We revive Rail Transport

Designing rail transport with Fraunhofer IML

Questions and Challenges

Switching the traffic from road to railway (rail transport) is a much discussed subject. The future developments regarding traffic volume (congestion), energy consumption and CO2 emissions will increase the demand for traffic switching to railway. Many industries depend on rail transport, but they ask for further process optimisations. The liberalisation of rail transport offers the potential to establish new concepts due to railway transport companies newly operating on the market. For many companies that want to change their transport processes, the access to rail transport with its complex processes (compared to road transport) is not always entirely transparent.

Our Range of Service

Rail Transport Concepts

Based on an analysis of your current transport requirements,current processes of transport planning/operation as well as technical and organisational conditions, we create the appropriate transport concept for you by using rail transport. This relates both to industrial railway transport as well as to regular transport and their linking for example within regional networks.
As a basis for your concept, we analyse and optimise planning and control methods, transport volume, frequency and routes, transport and handling processes and applied technologies (rolling stock, IT support, handling technologies etc.)
We investigate the economic and qualitative effect that these concepts might have as well as the conditions and risks of a realisation in order to obtain a solid basis for making decisions.

Process Optimisation

Even within existing rail transport, certain processes are not ideal. The complexity of interaction of all parties involved and the numerous steps require a targeted analysis of existing processes: This helps identifying weak points and the redesigning of planning, monitoring and operating rail transports and handling processes.

Implementation of Rail Transport into Supply Chain Management Concepts
The industrial production is subject to the strict distribution of tasks between companies. The resulting complexity of planning and monitoring processes of various participants brought about more or less highly networked SCM systems. Planning and information processes of these systems are put into reality on a constant basis across all production stages and companies and result in efficient performance of production. But the transport sector so far is only partially integrated into this system. However, planning, controlling and production processes of rail transport are just as complex as that of goods production. Continuous planning and controlling of rail transport and goods production processes promise an overall optimisation of the use of resources. The entire production chain can respond flexibly and appropriately. Fraunhofer IML analyses the production and rail transport processes in their entirety. The interdisciplinary identification of weak points and unnecessary resources allows to develop an overall optimum of the entire process chain. Preconditions for the implementation and the effects that could be realised, are also being investigated.

Our Expertise

We analysed transport streams between plants for steel industry as well as procurement and distribution and were able to develop and evaluate rail transport concepts, for example for VALLOUREC&MANNESMANN Tubes or Salzgitter AG.

For energy providers, we developed supply concepts for power plants due to the increasing demand of coal import after the withdrawal of hard coal mining.

We analysed current rail based inter-plant transport for Volkswagen Logistik and identified possibilities to offer them in competitive tendering.

Within research projects, like FlexCargoRail or RailCab, we analyse the implementation and migration capacities of innovations into existent transport environments and create an economic analysis for the use of new technologies. These analyses are based on practice based transport scenarios by integrating an innovation and the comparison to a neutral variant.

For NordWestBahn, we analysed and optimised processes of the operations control center and staff coordination. The successful and rapid growth of NordWestBahn required an adjustment in the division of the work, the technical equipment and processes. Through a holistic approach, all corresponding processes have been examined and adjusted according to its technical possibilities (IT support) and the business´ constant growth. Exact employee requirements have also been taken into consideration.