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Plasser & Theurer’s pioneering work is shaping the digitalisation of railways

Plasser & Theurer is actively involved in the EuProGigant project alongside other industrial companies, universities, and software companies from Austria and Germany

Plasser & Theurer’s pioneering work is shaping the digitalisation of railways

The aim of this research project is to efficiently generate large amounts of data, to store it safely, and to analyse it in a useful manner with the use of GAIA-X, the European cloud infrastructure. This will lead to the development of a digitally networked production ecosystem that is location independent.

The lead project for GAIA-X, the planned European IT infrastructure, is called EuProGigant. It focuses on the production environment. During the kick-off event in Vienna and Berlin, all 16 high-level project partners from Germany and Austria met for the first time on 24 June, with the aim of outlining their plans for research and technology transfer with GAIA-X. Plasser & Theurer is on board with two application scenarios: big data in manufacturing and the potential for non-stop data recording and transfer by on-track machines.

Big data in production and on the track

Plasser & Theurer is researching big data processing using GAIA at its factory in Linz. The focus is on CNC manufacturing as part of producing modern tamping units. At the same time, the company’s Technology Centre is conducting tests with science and industry partners using the EM100VT, a track inspection vehicle used for testing. As a result, sensor data – such as track geometry data – will be fed in via the mobile network during work. In the future, it will be input into the GAIA-X infrastructure via Wi-Fi. This infrastructure provides customers and partners with quick, efficient, and secure data access. The data will have stamps indicating time and location.

The path towards Industry 4.0 operations

Today’s railway industry is undergoing a fundamental technological transition. There is also the challenge of “having our machines deliver even greater output in an even more precise manner with increasingly tight time constraints,” says Dr. Florian Auer, Director of Technology and Innovation at Plasser & Theurer. “Our machines have to be able to take measurements while working, operate like robots, and have artificial intelligence.” For that reason, the objective is to put the data acquired during production and operations to use. The knowledge gained as a result will benefit the 109 markets in which Plasser & Theurer is active and will make business processes more efficient.

Lead project for GAIA-X and Industry 4.0

EuProGigant aims to highlight the potential for big-data applications in European industry while maintaining the highest data security. The project will last four years and have a budget of 8.5 million euros. EuProGigant is a lead project for GAIA-X, the European cloud infrastructure, which aims to reap the benefits of the data-based Industry 4.0 without compromising the security of the stored data.

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