In today’s open European market the manufacturers are responsible for the design and construction of rolling stock, including the basic maintenance program. Usually the maintenance engineering is embedded in a ‘Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety Program’ (RAMS Program). Because significant technical differences between the national railway systems in Europe still exist, most manufacturers initially design general platforms for commuter, intercity and high speed trains. During the tendering and delivery process a specific model is engineered in several consecutive steps based on one of those platforms. The maintainability is a characteristic of that final and specific product. It will be expressed in terms of the mean distance (or time) between maintenance tasks, the mean time to carry out a preventive or corrective maintenance task and the average cost of maintenance.
It should be emphasized that the contracted maintainability:
- is unique to the specific rolling stock which is ordered and might be different from other final designs based on the same platform;
- does not equal the future operational and financial performance of the fleet under operational circumstances, because the latter depends on the logistics system as a whole, including the design and functioning of the logistic and maintenance support organization.
The cost for the procurement of rolling stock reflects less than 40% of the life cycle cost. Although the percentage depends on the scope of the service and operation costs taken into account, it is fair to say that most money is spend during the years that rolling stock is in service. It is also true that this amount of money is largely determined and allocated during the procurement of the rolling stock and the design of the logistic and maintenance support. Decisions made in this stage have significant and long lasting impact on the life cycle cost. It can be concluded that the use of advanced methods for supportability analysis and decision support during procurement and development of rolling stock offer great opportunities to assure competitive strength.
The main objective of the Supportability Analysis applied research and development project is to obtain qualitative and quantitative methods together with tools to:
- Define initial supportability specifications for the selection of rolling stock suppliers;
- Evaluate and rank the offers from the perspective of supportability;
- Contract supportability related items of rolling stock as well as process requirements for the supplier;
- Create, execute and manage a concurrent iterative process to design optimal logistic support related to the detailed design of rolling stock and characteristics of NS/NedTrain;
- Assess and improve logistic support during the operation life cycle of rolling stock.
This research is done in cooperation with the Maintenance Engineering department.