On Digital Transformation for the Rail Industry. Q&A with Payam Amini
Q1. The rapid increase in urbanization worldwide is driving demand for more efficient and higher-performing railway connections in mass and intercity transit. The challenge for cities, regions and countries is to introduce new rail systems or extend existing ones. How does Digital Transformation help steering such complex infrastructure projects?
We believe, that a holistic digital twin of our complex rail infrastructure projects are a huge leaver and will give us a competitive advantage. Our ambition is, to build the complete system digitally first. We test the realization and all interfaces before start of construction of track, buildings and other structures on site. Our digital model considers the performance throughout the full life cycle of the products and projects and is the basis for optimized asset management. Our basis is a complete, consistent and contractually compliant model of the track and all civil and electro-mechanical systems of rail infrastructures in mass transit and main line installations. We can manage, to involve all participating stakeholder to work on a consistent data model, which increases the transparency of current activities and enhances the collaborative teamwork.
Q2. What kind of digital solutions do you offer for that? What state-of-the-art technologies do you use? How can you reduce the complexity and risks of large-scale infrastructure projects?
We have established a BIM (Building Information Modelling) Standard for rail infrastructure projects. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a project management (PM) method that supports a modern and efficient way of working in construction projects during planning, execution, and operations. These operations are guided by comprehensive data models that are hosted and exchanged in a common data environment (CDE). The implementation of BIM methodology in turnkey rail projects is one fundamental step towards realizing the vision to develop design for rail infrastructure systems holistically and completely, as a ‘digital twin’, in order to verify the project realization and interfaces before construction starts on site. As a result, planning risks can be detected earlier, and reduced significantly by the assignment of appropriate measures. The ultimate goal of introducing BIM is to increase the stability of processes while reducing the delivery time, effort, and cost for rail infrastructure respectively.
Furthermore we offer a wide range of connectivity and optimized operation solutions. We offer Operational support through simulation based system analysis for prediction of energy demand and system status. Thru Real-time capability we allows flexible prediction on system utilization, energy consumption. We can early react to avoid predicted critical status and failures.
MindSphere is our cloud-based, open IoT operating system from Siemens that connects our customer assets, enabling them to harness the wealth of data generated by the Internet of Things (IoT) with advanced analytics.
Q3. What knowledge is required to manage complex infrastructure projects?
On top of our current experts in terms of domain experts, System Integration Management and Project Management, thru the implementation of a digital twin, the connection of the assets to our IoT platform and conducting advanced analytics, new competencies are required. Already in early phases, we need BIM managers, BIM coordinator, Asset Information Manager as well as CDE manager. These are competencies, mainly responsible for the data management in design and execution of complex rail infrastructure projects. To perform advanced analytics, we need data scientist and domain experts to extract the customer values out of the operational data.
Dr. Payam Amini is globally responsible for the Digital Transformation in Siemens Mobility Turnkey Projects and Electrification, aiming to build up new customer offerings enabled by digital solutions as well as boosting internal efficiencies thru innovative technologies.
Before that he was the Executive Assistant to the Business Unit CEO, responsible to identify, execute and manage improvement projects. Prior to his work in Siemens he spent 4 years working and researching at Laboratory of Machine Tools and Production Engineering WZL at the RWTH Aachen University, heading the work group Perceived Quality & Product Value Management. He holds a German diploma in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration and a doctoral degree in engineering. During his studies, Payam Amini worked for Ericsson Eurolab.
On AI and Data Technology Innovation in the Rail Industry. Interview with Gerhard Kress , ODBMS Industry Watch, Published on 2018-07-31