German braking systems manufacturer Knorr-Bremse has secured a long-term contract from Siemens Mobility to enable the remote condition monitoring of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

These solutions will be deployed onboard 172 trains that will be manufactured and maintained by Siemens Mobility for UK-based operator South Western Railway.

The modernisation of the HVAC systems started this year and is expected to be finished in the first quarter of 2022.

The new capability will then be launched in spring next year.

Knorr-Bremse executive board member and responsible for the rail vehicle systems division Dr Jürgen Wilder said: “The rail industry has huge untapped potential for digitalisation due to factors such as high security standards, substantial investment requirements, and the need to become even more efficient.

“Against this backdrop, we are systematically continuing to develop Knorr-Bremse into a digital systems supplier, and to expand our portfolio of remote condition monitoring solutions.”

With its digital remote condition monitoring solution, Knorr-Bremse is upgrading around 733 HVAC systems onboard 172 trains, including 127 four-car Class 450 regional trains and 45 five-car Class 444.

The modernisation project is expected to improve Siemens Mobility’s condition based maintenance (CBM) competence.

Knorr-Bremse’s international subsidiary for climate control technologies for trains, manufactured the original HVAC systems.

The remodel will help gather huge operating data that will later be evaluated by Knorr-Bremse through the cloud.

Through this initiative, Knorr-Bremse aims to back decarbonisation agenda, cut down the trains’ energy usage as, well as improve fleet maintenance.

Last month, Knorr-Bremse announced that it is working on the development of the first prototypes of Digital Automatic Coupler for freight trains.