“Digital technologies are available to maximize business potential and are at the service to achieve the desired results” Interview to Javier De la Cruz, Managing Director at CAF Digital Services.

It is not a matter of being on the digital wave because it is imposed. Each company needs to define its own objectives in coherence to the strategic objectives of the company.

How to distinguish between mass of data and smart data? The process of rail industry companies becoming digital and more key topics on the interview made to Javier De la Cruz, carried out on the occasion of the event of Scandinavian Rail Optimisation Virtual Workshop event.

1. Collecting data from remote assets is simpler and more economically feasible than ever. However, how does CAF’s solution distinguish between the mass of data which is collected and smart data that is useful for its customers?

Based on the knowledge and experience of more than 50 years maintaining vehicles, CAF has developed a digital tool with the clear objective of improving business KPI´s. LeadMind, the platform operated and implemented by CAF is designed to enable efficient and effective decisions to segmented users, with adapted interfaces to guarantee an optimal user experience. 

Currently, LeadMind have been awarded with 32 projects; which means, more than 1.000 train units and 4.000 cars monitored. These ongoing projects already have real evidence of saving maintenance costs and improving the fleet´s RAMS.

This knowhow is oriented to the different stakeholders that allows to get the needed information on a first glance, facilitating the decision making process, as well as, ensuring greater control and empowering the team with modular and adapted solutions. Data management is the only differentiation to know if a solution works for you, that's why we invest consciously to ensure high quality and open data from the needed sources, standardize and display it in the most operational way.

Within the Data Governance implementation we have defined the data that is useful for each business case or user depending on the business goals: reliability, availability, safety, energy efficiency, LCC reduction or passenger experience.


2. New customer’s habits, driven by the use of digital technologies, are pushing traditional railway companies to adapt their complete value chain and become digital companies. How has CAF adapted to this?

It is not a matter of being on the digital wave because it is imposed. Each company needs to define its own objectives in coherence to the strategic objectives of the company. Digital technologies are available to maximize the potential and are at the service to achieve the desired results.

That is why we dedicate great efforts to accompany the transformation process, guiding and defining KPI´s and offering end-to-end solutions. This change involves implementing new technologies and also breaking through cultural barriers. We put the focus on the digital transformation understood as the next function that we need to maximize: (People x Data x Technology)^Trust.

We rely on strong partners to optimize architectures over the public cloud, building the data lake with a Big Data as a Service approach and mainly in the sector knowledge of our railway experts team.


3. The lack of trust and expertise are some of the main reasons why some companies haven’t invested yet in digital predictive maintenance solutions. What examples can you give where Railways have invested in your solutions to achieve their goals?

We are quite transparent with our proposals. We offer a product and service that fulfills the most cybersecurity demanding requirements. We understand the needs of railway stakeholders as we have been maintaining trains for 50 years and understand the operator’s needs.

Some of our clients have decreased their penalties reducing service affecting failures and they have all benefited from task automation (downloading logs and the complete MVB BUS at their frequency, sending train unit mileage to CMMS or opening working orders directly in the CMMS without human intervention).

They have also benefited from the reduction of energy consumption aided by monitoring every information that may influence the best performance: driver, service, catenary, traction and hvac system, etc…

They have reduced their maintenance costs in different levels depending on their actual baseline. Hours dedicated to diagnosis decrease dramatically as they have every information they need in a few clicks of a mouse button. We have increased up to 35 %  the wheel life expectancy by acting with the right data treated correctly.

We do have expert knowledge of different types of trains, assets, working in different environmental conditions with different digital already existing environments that we know how to integrate with our solution (as it is the case with many CMMS solutions).


4. IoT is becoming significantly important in the rail industries steps to move forward into the digital evolution. How is CAF contributing to this?

With the most advanced IoT technology and the integration of different systems and data sources available in the mobility ecosystem, LeadMind integrates the data into its advanced analytics platform. Working the data efficiently, providing a cutting-edge and scalable platform, with autonomy and more control capacity.

Leadmind platform offers many benefits such as condition-based maintenance, improved diagnosis and real-time fleet management, all these contributing to minimize breakdowns and its impact. Thus, it is able to provide a new generation of more competitive services throughout its value chain, both for operators and maintainers of the mobility ecosystem.