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LCC und RAMS as technological and economic success factors

Customer benefit of heat treated rail steels

The R&D focus of voestalpine Schienen has always been on the advancement of high-quality rail steels; and, for more than twenty years now, this has been accomplished by means of the professional application of RAMS (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, Safety) and LCC (Life-Cycle Cost) strategies.

To make a differentiation: A RAMS analysis provides key data which describe the operational behavior of the entire system and its components. While RAMS deals primarily with technological and organizational elements, the analysis of the life-cycle costs sheds light on the actual economic efficiency.

In doing so, what’s sought after is not the cheapest but the most cost-effective product in terms of its life span.

Fundamental LCC optimization factors include:

  1. With an extension of the life span, the replacement – that is the necessity of a capital-intensive new investment – can be correspondingly shifted to a later date
  2. Maintenance costs – already the largest pool of costs for track operators – can be significantly diminished by new maintenance regimes that are adjusted to the increased product quality (e.g. fewer grinding cycles)
  3. The improved operational availability of the track (resulting from shorter downtimes and extended maintenance intervals) takes account of the general requirement of network capacity increase.