Graham Herries, Director of Digital Technologies at the UK’s largest construction group Laing O'Rourke, talked about using Digital Twins on his company's railway lines at the Internet of Manufacturing in London. The West Coast Main Line in particular, one of the country’s most important connections, is currently being optimized and reworked using digital images.
Every train in the line has to be serviced every 20,000 miles, has to be at a certain location at the end of each day, and should be able to run as punctually as possible according to the timetable. A human operator needs about three hours a day and per train to complete this logistical task, and can plan only one day ahead at a time. Laing O’Rourke has therefore created a digital twin of the rail line and provided a heuristic maintenance algorithm. In addition, the calculations were outsourced to the Microsoft Cloud Azure . Since then, planning has taken only 19 seconds, plus 30 minutes to check the results by a human employee. According to Herries, it is now also possible to plan up to 23 days in advance. Other advantages include more frequent maintenance intervals, more consistent utilization of available trains, lower maintenance costs, and more reliable connections.