RAILWAY AGE at RAILWAY INTERCHANGE 2019: Wabtec Corp. announced two new offerings aimed at modernizing locomotive fleets at Railway Interchange 2019: An engine upgrade package, FDL Advantage, for its FDL locomotive platform as well as a complete control system replacement, The Modular Control Architecture - Fleet Migration (MCA FM).
In addition to “addressing industry imperatives for improved fuel efficiency and reliability, these solutions introduce next-generation data and software capabilities to position railroads for the future of transportation,” Wabtec noted.
“Our vision is to be a partner of choice for our customer for the entire lifecycle of the locomotive,” Pascal Schweitzer, Group President, Freight Global Services at Wabtec Corporation, told Railway Age at Railway Interchange. “And the more we dig into the life cycle of the locomotive and how the asset is aging, the more we realize how important it is for us to be proactive and to introduce new [technology].”
First, in an effort to maximize asset life cycle value and reduce total cost of ownership for customers, Wabtec developed FDL Advantage—what is aimed at being a fuel-saving engine upgrade package. It serves as an upgrade to the existing FDL engine (developed by GE Transportation, which Wabtec acquired in 2018) that looks to provide significant fuel savings at the Tier 1+ emission level.
“[FDL] was a chance to get significant fuel benefits, so we can get around 5% depending on [certain factors],” Schweitzer told Railway Age. “We think it’s a very exciting solution, especially when you look at the age pyramid of the engines and when these engines are due for overhaul. We hope that this solution will be very beneficial for our customers.”
FDL Advantage features improved air handling and a high-pressure common-rail fuel system, which offers improved injection control. These updates allow for improved tuning of the engine. In addition, other design elements have been incorporated for what Wabtec hopes will improve reliability. The FDL engine (a four-stroke diesel) has been in production since the 1950s, and operates in heavy-haul applications throughout the world, Wabtec said.
MCA FM “is a next-generation controls technology that is applicable throughout Wabtec’s locomotive installed base,” the company said. “It provides a plug-and-play solution that leverages a common software foundation and is compatible with GoLINC™ hardware, Wabtec’s advanced onboard computing platform. This approach allows for streamlined fleet migration and facilitates a faster implementation speed for Wabtec customers through industry standard communication protocols. The technology also improves reliability and diagnostic capabilities through better access to data.”
“We are targeting up to a 50% reliability increase as well as adding a large number of diagnostic capabilities,” Schweitzer told Railway Age. “Our customers will be able to get more value throughout the life cycle. Whatever is helping our customers run more efficient operations and be more profitable is a win-win. This is really the entire target of this strategy.”
Wabtec said that its modernization program updates aging locomotives—some more than 20 years old—with customized solutions that range from simple changes, including control system upgrades, to complex restorations, such as the comprehensive transformation of an older DC-traction locomotive into an AC locomotive outfitted with state-of-the-art digital technology.
“All of our product strategies start with the customer,” General Manager, Product Management, Freight Global Services Sameer Gaur told Railway Age. “If you look at fuel, that’s a key spend for our customers; for us to provide value there is important.”