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UAE well placed to use tech to keep trains running

Digital tech robotics and analysis can extend the life-cycle of railways, expert says

Gulf News


The UAE is well positioned to take advantage of the latest technologies to extend the life cycle of its trains, a South African expert said on Tuesday.

Galetlolwe Semeneya, a railway research specialist, said the country’s knowledge economy and use of latest technologies would allow it to use asset management techniques developing during the Fourth Industrial Revolution — the term given to the fusion of the digital and physical world.

“Some countries are not where Dubai is right now, or the likes of countries that are a little bit ahead in terms of the Internet of Things,” she said during a seminar an rail asset management at the Middle East Rail Conference at Dubai World Trade Centre.

“When we talk about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it might be a little bit futuristic. But in [places] like Dubai it becomes feasible.”

Semenya said operational models had a huge impact on asset management systems designed to extend the life of rail assets, such as trains, tracks and stations.

Investment in automation and digital infrastructure, such as robotics and data analysis, also impacted what could be achieved.

“It is all about optimisation,” she added.

Discussion host Khaled El Akutri, Leader of Engineering Asset Management Discipline at the University of Wollongong in Dubai, highlighted another factor impacting asset management.

“It’s about making value to the organisation,” he said. “It’s not just the financial view of looking for profit every year. We are looking to optimisation, but we are looking to the future.

“Engineers look at the estimation of what happens in the future. Financial people look for profits made every year, and there’s a conflict there. They don’t always give us the budget for the maintenance and so on.”