Long gone are the days when projects could be budgeted and approved based on upfront costs alone.
It is now standard practice to build the budget for any project on a “whole life cost” basis – considering the total cost of ownership over the life of an asset.
PACE Networks believe that considering Whole Life Cost alone is not the complete picture – the rail electrification and power grid industries should consider the “whole life value” of the assets chosen to build future generation networks.
Well, the value equation includes all of the criteria commonly applied to whole life cost calculations (procurement costs, installation labour, lifespan, maintenance etc.) and in addition considers the impact of more qualitative features, such as designs to improve health and safety, public image, sustainability and the availability of the network.
To aid its customers, PACE Networks has created a whole life cost and value model. It overlays the numerical elements already factored into whole life cost calculations, with the influences that should be taken into account for delivering system value. This framework model is a visual reference to bring relevant aspects into focus during product approval and project selection processes.
Arguably the most important aspect of PACE’s whole life value model is that of safety, both in terms of the engineers working on the networks, and the day to day users of the railway and power grid. Putting a cost on a life is difficult, verging on impossible. But even if you do, what about the political fallout? Safety incidents have not only tragic implications for the health of the people involved but implications too for the health of the industry. Products that are designed to improve safety should be considered for these merits over and beyond the traditional whole life cost parameters.
Product design elements that can improve reliability and offer faster installation are often included in a whole life cost analysis, based on the cost of potential delays.
But how often is the associated impact to the industry regarding customer and political relations considered? Due to the explosion of social media and mobile internet devices, news has never travelled so fast. Each and every time that delays or power cuts are caused by failed equipment in the field or a scheduled possession overrunning, negativity is quickly spread about the industry. Likewise, when projects overrun and budgets are exceeded, questions are asked about how taxpayers’ money is being spent.
PACE Networks regularly meet with rail and power operators, contractors and maintainers, and take their feedback to the manufacturers, in order to develop products to meet requirements and drive whole life value for the industry. Viewing the market from both the manufacturers and the end users’ perspectives puts PACE into a position to work in a collaborative manner and makes it a valuable player in the Rail Electrification and Power Grid arenas.
|Whole Life Cost & Value Case Study|
|Omnia cantilevers are the perfect example of a product that delivers both on the whole life cost and value fronts. The product was designed from the outset to be lightweight and simple to use. When compared to traditional steel cantilevers, it delivers a product weight saving of around 40%, a decrease in component count from 12 to 5, and a reduction in the number of nuts to be tightened from 30 to 6.|
|Whole Life Cost & Value Report|
Consequently, Omnia provides significant improvements in safety – the lightweight aluminium material means safer working during installation and maintenance, and will cause less potential damage in the event of an incident.
The simplicity of installation means less time spent working at height and reduced likelihood of mistakes being made trackside, thus improving the safety and reliability of the network. The speed of installation and maintenance work improves availability of the network, allowing installers and maintainers to maximise (and potentially reduce) possessions.
This provides whole life cost benefits, and also delivers value by contributing to the public image of the industry through reduced disruption to timetables.Discover more about OMNIA