Applying Reliability Concepts to Locomotives

Article

Harmsworth, Sharon; Hickerson, Floyd   (1991, ASQC)   Electro-Motive Division/GM, LaGrange, IL

Annual Quality Congress, Milwaukee WI    Vol. 45    No. 0
QICID: 9611    May 1991    pp. 91-96
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Article Abstract

This paper illustrates how the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) and the General Motors Locomotive Group (GMLG) each benefitted from the partnership they established in response to increasing product complexity and a changing business environment. Locomotives are running at higher speeds than in the past and, at the same time, they are required to achieve higher reliability levels.

The measures employed to increase reliability included: (1) A mean-time-between-unscheduled-shoppings (MTBUS) term became part of the strategy to set contractual reliability guarantees for locomotives and establish component design reliability requirements; (2) Availability equations were structured to quantify manufacturer-caused lost availability and railroad-caused lost availability. These measures enabled the railroad to improve the reliability of the existing fleet and determine the reliability of the existing fleet. Also, a new computer modem arrangement allowed the UP and GMLG to share information electronically; this arrangement enhanced their understanding of product performance during and after the warranty period.

The Reliability Team assisted teams of engineers to make the identified components more robust. In addition to completing Weibull analyses, hazard plots, and predictions, the Reliability Team identified two major priorities for the future: (1) a training program for the UP and GMLG engineers responsible for enhancing the reliability of locomotives; and (2) a system to assure important quality and reliability projects are identified and worked.

Keywords

General Motors Corporation,Locomotive industry,Manufacturing,Railroads,Reliability,Transportation Industry,Union Pacific Railroad (UP),Design


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