NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) exists of several business units. They work intensively together to bring 1 million travellers to their destination and provide them with as much convenience and service as possible. By taking them to their destination on time, safely and in a clean train. But also by offering the possibility to park their bicycles, to rent a public transport bicycle and to offer interesting shopping options at the station.
NedTrain is the business unit of NS that is involved in maintaining trains. They have gradually built this up on Europe's busiest rail network. Thanks to this experience, their revision department can deliver train parts with better fault behavior and make maintenance schedules more efficient. This also allows them to deliver a product for the modernization of trains that can be used at lower costs. They do this with high-tech maintenance locations and well-trained and certified employees who work safely and are happy to think along with the customer.
The BMI project was set up to realize a "proof of concept" that helps make the transport process more robust. BMI is the method by which, among other things, an integral node plan is quickly created, shared and adjusted. A junction is a large station with set-up areas where the equipment is shunted, set up, checked, cleaned, washed and repaired. The working method of the plan depends on the available capacity of people, resources and infrastructure on the node (from platform tracks to staging area including personnel and resources to perform work).
Therefore it is important that the planning around a node is flexible and adjustable. It must be able to respond to disruptions and be able to adapt itself to the current situation.
The BMI performance requirements and complexity are increasing at a rapid pace, which means that good technological support within this project is of great importance. For that reason, West IT Solutions is contracted to advise on, and build at the development of a software tool that supports the planners (for shunting and maintenance tasks) in this process.
The planning method is based on research carried out by NS in collaboration with various universities, after which various Bachelor students were engaged to work on the graphic interface. The planning experts from West focus primarily on the underlying planning algorithm, project management and substantive advice.
Bob Huisman, Manager Maintenance Research & Development at NS about the over de collaboration with West IT Solutions in this project: “What makes working with the people of West pleasant is that they are well aware of the heuristic planning methods on which the algorithm is based.”