07 December 2018

GE Transportation’s “Mission Control” For Locomotives Marks 20-Year Anniversary

GE Transportation’s “Mission Control” For Locomotives Marks 20-Year Anniversary

GE Transportation (NYSE: GE) marked the 20-year anniversary of its best kept secret, the Global Performance Optimisation Centre. Since opening two decades ago, this “mission control” capability transformed how the rail industry worldwide maintains and manages its locomotive fleet and maintenance resources.

“Locomotive monitoring has come a long way since we started the first Global Performance Optimisation Centre in the late 1990s,” said Glenn Shaffer, Technology Executive at GE Transportation. “Previously to monitor a locomotive, we relied on manual downloads or analog cellular modems that don’t exist anymore. Today, we have grown to four centres located around the world using artificial intelligence to process 2.5 million messages a day from more than 17,000 locomotives.”

The centres located in Erie, PA, Fort Worth, TX, Contagem, Brazil and Astana, Kazakhstan operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are staffed by four to five experts per shift. Using the information from the digital systems, the experts provide conditioned-based maintenance instructions tailored to the specific locomotive. The team issues approximately 300 instructions per day. It takes less than 15 minutes between receipt of a digital alert message from the locomotive to issuing the customer a tailored maintenance solution.

Global Performance Optimisation Centres serve more than 50 customers operating in 20 countries around the world. The centres address approximately 80 percent of the maintenance issues that can impact a locomotive. The system is monitoring and providing instructions on each individual locomotive’s engine, propulsion system, auxiliaries, computers, communications, crew interfaces, control systems and much more.

“This system improves the locomotive reliability and availability for our customers by more than 20 percent,” said Shaffer. “It reduces the time it used to take customers to troubleshoot issues and provides precise, accurate maintenance instructions in real time that improves service quality. The advanced information enables customers to pre-plan labour, parts and locomotive placement accelerating the return to service.”

In addition, the centres also provide services to non-GE locomotives, off-highway vehicles, marine vessels and stationary power systems.

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