I find it quite fascinating that given the importance of rail infrastructure to economic growth, that over the last twenty years that I’ve spent in the industry, the level of innovation has been quite limited.
Strukton and Willow share a common vision in the sense that we both have innovation in our companies’ DNA and we both want to use technology to change the game in rail. We both know that technology is going to disrupt the industry, and we want to be the ones leading the charge.
When I saw that Strukton had invested in technology that drove predictive maintenance outcomes for rail networks, I thought about the work that Willow had been doing in the vertical environment – work that was centred around liberating data into a fast, easy to use platform that gave insights to our customers. Putting two and two together I thought “If I can bring our software together with Strukton’s depth of rail network and engineering expertise, we could come up with something that changes the game in terms of how rail assets are operated.”
Willow Rail is the product of the new partnership between Willow and Europe’s leading rail asset management and maintenance organisation, Strukton Rail.
Today, dozens of different, non-integrated tools are used to manage major networks, meaning critical decisions are made based on incomplete information and without guidance.
The ability to locate maintenance issues through data capture, analysis, and engineering, in order to avoid major network disruptions is significant, as even the smallest interruption can have serious social and financial implications.
Our new partnership has developed its first product, the Willow Rail Digital Twin: an open ecosystem that integrates once disparate tools into a single, intuitive platform.
Launched at Innotrans in Berlin, the product is built around Strukton’s extensive knowledge of the arteries of a network – the tracks. We’ve extracted that knowledge and data from dozens of systems, into an easy to use platform.
The new, first-in-industry platform unlocks new ways for operators and owners to engage with their networks, enabling a live and real-time view across all key operational elements. In-house data and tools converge to create a single, seamless experience where all assets become elements of one dynamic, integrated network.
Although pioneering, this partnership goes far deeper than just the work we’re producing. This relationship is built upon a level of trust that I had developed in my previous role and has now been cultivated even further. Both companies believe that a relationship is more than just the sum of its parts.
We are confident that Willow Rail will help rail operators to achieve unprecedented levels of up-time and reduce the costs of maintenance significantly. As a result, regional passengers and producers get access to cheaper services with a higher capacity.
To discover more about the capabilities of Willow Rail, head to willowrail.com
Gerard Francis is the Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of Willow.