Importance of Railway Maintenance
In the old world of business, maintenance was commonly referred to as a ‘necessary evil’, something that one must contend with but does not value. It had to be done to keep the lights on but should be driven to a minimum in the name of efficiency. In safety-critical industries however, maintenance has always been regarded as one of the pillars of effective safety management and of paramount importance to keeping operations safe and secure. These opposing views of the importance of maintenance always had the potential to set Engineer and Business Manager at loggerheads.
Moving forward to modern enterprises, the challenge of reconciling asset performance, reliability, availability, maintainability and safety (PRAMS) with less money, resource and time remains. The pressures of delivering profitable operations that are safe and effective throughout the lifecycle sit front and square, regardless of the industry or operation concerned. Designers are challenged to eliminate or simplify Maintenance, Asset Managers are tasked with sweating the asset to extract every ounce of value whilst aspiring to absolute safety and Maintenance Engineers are squeezed to perform more with less – less access, less budget, less resource – with the ever-present pressure to maintain compliance, reduce budget and deal with backlog.
Engineers and Asset Managers have always known the importance of good maintenance. How a planned intervention, performed at the right time is the key to a right-time railway. But how to do this in an ever-decreasing time-window, often with ageing assets in a challenging physical and operational environment? Step forward, the role of Digital Railway Maintenance.