seats, or air conditioning. Greater reliability and confidence in the train system increase the likelihood that passengers will expand their use of the train in the future. With greater passenger uptake, comes greater revenue, fueling system expansions, and improvements that help train operators grow assuredly into the future.

Shining Moment: 

Siemens recently completed a €1.7 billion order for the Rhine-Ruhr Express (RRX) including state-of-the-art trains and a long-term maintenance contract. The trains feature platform-level entries, A/C, power outlets at the seats, and free internet. Everything related to the RRX trains is digitally networked: trains, service center, logistics center, and employees. Railigent powers its intelligent and predictive train diagnostics system and advanced passenger information system.

About Siemens Mobility Services

As a leader in transport solutions for over 160 years, Siemens Mobility is constantly innovating its portfolio of rolling stock, rail automation and electrification, turnkey systems, and intelligent traffic systems. Siemens Mobility is enabling mobility operators worldwide to make infrastructure intelligent, increase value sustainably, enhance passenger experience and guarantee availability.