Michael Breuer
Managing Partner of RailWatch GmbH&Co.KG

Presentation title:
Digitisation: Evolution, Revolution or Hype? An outlook on digitisation in rail freight transport.

In order to understand what the fourth industrial revolution is all about, the audience is provided with an explanation of “Cyber Physical Systems” or the networking of machines, including a video presentation (1:27min.), as well as with an outlook on transport logistics of the future from the view of one of the leading industries in Germany, the automotive industry. Following the outlook on the transport systems of the future, the development of the truck competition over the rail is highlighted with the project of “truck platooning” up to the year 2025, including a video presentation (4:27min.). The underlying statement of a growing truck competition is substantiated with the service model of “Mercedes Benz Uptime”, which enables the networking of the truck with the service workshop for the optimal maintenance of the vehicles. This development turns the truck into a highly efficient mode of transport.

Subsequently, it is established what service information a rail freight waggon owner gains from the operation of the rail freight waggon today, what security and inefficiency today’s maintenance rules comprise and what benefits the telematics system available in the market provide. It is in this context that the evolution in the digitisation of rail freight waggons is described, how a “smart rail freight wagon” is turned into a “smart connected rail freight waggon” and what a holistic networking of the rail freight waggon could look like within the framework of a “Railway Equipment System” and the networking with other partners to form a “Railway Management System”. Coming back to today’s knowledge of a rail freight waggon owner, the manual registration of wear and tear trends are detailed using the example of the synthetic brake pad vs. the automatic registration of measuring data within the scope of Wayside Monitoring. Consequently, the measuring systems of the Wayside Monitoring concept and their benefit are explained as well as the measuring accuracy using the wheel profile measurement as an example. With the knowledge of the wear, so-called wear trend lines may be forecast, which provide the rail freight waggon owner with an exact time window for a maintenance based on the actual condition of the rolling stock. Next, the RailWatch product model with software as a service is highlighted, including the cost and productivity benefits that arise for rail freight waggon owners, railway undertakings and infrastructure companies as well as terminals and industrial operations.

Finally, the presentation covers the barriers for a pan-European WTMS (Wayside Train Monitoring System) of the past as well as the views of the national infrastructure operators. It is only the European wide networking of all assets and players in one “Rail Management System” that will lead to a highly efficient maintenance policy in rail freight transport and will strengthen the rail as a mode of transport over its competitors and lead to the next stage in the evolution of rail freight transport.

Qualified industrial engineer Michael Breuer is the managing partner of RailWatch GmbH & Co KG in Bonn. He is a proven logistics expert and holds many years of experience in the field of vehicle transportation. His rail logistics career began in 2004 at ATG Autotransportlogistic GmbH, today called DB-Cargo Logistics GmbH. In 2007, he moved to the private rail sector and took on the position of Director of Administration & Technology at the newly founded BLG AutoRail GmbH. BLG AutoRail is a subsidiary of the BLG Logistics Group, the biggest vehicle transportation company in Germany. In 2011, Breuer also became manager of BLG Railtec GmbH, a 100-percent subsidiary of BLG Autorail GmbH. In this role, he was closely involved in the reactivation of Falkenberg marshalling yard, constructing a marshalling facility and setting up and commissioning the freight rail workshop at Uebigau-Wahrenbrück. With 25 km of tracks, Falkenberg is now a logistics hub for new vehicles arriving from eastern European factories in Germany or en route to the North Sea ports. Breuer became manager of RailWatch in September 2015. His vision is to bring rail freight transport in Germany and Europe one step closer towards Industry 4.0.

The RailTech Europe 2017 Conference will explore the following three themes: