Perpetuum, the Southampton-based technology firm that is pioneering digital technology to optimise railway operations, offering improved efficiency, safety and quality of service, has agreed to a takeover offer from Hitachi Rail.
Perpetuum uses self-powered digital sensors installed on trains to detect on-board vibrations and send back real-time data about the performance of critical components, such as wheel sets, gearboxes, motors or bogies, faster and more accurately than traditional condition-monitoring approaches.
Once notified of impending faults, engineers can fix them during maintenance before they have a chance to delay passengers’ journeys. In fact, none of the 3,000 carriages that are fitted with Perpetuum sensors have ever had critical components fail in service.
In addition, replacing critical parts on trains exactly when they need to be increases their lifespan by more than 25 per cent, cuts costs and protects the environment. It also reduces the need for routine scheduled maintenance, increasing train availability.
The take-over move supports Hitachi Rail’s vision to provide superior transport solutions by using digital technology designed to improve the reliability of thousands of passenger services across the globe, including the 276 Hitachi-built trains running across the UK network today.
Perpetuum already has blue-chip customers across three continents, including a number of UK train operating companies. Its future inclusion as a Hitachi group company will create new opportunities to fit self-powered sensors to the hundreds of trains already serviced around the world by the wider mobility business.
Hitachi Rail group CEO Andrew Barr said: “The inclusion of one of the most exciting, pioneering companies in digital asset management is an exciting development for our global mobility business.
“Perpetuum’s data-driven insights will offer further improvements to the service we provide to our customers – leading to better journeys for passengers. It also supports Hitachi’s growth in the digital technologies space, which is becoming increasingly key to our offering – adding value to support our global customer base.”
Steve Turley, CEO of Perpetuum, added: “We are very excited to launch this next stage for Perpetuum after the success it has had since entering the railway market less than ten years ago.
“Being part of Hitachi will present vital opportunities that only a global transport giant can offer. We look forward to better supporting our existing and new customers in the future.”
Hitachi’s moves marks further direct investment into the UK at time when the British and Japanese governments are negotiating a free trade agreement. It also follows an £8.5 million investment into constructing a new welding and painting facility at its Newton Aycliffe train manufacturing facility.
The proposed takeover has to go through the relevant anti-trust approvals and is expected to be completed in the autumn of 2020.