Innovation on the Rails
Progress Rail keeps the world rolling with solutions that increase
efficiency, improve safety and reduce emissions.
For more than two centuries, rail has been one of the most effective ways of moving goods and people. While many aspects of rail technology remain the same as in the 19th century, today’s railroads are deploying advanced technologies to elevate performance to new standards and capabilities while reducing their environmental footprint.
Progress Rail is at the forefront of railroad innovation, keeping the world rolling with solutions that increase efficiency, improve safety and reduce emissions. This Caterpillar subsidiary helps its customers by creating smart, connected fleets that gather and analyze data collected by locomotives and other rail equipment—meeting the needs of tomorrow’s railroads. Here are just a few of the ways Progress Rail is capturing the power of advanced technology to deliver world-class solutions for customers.
Locomotive reliability is a must-have for rail operators. When unexpected downtime occurs, it can destabilize operations, wasting precious time and money. That’s why Progress Rail created PR Uptime™, a next-generation analytics platform for monitoring locomotives and fleets. The cloud-based portal monitors locomotive faults and operating parameters in real-time, providing diagnostics, prognostics and repair recommendations to prevent disruptive faults from occurring. Rail operators conveniently track the status of a single locomotive or an entire fleet—all from their mobile devices. During a recent pilot of PR Uptime, one organization saved 1,500 labor hours and increased their average time between maintenance by 34%. They also avoided 173 road failures on 178 units over an eight-month period.
PowerView™ Asset Protection
When a safety incident occurs, it is important to understand the cause of failure to keep it from happening again. The Progress Rail PowerView™ Locomotive Event Recorder is a state-of-the art locomotive data aggregator and processor that acts like a “black box” incident recorder, enabling railroad teams to access the information needed for safe and efficient operations. Other asset protection technologies, such as the PowerView HBD system, monitors and identifies problems with rolling stock and other critical asset components. Innovations like these allow locomotives to be fully integrated with the technology they need to operate at peak performance.
TALOS™ Train Automation
The TALOS™ system is at the heart of Progress Rail’s Automated Train Operation (ATO) solution. It controls a train’s throttle and automatic braking, allowing trains to operate more smoothly and efficiently. Automated handling improves safety by reducing risk of derailment, allowing engineers to focus on more complex safety tasks. The TALOS system also leverages machine learning and massive computing power to analyze and optimize train routes, saving time and fuel.
For full optimization, TALOS integrates with SmartConsist, allowing better control of locomotives. The EMD® Automatic Engine Start/Stop solution (AESS™) monitors critical operating parameters during locomotive idle operation and safely and effectively shuts down the engine once all factors are satisfied.
Progress Rail is committed to developing advanced rail technologies, including battery power for switcher locomotives and drop-in locomotive starting batteries. The new Locomotive Lithium-Ion Starting Battery solution saves fuel, enhances safety and delivers reliable starting capabilities compared to traditional batteries. A single li-ion starting battery replaces two lead-acid batteries on a locomotive. This enables the second available battery box to power other electronics, HVAC in the locomotive cab, air compressor or auxiliary loads—all while the engine is shut down. The locomotive li-ion batteries solve known railroad engine starting issues due to cold weather and low voltage. These batteries save fuel, reduce engine restarts and increase locomotive reliability.
Vale, a global mining company based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and a Progress Rail customer, has ambitious goals for reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To help them meet those goals, the customer enlisted the help of Progress Rail’s engineering teams in Brazil and the U.S., who collaborated with Vale to help deliver a switcher solution with superior power and charging capabilities.
The result is the EMD® Joule locomotive, a zero-emission, zero-idle and low noise battery-powered switcher locomotive. The EMD Joule uses the latest smart li-ion battery technology and offers reliable performance for instant start within yard applications.
Vale piloted the EMD Joule with Progress Rail in 2020, with full service anticipated in support of operations in its Tubarão yard. Later in the year, Progress Rail signed an agreement with Pacific Harbor Line (PHL) to supply the EMD Joule for a demonstration project operating in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, where it will be tested in all types of service. Based on these pilots, Progress Rail expects the EMD Joule will be available to customers globally in 2021.