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Saar Rail Locomotives Are Undergoing Preventive Maintenance with OPRA from Voith

  • Comprehensive life-cycle management for rail vehicles
  • OPRA increases the availability and reliability of the vehicles
  • The OptiSys retrofit solution allows modernization of existing locomotives, for example with an automatic Start-Stop
Thanks to OPRA, Mike Schmidt, managing director of Saar Rail GmbH, now knows the condition and location of his locomotives at any time.
A prime example of digital, networked technology as envisioned in Industry 4.0, which makes systems or facilities more efficient: the OPRA Life Cycle Management system from Voith.

OPRA (=Optimized Proactive Life Cycle Approach) is currently being used by Saar Rail, a subsidiary of the Saarstahl Group, to optimize the deployment of two Gravita locomotives. OPRA means planned maintenance and overhauling instead of unexpected outages. "This system increases the availability of the locomotives. That is why we would also like to modernize our other 12 locomotives," in the words of Saar Rail's Managing Director, Mike Schmidt.

Digital Maintenance Reports
The web-based OPRA system not only stores all vehicle data, manufacturer certificates and approval notifications, but also maintenance plans. Maintenance reports are likewise incorporated digitally. "The German Federal Railway Authority requires that a transparent maintenance history be kept available. Thanks to its extremely simple handling, OPRA supports this requirement and has even more advantages for us," says railway operations manager Mike Schmidt, referring to the planned shutdowns of his locomotives according to the maintenance plans.

Better Planning of Assignments by Using Mobile Data Access
Since the Saar Rail locomotives have mobile data access, Mike Schmidt can plan the assignments of the locomotives on the 96-kilometer internal railway network of the Saarstahl Group optimally. "OPRA guarantees reliability, availability and the meeting of deadlines for me. And our customer Saarstahl profits from this," explains Schmidt. Because Saar Rail transports 11 million tons of steel every year in the production sites at Völklingen, Burbach and Neunkirchen. An additional 2.5 million tons are transported by Saar Rail on the German Federal Railway network and to large German seaports for shipment overseas.

More Efficient with the Start-Stop Function
Fourteen locomotives, 330 company-owned cars and 360 rented cars are responsible for transporting these loads. Two locomotives are already completely integrated into the OPRA system. "We would also like to modernize the other 12 with the technology necessary for OPRA," states Schmidt. He uses the real-time condition monitoring offered by OPRA every day. "This is how I watch the fuel consumption of the locomotives and I know the condition of the engine at the same time."

Schmidt first encountered OPRA when purchasing the two Voith Gravitas units in 2011. The system has been in use ever since and Mike Schmidt has regularly exchanged information with Voith. He learned from Voith's service consulting that he can also modernize his 12 older locomotives with OPRA and the OptiSys retrofit solution. "I originally only wanted an electronic tachograph and now have the option of also getting automatic Start-Stop installed in the locomotives along with this software." Schmidt sees this as a significant step in the direction of lower-consumption driving.

Voith Turbo, a Group Division of Voith GmbH, is the specialist for intelligent drive solutions and systems. Customers from highly diverse industries such as oil and gas, energy, mining and mechanical engineering, ship technology, rail and commercial vehicles rely on advanced technologies from Voith Turbo.

Voith sets the standards in the markets energy, oil & gas, paper, raw materials, and transportation & automotive. Founded in 1867, Voith employs more than 20,000 people, generates Euro 4.3 billion in sales, operates in over 60 countries around the world and is today one of the largest family-owned companies in Europe.

*Excluding the discontinued Voith Industrial Services Group Division.


Kathrin Röck

Global Business Partner Voith Hydro


t +49 7321 37-6866