Siemens aims to improve train availability with deployment of Panasonic TOUGHBOOK

The rugged Panasonic TOUGHBOOK 2-in-1 detachable Windows PC drives efficiencies at Siemens UK train maintenance depots.

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Client: Siemens Mobility Ltd

Location: UK

Product(s) supplied: TOUGHBOOK 20 Detachable


A rugged mobile computing device for maintenance engineers to, connect to train systems, provide online access to Siemens' Management Maintenance System, and provide access to Vehicle Maintenance Instructions (VMI).


The rugged Panasonic TOUGHBOOK 20 detachable mobile PC due to its flexible design and ease of use.

"The Panasonic was favoured because of its 2-in-1 design, its ease of use and light weight, as well as the variety of ports available."

The Rolling Stock Business of Siemens Mobility Ltd has issued its 550 train maintenance engineers with rugged Panasonic TOUGHBOOK 20 detachable mobile computers at 11 train maintenance depots across the UK. The devices, which help the Siemens business take a major step towards a paperless work environment, will be used by engineers for train diagnostics, maintenance, employee communication and health and safety compliance. Siemens believes the additional data and timely information captured by using the Panasonic devices will improve maintenance turn-around times and ultimately improve train availability.

A major technology refresh

Siemens wanted a major technology refresh for its production engineers, moving from a pool of diagnostic laptops to a standardised, personal issue mobile computing device to meet its modern business needs. The team needed the new device to be able to:

  • Connect to train systems for diagnosis and software upgrades.
  • Provide online access to Siemens'Management Maintenance System for work order management and real-time parts exchange tracking at depots and outstations.
  • Provide access to Vehicle Maintenance Instructions (VMI) and the electronic schematics of trains.
  • Give workers access to Siemens'corporate applications, including email and the Employee Service Portal, as well as a device to use for health and safety applications, such as 4 Steps to Zero Harm.


Extensive selection process

Siemens assessed a wide range of devices to see which best met its needs. Up to 150 engineers were given the opportunity to test the Panasonic device in operation and to answer questions on its suitability. “The Panasonic device was unanimously chosen by our technicians,” said Charles Davies, Siemens Project Manager. “In fact, one reported 'You have shown us the Rolex, so now don't deliver us the Swatch.' The Panasonic was favoured because of its 2-in-1 design, its ease of use and light weight, as well as the variety of ports available. Modern and old legacy trains use a variety of different connections to run diagnostics and software upgrades and the different ports offered in the Panasonic device was very useful.”


Unrivalled design and support

Being able to work closely with Panasonic to adapt the device for use specifically in the Siemens work environment was also very important. Panasonic integrated a smartcard reader into every device for Siemens employees to use their standard corporate login protocols. The Panasonic design team also adapted the rotating hand straps on the device to incorporate the smartcard reader and added shoulder straps to support workers following a Human Factor Work Assessment carried out by Siemens. Docking stations for the units have been installed to enable teams to see detailed schematics more clearly on bigger screens when necessary. Panasonic also advised on optimising the devices for use with Siemens chosen operating system and device image.

In day-to-day operation Panasonic also supports with a 96-hour repair or replace service in place with ATOS, Siemens' global IT service provider.

Fit for the future

Following the completed rollout, the Siemens team now has a device fit for the future. “Our team now works with one standardised device for health and safety, diagnostics, maintenance and communications,” said Charles. “The richness of data we are capturing in real-time is improving the maintenance process and will ultimately improve our forecasting and planning capabilities to make maintenance as efficient and effective as possible – minimising train downtime. We also have a happy team with a device designed for their specific needs that is built to operate in a tough industrial environment.”


Two parts, one story

The Panasonic TOUGHBOOK 20 delivers a new level of unrivalled versatility for mobile business computing as the first fully rugged detachable notebook. Offering the best of all worlds for mobile workers, the TOUGHBOOK can be used in 6 different modes to meet every business need. With its glove enabled touchscreen, up to 20 hour, hot-swappable battery life and purpose-built Vehicle Mount and Desktop Port Replicator, the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK 20 is an unrivalled mobile business machine.

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