Industrial giant General Electric Co. is flexing its muscle as a growing provider of supply chain technology, landing a five-year contract to run the digital management systems for 250 Deutsche Bahn locomotives, the company said Wednesday.
Worth tens of millions of dollars, the contract covers Germany, France, Britain, and Poland, GE said in a blog post. Although it's outside the U.S. rail freight market, the deal marks a competitive win over rival engineering firm Siemens and serves as a proof of concept for GE's recent investments in supply chain technology.
During 2016, GE made a number of moves to beef up its ability to apply digital technology to traditional industrial operations, acquiring the cloud-based, rail shipment reporting company ShipXpress Inc. and the Canadian rail communications products provider Iders Inc.
Later in 2016, the firm began to apply those new technologies in a deal with the Port of Los Angeles to test a port information pOréal that can securely share maritime shipping data between cargo owners and supply chain operators.
The new deal with DG Cargo AG (Deutsche Bahn) marks GE Transportation's first-ever European digital contract, planting a milestone in the company's efforts to create self-aware locomotives and digitize the entire rail operation value chain, and also marking the first time non-GE locomotives have been equipped with GE digital solutions, according to GE.
"The digital industrial future is here and the need to turn information into insights and insights into outcomes has never been more important to our customers. With this performance-based contract for remote monitoring and diagnostics of non-GE locomotives, we are completely changing the business model," GE Transportation CEO Jamie Miller said in a release. "We are committed to helping engineers and rail operators, like DB Cargo, make the most of their assets by delivering game-changing productivity and efficiency gains."
In the DB Cargo application, GE's Asset Performance Management application is built on its Predix Industrial Internet platform, allowing clients to monitor the health of locomotives by reading wireless sensors such as water gauges in the cooling system and thermometers in the brakes. Each train collects data from those sensors and transmits it to the cloud, where GE software analyzes it, allowing engineers to interpret these results and predict future malfunctions, avoiding expensive delays in cargo and passenger services.