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DTD SYSTEM Report Summary

Project ID: 728782

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DTD SYSTEM (A disruptive innovation for the minimisation of railway maintenance costs)

Reporting period: 2016-06-01 to 2016-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

European rail infrastructure managers spend yearly over €869 Million (from public funds) in repairing railway track damages caused by the poor conditions of train wheels. The existence of wheel defects implies however other significant costs, such as those associated with delays caused by incidents (over €1Million per year only in UK) and the important economic, material and potential human losses due to derailments (only those involving dangerous goods cost the EU27 Member States over €200 Million per year). On the other hand, train operating companies in Europe invest around €2.194 million per year on rolling stock inspection, maintenance and renewal operations.

Developing smart equipment, infrastructures and services, focused on solutions for the efficient, use and management of railway infrastructures, as well as on autonomous and efficient maintenance, monitoring and inspection systems to minimise maintenance needs of rolling stock are key priorities for railway industry worldwide.

Hence, DTD system project will implement a disruptive technological solution that will enable the efficient planning of complex maintenance tasks related to both rail infrastructure and rolling stock, based on the registration and advanced processing of wheel condition information. It will enable to lower maintenance needs by at least 18% in both current and new infrastructure to be developed to cope with expected railway traffic increase, improve the quality and safety of the railway service while minimising the occurrence of derailments.

Our overall objective with the present project was to explore the business opportunity of introducing the innovative DTD wheel condition monitoring system in the rail transport market. DTD system has been readily technically and operationally validated (TRL6) in the framework of a previous R&D project. However, in order to achieve our overall objective, we needed to assess in Phase 1 the economic viability of commercialising DTD system in the rail transport market through an innovative business model that enables us to position in the market, becoming the lead of remote wheelset condition monitoring provider in Europe.

As a result of the economic feasibility analysis of our business innovation carried out in Phase 1, the economic viability of our business intentions has been confirmed. Our main conclusion is that this project shall definitely continue, as we think DTD SYSTEM is a game-changing technology with an enormous commercial potential.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

On DTD SYSTEM Phase 1 proposal, we considered several scenarios as a result of the combination of many undefined aspects of our business model.
Thanks to the work carried out in this feasibility study, we can say that we have successfully changed our whole business concept towards a more innovative one, creating a very powerful competitor differentiation. In line with these changes, we have taken important decisions about our relationship with future suppliers and the extent of services we will provide to our clients together with market validation of our business vision.

We have performed the following activities in order to reach the results that have permitted to confirm our business idea:

> An in depth market study has been carried out, performing a new quantification and segmentation of each potential market. As a result, we have identified more interesting potential clients to focus our initial commercial strategy on.

> We have contacted with hardware suppliers in order to ensure we could provide DTD SYSTEM independently on where it is demanded. Many important companies have shown their interest in becoming suppliers of DTD SYSTEM hardware, and also we set out a first approach to the terms and conditions of the subcontract agreements we will reach.

>We have ensured future sales by validating market acceptance: we have confirmed the interest of important railway infrastructure managers in Europe and train operating companies to become clients of DTD SYSTEM. Very valuable information to define DTD SYSTEM features, and also very important aspects of our business model has been obtained from direct contact key stakeholders. We have also established strategic alliances with some of them ensuring a quick market deployment through the development of a pilot or demonstration elements in Phase 2 project.

> We have defined the best intellectual property strategy to safeguard our competitive advantage, being advised by a business innovation expert.

> We have defined a completely new business plan based on results of the comprehensive market research and the financial plan carried out, estimating and analysing for the different business strategies the key aspects of sales forecast and cost structure. As a result, we have clearly identified the activities and support that will be necessary to successfully develop our business further.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The most advanced systems to monitor the conditions of the train wheels to prevent and/or minimise the damage produced to the railway track are those based on the measurement and evaluation of the rail-wheel impact load (WID or Wheel Impact Detectors). However, current WID systems have important limitations. Although these systems are capable of identifying problems with wheel tread profile, they cannot accurately anticipate the occurrence of the failure, or indicate the rolling stock maintenance managers which maintenance operations must be performed and when it is the optimum moment. In fact, infrastructure managers that have current WID systems installed agree that these systems are obsolete and in need of replacement since they are also difficult and expensive to maintain.

At AMINSA, as Engineering Consulting firm specialised in the Railway sector, we reacted to the fact that the European railway industry is already trying to move from an “observe and react” approach to failures to a pro-active “predict and prevent” approach.

DTD SYSTEM enables to detect with high precision wheel defects at the onset of deterioration, using this information to design a predictive maintenance plan, resulting in important savings to the rail transport industry of at least 20% for railway infrastructure managers and 18% for rolling stock managers. These are significant superior to best performance of current WID systems in the market that only enable maintenance cost reductions of around 5% for railway infrastructure managers and 7% for rolling stock managers. Our technology will also lead to improve the quality and safety of railway operations.

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