Photo credit (banner): Laurent Mayeux

Maintenance facility of the future

At SNCF, we’re taking train maintenance to a whole new level. Learn more about the Industry 4.0 technology used in Hellemmes Technicentre’s Atelier 57 workshop.

Published on

Our biggest train repair centre

Atelier 57, our Industry 4.0 workshop, has all the latest technology for upgrading and modernizing trains.

The Alliance for the Industry of the Future has presented 2 Hellemmes projects with its Vitrine Industrie du Futur (Showcase for the Industry of the Future) label. This award recognizes companies that improve their industrial operations by developing innovative technological solutions with practical applications.

Take a tour of Atelier 57.

Atelier 57 d'Hellemmes, ce qui change pour la production

Troubleshooting made easier with smart glasses

At the Hellemmes facility, operators wear smart glasses for maintenance tasks, enabling off-site experts to guide them remotely, in real time, and help resolve complex, non-routine problems. The payoff was immediate: problems are now easier to find and fix.

Optimizing work flow with automated guided vehicles

In the past, we used indoor tracks to move rolling stock around the maintenance facility. No more. Today our technicians use automated guided vehicle (AGV) systems to position decoupled coaches and coach components in the workshop. These revolutionary movers travel on modular surfaces in a space where load-bearing pillars—potential obstacles—are kept to a minimum.

A l'atelier 57 de Hellemmes, les trains circulent sans rail

Sanding with robots

Atelier 57 is also home to a robotic sanding booth, as well as other high-tech booths used to finish the surfaces of our trains.

Inspecting rolling stock with drones

Atelier 57 is ultra-compact—only half the size of the buildings it replaced—and has a usable height of 12.5 metres, leaving plenty of room to inspect TGV roofs with drones.

Manual inspections (and construction of the temporary catwalks needed to carry them out) are now a thing of the past. That has made a big difference:

  • maintenance work is less gruelling
  • workers are more efficient. Drone pilots can inspect 4-5 coaches a day, a sharp increase over 1 per day under the old system
  • data gathered by drones is more reliable

How data simplifies maintenance

In addition to drones, smart devices and other new technologies, we’re using new data-gathering systems to assess the condition of both trains and track. Aim: Replace corrective maintenance with predictive maintenance, so we can detect the early warning signs of a malfunction.

Data-driven innovations include:

  • LIDAR, a laser-based remote sensing system that can scan any type of infrastructure—from track to bridges to vegetation—and create a 3D map that is accurate to within a few millimetres. Aim: create a “digital twin” of the French rail network, a model that allows us to detect variations and simplify maintenance.
  • the Vibrato smartphone app, used by SNCF train drivers to measure track vibrations in real time. Result: we can respond quickly when anomalies appear in the data.

Learn more about predictive maintenance

Drone, les données en temps réel pour une maintenance plus agile

Where innovation meets sustainability

We simplified design and construction of Atelier 57 by using building information modelling (BIM) technology at every stage of the process. Digital technology also improves technical supervision by opening doors remotely and preheating machines on a programmed schedule.

Meanwhile, high-performance insulation cuts the building’s energy consumption and shrinks its carbon footprint.