NUTECH Railway Engineering, Technologies and Skills School (NURETSS)

Prior to setting up the goals and objectives, NURETSS philosophy is explained here:

The existing railway technologies of 3rd Industrial revolution and upcoming innovative technologies of 21st Century created at the leading technology Universities of USA and West Europe are clearly biased towards railway and allied industry at the global level. They are about to initiate unique “Digital Transformation” of international railway industry, economy and society. All of these railway focussed technologies dubbed as “Innovative” by the intelligentsia, intellectuals and academicians are about to change the way international railway and allied industries function and develop their processes, systems and products for international railway services. Almost all the allied industrial sectors at the global level are about to get affected as most of their processes from conception, planning, design, prototyping, manufacturing, marketing, business development, export and entrepreneurship will either be transformed partially or completely due to the latest railway inspired upcoming technologies. All these combined, is beginning to happen and thus termed as the 4th Railway Industrial Revolution, commonly known as ‘Railway 4.0’. 

Railway technologies led Industry 4.0 offer unlimited opportunities to all the national allied industries still working on conventional and primitive technologies. Such enterprises are primarily semi-skilled labor intensive and are disconnected with the universities which do not offer any academic programs or initiate railway technologies focused R&D projects to develop allied technologies through learning, research and skills acquisition. This railway based technologies revolution is ready to develop our heavy industry and allied manufacturing sectors of engineering goods and products for value-added exports provided such industry sectors are ready to adopt and adapt the upcoming railway technologies and allied professional and technical skills to grow, prosper and lead the international enterprises and market. It is possible through an active support of NUTECH for technology-driven railway and allied industry solutions, development of innovative railway technology based planning, design, manufacturing, business promotion systems and acquisition of hi-tech railway based skills of industrial revolution to implement upcoming Railway 4.0 technologies. To do all this NUTECH being the “University for Industry” must support our national industry by taking the lead role of establishing hubs of innovation, learning and promotion of knowledge to indigenously develop Railway 4.0 technologies based solutions for the up-gradation, growth and transformation of our national allied and value-added potential exports industry on modern lines. To generate such solutions successfully it is very important for NUTECH to access international railway research labs, technology centers and railway industry institutes for joint research based and industry solutions focused development projects to prepare our national industry stand on its feet and become hub of industrial processes, systems and products development to support ML-1, 2 and 3 railway development projects of CPEC.

Since upcoming 4th Railway Industrial Revolution is going to transform the entire allied global industry so the international railway technology universities will be developing innovative railway technology solutions at a grand scale. The process has already commenced and the technology universities are now engaged in doing innovative railway and allied industry development research projects to upgrade the international railway systems as per the needs of the upcoming revolution. It offers a great opportunity for NUTECH to become part of the efforts of international railway technology universities and industry to generate similar solutions by conducting railway technology driven R&D through the state-of-the-art railway technology development centres, research labs, technical institute and world class railway academic and research experts as part of its NURETSS faculty. In this way NUTECH will have direct access to the ongoing R&D efforts of international railway technology universities, schools, institutes, research centres of USA, Russia, China and West Europe as they develop emerging railway technologies driven solutions for international allied industry.

The NUTECH philosophy advocates establishment of NURETSS comprising Institute of Engineering and Technologies (IET), Advance Technologies Innovation Center (ATIC) and Institute of Technical Education (ITE); all of which include state-of-the-art research, development and skills acquisition labs of respective technologies including railway technologies and allied technical and operational skills. All of these will be intellectually and academically managed through the placement of relevant international experts to enable the School become an active bidder of emerging technologies development and promotion based research projects for national and international railway and allied industry. For this purpose strong intellectual and professional links with the international universities and industry are not only essential but extremely important. 

The philosophy promotes the concept of NUTECH becoming an elite stakeholder for developing international railway based and allied industry through the employment of upcoming technologies of Industry 4.0. The philosophy seeks to involve national industry as partners of knowledge acquisition, sharing and enhancement through extensive technical trainings on international certifications related to industrial applications of related emerging technologies. 

NUTECH philosophy emphasizes on developing necessary human resource at expert, professional and skills levels along with labs and support infrastructure as intellectuals, academicians, researchers, industry professionals and entrepreneurs to establish an integrated eco-system. Such eco-system will provide direct support to NURETSS in engaging international technology universities, international, regional and national allied industry, international scientific technology research organizations. Such engagements will facilitate successful execution of upcoming innovative technologies based applied research projects for international railway based and allied industry, developing human resource on emerging and upcoming technologies and skills to prepare national industry for ML-1, 2 and 3 railway projects. All such engagements at NURETSS will be supplemented through education, research, trainings, creation and promotion of start-ups, spin-offs and venture capital companies to work with the national industry for the development of railway technologies driven processes, systems, value-added products development and commercialization. 

The philosophy advocates continuous knowledge exchange, transfer and up-gradation between NURETSS and national allied industry of railway inspired technologies through knowledge-sharing, technical trainings and manufacturing systems up-gradation projects in the context of Industry 4.0 and ML-1, 2 and 3 projects support.


Significance of Industry 4.0 for Railways and Allied Industry.

The term ‘Industry 4.0’ refers to the next developmental stage in the organization of the entire value chain process in the railway products, systems and support manufacturing industry. In the context of Railway, Industry 4.0 describes the organization of production processes based on technology and devices autonomously communicating with each other along the value chain. Railway dominated Industry 4.0 is a model of the ‘smart’ factory of the future where computer-driven systems monitor physical processes, create a virtual copy of the physical world and make decentralized decisions based on self-organization mechanisms. The concept takes account of the increased computerization of the allied railway manufacturing industries where physical objects are seamlessly integrated into the information network. As a result, railway manufacturing systems are vertically networked with business processes within factories and railway enterprises and horizontally connected to spatially dispersed value networks that can be managed in real time. 

The concept of railway ‘Industry 4.0’ was first introduced in West Europe as a high-tech strategy to promote the digitalization of its railway design and manufacturing industry. It is now widely used across Europe, Russia, China, Japan, Australia, Middle East and North America. 

The term ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), was supplemented first as Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and then was shifted to “Internet of Trains” followed by “Internet of Smart Trains”.

All traditional railway technologies based manufacturing and production methods are going through digital transformation process by adapting to Industry 4.0 leading its wide applications in Railways. The main features of railway focused Industry 4.0 are interoperability, virtualization, decentralization, real-time capability and modularity. Cyber-physical railway systems allow humans and smart railway factories to connect and communicate with each other. A virtual copy of the “Smart Railway Factory” is created by linking sensor data with virtual plant models and simulation models.

Railway cyber-physical systems have ability to make decisions of their own and to produce locally by using innovative railway technologies such as additive railway technologies such as manufacturing. Flexible adaptation of smart railway factories to changing requirements is done by replacing or expanding individual modules. 

The widespread adoption by the international railway manufacturing industry of information and communication technology (ICT) is increasingly blurring the boundaries between the real railway world and the virtual world as it is creating new innovative railway production systems, namely railway cyber physical production systems (RCPPS). RCPPS are online networks of railway based machines organized in a way similar to social networks. In a railway manufacturing industry with enabled RCPPS, mechanical and electronic machines can communicate with each other via a network over radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. Such machines in railway industry are termed as “Smart machines” and they continually share information about current stock levels, problems, errors or faults and changes in orders or demand. 

Railway industrial manufacturing processes and deadlines are coordinated with the aim of boosting efficiency and optimizing throughput times, capacity utilization and quality in development, production, purchasing, sales and marketing. RCPPS network machines create a smart network of machines, properties, railway ICT systems, smart railway technology products and individuals across the entire value chain and the full product life cycle. Sensors and control elements enable machines to be linked to railway plants, passenger and cargo fleets, networks and human beings. Full traceability in any part of the value chain and live railway industry product data and customer feedback will make it possible to assure and improve overall product and service quality. Smart railway factories and their RCPPS are at the heart of railway based Industry 4.0, interfacing with smart railway infrastructure, for smart railway mobility, the smart railway grid, smart railway logistics (commonly known as Logistics 4.0).

“Self-Aware” railway rolling stock and ‘Intelligent Railway Stations’ links to both railway systems, services, business and social networks like the rail business web and the railway social web play an increasingly important role in the digital transformation of railway manufacturing to become flag bearer of Industry 4.0. By adapting to all these new networks and interfaces offered by railway technologies based Industry 4.0 within an ‘Internet of Smart Trains’, services, data and people’ means that international railway industry is set to undergo enormous changes in future. 

Advanced railway industrial enterprises at Europe, Russia, China and USA expect this 4th industrial revolution to bring many advantages, ranging from enhanced global competitiveness to the reversal of the trend to relocate railway systems production to low-cost countries and opening of more domestic railway production locations in Europe, China and North America. Strong government funding for railway driven Industry 4.0 and advanced technologies based railway manufacturing initiatives are already taking place. Pakistan must become an early adopter of railway technologies driven Industry 4.0 and acquire capabilities to develop advanced railway and allied manufacturing systems and leapfrog their global competitors with unique locally developed high-tech railway systems, gadgetry, products and services. 

China has shifted its prime focus to most modern railway services and industry in recent years. Chinese railway industry philosophy has now been transformed from a manufacturing-intensive ‘Made in China’ to innovation driven ‘Designed in China’ concept with clear illustration of the adaptation of Industry 4.0 concept. 

In view of the exponential growth of emerging technologies based railway industry and its digital transformation in the context of Industry 4.0, successful railway industry of the future will require long-term vision, organization around digital power, tapping of external pools of knowledge, combining of assets, better knowledge about international railway markets, railway, allied industries and customer preferences nationally and internationally. 

NURETSS will be the intellectual, academic and research support platform for the railway and allied industry to integrate and do research in emerging railway technologies of today related to Industry 4.0. Through NURETSS industry will get all the necessary technology support and technical assistance required for successful implementation of railway technologies inspired Industry 4.0 concepts through well trained human resource and knowledge creation.