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Under increasing pressure to control costs and maximize return on assets, transportation companies must balance financial realities with the operational goals of continually improving asset availability, reliable network capacity and safety. Not so long ago, a lack of data was the problem; rail operators had no way of seeing the big picture. Today, the problem has flipped, access to too much data can obscure an organization’s ability to produce a clear picture of their operations and make accurate, data-driven decisions. Leading rail organizations are leveraging diverse data sources to get clear, actionable, near-real time views of actual network conditions and operational scenarios.

(Note: Please join us for our Digital Enterprise Spotlight on Transportation to learn how customers like HS1 have realized value and efficiency with digitalization. Click here to register and read on to get a taste of the discussion.)

About the project

The opening of the High Speed One (HS1) rail line in 2003 was transformative and a major step for connectivity between the UK and Europe. By 2007, customers could travel the full 109-kilometer railway route between St Pancras International in London and the Channel Tunnel at speeds of up to 180 mph. The network’s operators and custodians of the power infrastructure, UK Power Network Services, have delivered the power to the HS1 network with the same Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) technology deployed in 2003. Now, some 15 years later, elements of the power infrastructure are ready for replacement. With 20 million passengers each year traveling via HS1, continuity of power is critical and an outage would make a cover story for European newspapers.

With this planned SCADA replacement UK Power Networks Services saw an opportunity to embrace modern digital technology in partnership with Hitachi ABB Power Grids to improve visibility of critical assets to further support system reliability in order to keep passengers moving.

Retrofitting the Rail SCADA

Hitachi ABB’s latest MicroSCADA X platform and Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) will be physically deployed on premise and integrated with Hitachi ABB’s Digital Enterprise cloud based Asset Performance Management (APM) software - this combination sees the physical asset infrastructure meeting the virtual environment. It’s an integration of both IT and OT. Armed with better data and visualization of the assets, the teams can make better real-time or more strategic long-term decisions, whether from the field, the control room or the board room.

The SCADA and APM project is currently in the integration phase, with Hitachi ABB working closely with UK Power Network Services to build the system out in an offline controlled verification facility where the solution will be rigorously tested before deployment on the live operational network. UK Power Network Services required a modern and future-proof technology that would deliver higher operational efficiency and Hitachi ABB’s MicroSCADA X combined with Asset Performance Management will enable the teams to get closer to their assets and bring new data into their business processes and strategies in order to:

  • Digitize desktop and paper-based exercises to understand the network
  • Support operational staff with the ability to view assets digitally
  • Enjoy greater accuracy and consistency of reporting as the question of whether or not an asset is healthy is no longer only a single person’s subjective view
  • Improve work planning and management
  • Reduce carbon footprint to support its sustainability roadmap
  • Use single source of truth data and centralized maintenance work history to inform operations

All aboard with Hitachi ABB Power Grids

For Hitachi ABB, the HS1 project represents an opportunity to highlight what SCADA and Asset Performance Management integration offers the transportation industry. While the technology we’re replacing was state of the art 15 years ago, it’s now life expired. This replacement will integrate modern day systems and technology to help UK Power Network Services to continue to run the HS1 network in a safe, efficient and reliable way.

We are delighted to be able to share our stories of innovation and strategic vision in our Digital Enterprise webinars commencing on October 1st, 8th and 27th. Please click here to register now.