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Scomi Revolutionises Rail System Design To Meet Global Demand

Global urban transit technology provider aims for revolutionary improvement in its rail system design management in move to support worldwide demand for monorail systems.

Scomi Engineering Bhd (“Scomi Engineering” or “Company”) is one of three leading integrated monorail system providers in the world. It is a fully owned subsidiary of Scomi Group Bhd (listed on Bursa Malaysia, the Malaysian Stock Exchange since 2003).

The KL Monorail in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is its first monorail system and subsequently Scomi Engineering had secured monorail projects in Mumbai, India and Sao Paulo and Manaus, Brazil as well as the expansion of the current KL Monorail. 

Scomi Engineering offers full-fledged, integrated rail solutions from design, build, integration, commissioning and operations and maintenance with a growing presence in India, Brazil and the ASEAN region.  In India, Scomi Engineering together with its Indian partner, Larsen & Toubro, has provided the complete monorail system from design to currently operating and maintaining the 1st monorail in India.

Scomi Revolutionises Rail System Design To Meet Global Demand (2)

Global Need for Public Urban Transportation
According to Kanesan Velupillai, Chief Executive Officer of Scomi Engineering Bhd, the company is right in the middle of a revolutionary period in public transportation as 60 per cent of the global population (4.9 billion people) will live in cities and towns over the next 25 years.

Against this backdrop of rapid growth in urbanisation and to keep pace with this global phenomenon, efficient, sustainable and comfortable modes of public transport is required.  Contributing to this rapid transit solution landscape is the monorail.  This is Scomi’s expertise and the Company is poised to increase its market share globally.

“We are also experiencing a commercial trend where the time to market is becoming shorter while individual projects are becoming more complex than ever,” says Kanesan.

He adds that the monorail system is a highly integrated product that has to be specially designed to cater for route alignment of the monorail and to facilitate the optimum flow of passengers.

“This makes each monorail system design very unique – thus requiring the provider to constantly have a solution that manages each design and its related complexities.”

To address this, Scomi Engineering opted for Hitachi Sunway to implement a Product Design Management (PDM) solution that integrates monorail components in a design engineering process that brings together product designs from all sites under a single platform.

“In short, this software acts as a technology tool that augments Scomi Engineering’s ability to deliver monorail systems and services to customers on time, and according to quality requirements,” explains Kanesan.

With the launch of India’s first monorail system in Mumbai, it marks Scomi Engineering’s inroad into the transportation industry of the second largest economy in the world.

Engineering Challenges in Managing Monorail Train Design
Kanesan acknowledges that prior to the adoption of this PDM solution, Scomi Engineering’s monorail system design data were scattered in different silos.

“Sometimes, it took up to 3 to 4 hours to retrieve the required information. As a result, we faced difficulties in managing design reuse for new projects in other countries. Manual Bill of Materials (BOM) management with spreadsheets also often led to errors in requirements and hence material wastage.”

But since the PDM implementation in 2011, the company has dramatically shortened the time required on train production’s BOM management by 90 per cent, and design data re-use rate by at least 20 per cent.

“One of the big benefits of PDM is that it helps remove the typical barriers we have between the product designers and manufacturing engineers. Manufacturing engineers are now exposed to product data more frequently during product development, and can immediately start to plan the production process,” explains Kanesan.

In addition, with the product intellectual property stored under a centralised repository on a PDM platform, product knowledge can be shared amongst engineers. This has subsequently help reduce the design development cycle time by 50 per cent.

Scomi Revolutionises Rail System Design To Meet Global Demand (3)

Continual Improvements on Train Design Processes 
Cheah Kok Hoong, Group CEO / Director of Hitachi Sunway Information Systems, shares the company’s involvement in the PDM solution saying, “Our deployment at Scomi Engineering is our first PDM project in the transportation industry.”

“This indeed exemplifies the company’s solution objective for the automotive, transformation, oil and gas, and manufacturing industries in SEA - by providing truly differencing engineering and product lifecycle management solutions.”

He adds that the successful implementation of the PDM solution in Scomi Engineering within four months proves that they are an ICT partner that can deliver businesses valuable end-to-end technology solutions and services.

Kanesan adds, “We were impressed with the commitment of Hitachi Sunway as an implementation partner working towards improving our system design processes. The openness of the PDM Software also enabled Scomi Engineering to create seamless integrations between design data management and other commercial and legacy systems that we already have in our engineering IT landscape.”

While leveraging on the opportunities in the global surge for mass urban transportation, Scomi Engineering is also looking into leveraging on PDM solutions for its Research & Development (R&D) arena.

“This is to particularly support the development of our next generation monorail under our SUTRA (Scomi Urban Transit Rail Application) series.  It is the latest monorail system offering to the world; one which provides for better capacity, ergonomics and public safety,” states Kanesan with pride.

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