BLOG New era of component maintenance at VR FleetCare
Writer: Wilhelm Schevelew, Head of Sales and Development, ModernCare and ComponentCare
When I joined VR FleetCare back in 2019, the discussion about sustainability centred around the aspect of keeping the existing fleet in operation. Take as an example the USSR-made Sr1 locomotives, which have been eating up the tracks in Finland since 1973; that’s nearly 50 years of service in extreme conditions and from a series of 112 units only three have had to be taken out of service. That is quite an achievement by any means, but sustainability just two years later means so much more. Allow me to explain.
We have been actively looking for ways to bring more value to our customers by extending the use of components until they are about to break. You read that right: not until the break but just before. Our experts have already gotten pretty good at it. This creates the positive problem that you end up with a lot of components that you know for sure will fail if you keep using them but are still otherwise in good shape. The continuous condition monitoring also provides a growing amount of information about the potential failure points that can be addressed with high definition in the service. We have experienced this trend first-hand and decided to strengthen the lines to meet the demand by restructuring the component production into its own business unit, which is led by Vice President, Component services Anders Karlsson.
The trend of sustainably is strongly visible also around us. We get increasing amounts of inquiries and leads to provide component services. Due to this continuous trend and cost competitiveness, we have decided to increase the importance of ComponentCare in our growth strategy. I see this from a sustainability point of view as a very welcome development as we are able to create lifetime cost savings for our customers by reconditioning components that otherwise would have simply been recycled for raw materials.
At this point you might be wondering is it sustainable to choose VR FleetCare as partner to begin with? The answer is most certainly yes. We have recently shown our commitment to sustainability by equipping our newest production and converting many of our old facilities to geothermal heating; the entire VR Group runs its operations with carbon neutral hydroelectricity and, as the cherry on the cake, we just finished the installation of one of the biggest solar power plants in Finland right on top of our ComponentCare production facility.
Today our ComponentCare team consists of 200 professionals that are experienced in servicing over 2000 different types of components. Our customers have learned to appreciate them because they keep their wheels turning, but also come to their aid when the unexpected happens. Only recently one of our customers was experiencing an epidemic of unexplainable fractures in a key component. Using our running time detection methodology, the cause could be quickly traced to the source and the cost accumulation was ceased. You can imagine the relief that the potentially fatal problem could be detected in time and even better solved in an ideal way by fixing the root cause not just the symptom.
We are ready and feel excited about the transition within the industry. The journey has just begun, but the winners of this trend are clear: firstly our customers in costs saved and secondly all the general public who will benefit from the more sustainable future.
Wilhelm Schevelew, Head of Sales and Development, ModernCare & ComponentCare