Bluefield AMS Expands to Above Rail Asset Management Services

Jun 11, 2020 2:55:23 PM
Bluefield believes in challenging ourselves to get more from your assets.


The way in which Bluefield achieves this is by being practical in our approach to equipment by getting back to basics, listening to our clients and delivering value through practical solutions to our clients’ business.


What Services can Bluefield AMS offer to Above Rail Operators?

Over the past four years Bluefield AMS have worked with clients in the Mining, Resource and Energy industries to deliver value through capability in equipment planning and optimization, operational readiness, operational improvement and asset management. With proven results Bluefield AMS offers these services to the rail industry, with a focus on above rail assets. With the acquisition of people who understand the basics and having practical hands on experience we ensue we are able to assist clients to reduce their operating costs immediately based on knowledge that is proven to achieve results.

Through reliability centred maintenance and the implementation of condition monitoring practices in fleet maintenance management systems Bluefield can challenge existing maintenance strategies and practises and reduce maintenance costs while improving asset reliability and availability.


Integration of Trackside Condition Monitoring into a Fleet Maintenance Management System

Utilising the condition monitoring tools which in some cases are already installed, such as trackside monitoring system, visibility between operator and maintainer inspections allow rail operators to increase the frequency of schedule maintenance ensuring assets are in service for longer where they can earn revenue.
Examples of trackside condition monitoring systems that can be directly linked to a maintenance management system are as follows:

  • Thermal Axle Bearing Monitoring Systems – detect defective or damaged bearings prior to failure
  • Thermal Wheel Monitoring Systems – detect braking systems that have not released and have the potential to damage wheels, detects braking systems that are not engaging correctly
  • Acoustic Axle Bearing Detectors – detects axle bearings that are developing defects prior to failure
  • Dragging Equipment Detectors – detects any equipment on board trains that has come loose and is dragging along the tracks
  • Thermal Imaging – looking for any accelerated wear on the trains
  • Brake Wear Detectors – looking for brake components wear to ensure they are within tolerances

This is not new technology, it’s about getting more from your assets by maximising what you already have installed on your rail networks.
We believe that these systems are rarely used for their intended purpose which is front line maintenance and if utilised correctly there is no need for train to stop unnecessarily at every alarm. Rather use their intended functions to access varying degrees of alarms that trigger various levels of action from immediate stopping of a train to an automated flag for the next scheduled maintenance window.

These systems are designed and need to be used as front line maintenance.


Life Cycle Cost Models

Bluefield has developed detailed life cycle costs models for their clients that have been adapted for above rail assets. These cost models allow the rail operators to track life cycle costs and identify opportunities for improvements at a stage where effective action can be taken to ensure maximum value for assets is maintained. This provides an opportunity to benchmark assets and look for departures from the planned distribution of maintenance costs.


Changing Wheelsets too often

One of, it not the greatest expense, for above rail operators is the cost of replacing and re-profiling wheelsets. Often these wheelsets will not reach the desired life between re-profiling windows that are ideally aligned with axle bearing inspections. Bluefield can investigate your current wheel wear rates (specifically targeting flange wear) with a view to improve this through:

  • Measure with a view to reduce Bogie Rotational Resistance
  • Review the Contact Side Bearers Condition
  • Review the Below Rail Track Maintenance Including Rail Head Lubrication
  • Assessing the Bogie Condition

The Opportunity

Bluefield’s work in the Mining, Resource and Energy industries has demonstrated that getting back to basics and implementing improved maintenance strategies can reduce the maintenance costs to asset owners, while maintaining and/or increasing asset availability and utilisation. The development of life cycle cost models allows complete visibility of the maintenance costs for assets over their lives benchmarked against an ideal target.


Bluefield Specialities

  • Project management of above rail improvement projects
  • Predictive big data analytics to improve equipment reliability and reduce maintenance costs
  • Equipment reliability strategy and performance improvement
  • Equipment performance benchmarking
  • Equipment life cycle management
  • Fleet optimisation
  • Operational readiness

Improve your Above Rail Assets

Contact Jon Grose to discuss your challenges and how you can start reducing your operating costs whilst extending the life of your trains.

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