Hitachi Rail to Acquire Perpetuum to Accelerate UK Digitization Strategy

– Japanese mobility firm to purchase UK technology company in move to advance and digitise its global train maintenance programme

– Perpetuum’s technology could cut delays and improve reliability of thousands of passenger services across the world

– Southampton-based firm, including all 73 staff, to be integrated within Hitachi’s railway business of more than 12,000 employees across 38 countries

TOKYO, Aug 12, 2020 – Hitachi Rail Ltd has announced today that it has agreed to acquire Perpetuum, a technology firm that is pioneering digital technology to optimise railway operations, offering improved efficiency, safety and quality of service. The 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’s product utilises wireless condition monitoring to spot faults and have them fixed before they 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. Once they are installed on trains, Perpetuum’s self-powering digital sensors detect on-board vibrations and send back real-time data about the performance of critical train parts – e.g. wheel sets, gearboxes, motors or bogies – faster and more accurately than traditional condition-monitoring approaches. Combining this information with artificial intelligence-led analytical tools means that:

– Potential faults are identified and fixed before they impact services – meaning passengers enjoy more reliable and punctual journeys

– Critical parts on trains are replaced exactly when they need to be, which increases their lifespan by more than 25%, cuts costs and protects the environment

– Maintenance needed by the trains can be reduced, increasing availability to provide reliable and efficient passenger services

The Southampton-based business 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’s global transportation portfolio is unique in offering full-service solutions for passenger and freight operators globally; from driverless metros, to high-speed bullet trains and signalling solutions – all to ensure an integrated and optimised railway operation. Service and maintenance is key to this fully integrated offering and will complement and develop solutions already in place for customers.

The acquisition will further support Hitachi, Ltd.’s strategy of investing in digital and data-driven ways solve complex customer challenges – in line with Hitachi’s Lumada platform. There is also the potential for Perpetuum’s products to go beyond wheelsets and bogies to provide actionable information wherever it is generated on the train.

Andrew Barr, Group CEO, Hitachi Rail 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, Perpetuum said: “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 EUR8.5m investment into constructing a new welding and painting facility at its Newton Aycliffe train manufacturing facility. The transaction will be subject to relevant anti-trust clearance being obtained. Closing is expected in the autumn of 2020.

About Hitachi Rail

Hitachi Rail is a fully integrated, global provider of rail solutions across rolling stock, signalling, service & maintenance, digital technology and turnkey. With a presence in 38 countries, across six continents and over 12,000 employees, our mission is to contribute to society through the continuous development of superior rail transport solutions. We are proud of our global achievements, from our world famous ‘bullet trains’, to our signalling solutions and turnkey projects, state of the-art traffic management and digital solutions. Drawing on the wider Hitachi Group’s market-leading technology and research-and-development capabilities, we strive for industry leading innovations and solutions that can deliver value for customers and sustainable railway systems that benefit wider society. For information about Hitachi Rail, visit

Perpetuum awarded Innovate UK contract, with Hitachi, GWR and Eversholt, to deliver ground breaking Train Axle Crack Monitoring project

Perpetuum has been awarded a contract by Innovate UK to deliver a ground breaking Train Axle Crack Monitoring (TAMON) project.

The project, which involves installing the proven TAMON concept onto a Great Western Railway Class 802 train, has been awarded by the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) as part of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) rail demonstrations: first of a kind 2020 competition.

Train axles are traditionally subjected to regular testing to identify incipient crack failure. This process is very costly and involves taking the train out of service. Studies have also looked at extending inspection intervals and involve concepts such as statistical determination of “Probability of Detection”, but there is significant uncertainty and cost involved in the current approach.

A recent project known as ‘MONAXLE’, led by Perpetuum and in collaboration with TWI and the University of Southampton, has proven the concept in the laboratory of detecting cracks by analysing changes in resonance of the axle caused by cracks as it rotates. Now the TAMON project, a first of its kind and the beneficiary of the Innovate UK award, will install this concept on a passenger train for a final stage of testing and demonstration for the industry. The project is utilising a new version of Perpetuum’s well established self-powered wireless monitoring system that will be able to deliver all the previous monitoring features for wheel, bearing and track monitoring, as well as for axle shafts.

TAMON is expected to bring major benefits, including:

  • Significantly reduced maintenance and inspection costs
  • Direct and live information on axle condition to enable confidence in decision making about actions required
  • Reduced downtime for rolling stock through less frequent inspections giving better availability
  • Fewer unplanned withdrawals from service
  • Enhanced safety and reduction in uncertainties on axle cracks

“We are absolutely delighted to be delivering an industry first with the TAMON project with our partners. We have agreed to do the first installation on the GWR 802 fleet in collaboration with Hitachi, the train builder, Eversholt, the owner, and First Group, the TOC franchisee,” explains Roy Freeland, President of Perpetuum.

“TAMON will fully meet the criteria set out by the SBRI for “Optimised and cost-effective maintenance” including reducing returns to depot, use of pattern-recognition technologies to automate inspections and improved reporting of failures and/or issues by collecting live data whilst in service and continuous reporting,” continues Roy.

“The potential of TAMON is extremely exciting for the rail industry. It will be possible to monitor and report the loads on axles which could give helpful information to passengers waiting to board on where there is least crowding. By eventually extending the application to freight, this capability would enhance safety of freight wagons by reporting eccentric and overloads and may eliminate the need for weigh stations to monitor loads for revenue determination.”

The TAMON project is supported by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) which has said it “would be expected to have a significant positive impact on maintenance programmes and rolling stock availability, while reducing risk and disruption to service.”

“Digitalisierung für einen optimalen Kundenservice” – Schaeffler und Perpetuum

Schaeffler DLRSchaeffler und Perpetuum arbeiten seit 2018 zusammen, um Betreibern mit Hilfe von Sensortechnik zur Zustandsüberwachung einen optimalen Service
zu bieten, der es ihnen erlaubt, die Verfügbarkeit ihrer Schienenfahrzeuge
signifikant zu erhöhen und Betriebskosten zu reduzieren. Nahverkehrs-praxis sprach darüber mit Dr. Michael Holzapfel, Leiter Geschäftsbereich Rail – Industrie Europa, Schaeffler  Technologies AG, und Rolf Laager, Sales Manager DACH Region bei Perpetuum Ltd.

DOWNLOAD Schaeffler-Perpetuum

New Sales Manager UK & Ireland for Perpetuum

Stephen Pole has joined the expanding team at Perpetuum as Sales Manager UK & Ireland.  Based in Derby, Stephen’s role will be to evolve and execute the sales and product marketing strategies for Perpetuum in the UK & Ireland.

Headshot_SPoleBringing almost 30 years of working in high technology companies both in the UK and internationally, Stephen was previously a Key Account Manager at SNC-Lavalin Rail & Transit Ltd where he was responsible for all commercial and business development activities with clients such as Network Rail.

“I believe I have joined Perpetuum at a very exciting time for the company,” says Stephen. “Our cutting edge products and solutions are making a positive difference throughout the rail industry, helping to transform railway and fleet management. I am most looking forward to being part of this innovative and successful team whilst helping to position Perpetuum as the preferred supplier of choice for RCM solutions. Helping our clients improve efficiency, safety and reliability of their fleets will be paramount.”

New Manufacturing & Quality Director for Perpetuum

Simon McCaskie has joined the expanding team at Perpetuum as Manufacturing & Quality Director. The role is newly created and designed to support the company as it continues to strengthen and grow into the new decade.

With a degree in Manufacturing Engineering from Cambridge University followed by an MBA at the University of Bradford, Simon has spent more than 30 years working with high technology companies, with over 20 years at Director level.

Simon was previoSimon McCaskieusly Operations Director at TTP Labtech, with responsibility for Materials, Manufacturing Engineering, Production, Quality, Customer support and strategic Board responsibility. His new role at Perpetuum will focus onpreparing for higher volumes of product manufacture, product development and driving quality throughout the organisation, including the delivery of product in terms of cost, and timescale.  Simon is enthusiastic about the current growth and transformation of Perpetuum and how the company is driving forward with product evolution and a determination to deliver the very best products to a global audience.

“Helping businesses scale up is an area I really enjoy and am good at,” he says. “Perpetuum is transforming itself from a technology and design company to a mature business. In my new role I will see improved delivery of product in terms of time scales, reliability and ultimately cost.”

Perpetuum has moved to new, larger headquarters, located near Southampton, United Kingdom. The new headquarters accommodates Perpetuum’s 76 employees, including its growing teams of talented engineers who are transforming asset management for an ever-increasing number of passenger and freight operators around the world.

The new Headquarters will also provide increased production space for providing the next generation of Perpetuum products and more test facilities to accommodate the growth in sales and the product’s expanding applications.

“As more train operators have chosen Perpetuum’s RCM solution, so our talent pool of experts has grown too,” explains Steve Turley, CEO of Perpetuum. “Our highly-qualified engineering and technical teams develop our uniquely differentiated solutions which enable rail asset managers to see in real time the “in flight” condition of their rolling stock and track hundreds of miles away from their asset.”

Perpetuum’s move to the new Headquarters follows a significant period of growth, driven by the company’s ability to deliver outstanding results for customers who are able to save time in scheduling maintenance when it is required and thus improving the efficiency of their rolling stock.

“We are very excited by the move and what the future holds for Perpetuum,” says Steve. “It marks the next step in our growth and development as a pivotal player in the rail industry.”

Perpetuum has published a white paper for the rail industry. Track Defect and Wheel Damage: Detection and Location outlines in detail how Perpetuum’s on board remote condition monitoring identifies defect, damage and potential issues quickly and efficiently. It is a real world example of how effective remote condition monitoring solutions are and a snapshot of its ability to help rail operators.

Authored by the technical team at Perpetuum, using a real example, the paper specifically illustrates how vibration provides one of the earliest indication of defects in assets such as bearings on rolling stock. Other parameters such as temperature may only indicate a defect shortly before catastrophic failure. Therefore, vibration-based condition monitoring provides the information required to drive efficient operation, thus reducing maintenance costs and improving safety.

To download the Track Defect and Wheel Damage: Detection and Location White Paper visit the download section of the website or click here

Perpetuum has announced its award winning remote condition monitoring solution is to be provided by Eversholt Rail to give crucial real-time information on operator Abellio ScotRail’s Class 320 fleet.

This is the third ScotRail fleet to adopt Perpetuum’s condition-based monitoring solution, following the success of its roll out on the C334 and C170 fleets. More than 100 of ScotRail’s trains will now carry Perpetuum’s onboard monitoring solution, improving safety and reliability.

The 22-strong Class 320 fleet will carry 528 Wireless Sensor Nodes, plus the Bearing Health Index and Wheel Health Indexanalytics from Perpetuum. Monitoring the wheelset condition means it is not necessary for ScotRail to undertake a full overhaul, with the associated impact on rolling stock availability.

ScotRail is using the Wheel Health Index to actively manage its wheels on its C334 and C170 fleets. Once the system is rolled out on the Class 320 live data will record all tread damage, however small, which will be transmitted back in real-time to the asset manager.

“Our sensors have now covered over eleven billion healthy miles  and no train has ever failed while in service carrying our solution, so it makes sense for operators to utilise our onboard monitoring across as many fleets as possible,” says Justin Southcombe, Commercial Director.

“Our solution is a cost efficient and extremely safe way to ensure no bearing or wheel health issues are ever missed and has the alert reliability other solutions struggle to match. We are delighted that ScotRail are enthused by the value our solutions offer, expanding its benefits across these three fleets.”

Perpetuum is celebrating its 15-year anniversary. From its beginnings in 2004 at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom (UK), Perpetuum is now a thriving global business, transforming asset management for rail operators around the world.

Perpetuum’s award winning, self-powered, wireless sensing technology, combined with its vibration engineering expertise and rich analytics, provides real time information that enables the rail industry to optimise railway operations. Today its revolutionary technology is deployed and operational in the UK, Australian, USA, Swedish and Saudi Arabian national passenger rail networks and has launched its solution into the freight sector too.

The company’s story began at the University of Southampton, where innovative energy harvesting technology to power wireless sensors was originally developed. Perpetuum was then launched as a start up, attracting funding and customers, which enabled it to grow customer interest as the benefits of energy harvesters to power sensors for the IoT excited many industrial markets. High volume business then accelerated with the development of complete systems and analytics for on board remote condition monitoring which transformed rail operations for its customers. The company went on to develop the ‘smart bogie’, essentially making ‘in flight’ monitoring a reality.

“We have come a long way in 15 years, and we have never stopped growing, improving and innovating as we continue on our journey,” says Perpetuum’s President, Roy Freeland. “Perpetuum is now a well established and respected player in the rail sector, and with new partnerships and new markets to aim at, we are expanding our reach and influence on the future direction of rail asset management.”

Perpetuum is a member of the Rail Industry Association and Rail Alliance and in 2019 announced its solution is to be utilised by Eversholt Rail to provide crucial real-time information on operator Abellio ScotRail’s Class 320 fleet, the third ScotRail fleet to adopt Perpetuum’s condition-based monitoring solution, following the success of its roll out on the C334 and C170 fleets.

The company also partnered with Direct Rail Services (DRS) to win Innovate UK’s First of a Kind competition, to deliver a project for the Department for Transport (DfT) to monitor the condition of freight locomotives, Perpetuum will also be delivering new projects in Australia, UK, France and the Middle East during the course of 2019.

Innovate UK, the United Kingdom’s innovation agency, has selected Perpetuum and Direct Rail Services (DRS) to deliver a project for the Department for Transport (DfT) set to make the UK rail network more efficient, greener and cleaner, as part of its £7.8million ‘First of a Kind’ competition.

Run by Innovate UK and funded by the DfT to support research, development and innovation in the UK rail industry, the “First of a Kind’competition seeks innovative ideas that can be adapted to transform rail travel. Strengthening resilience of railway infrastructure and operations, enhancing rail freight services, and reducing environmental and noise impacts were the themes for this current round.

DRS and Perpetuum will partner to deliver the first UK freight locomotive to have wireless wheelset condition monitoring installed. The ‘in-flight’ condition monitoring solution will mean, for the first time, it will be possible to mitigate in service bearing and wheel failures on any route, independent of location and status of trackside measurement equipment. It is the first installation of a smaller, lighter, energy harvester powered wireless node from Perpetuum, in its first major project with UK freight operators.

Perpetuum’s solution brings significant asset management intelligence and connectivity to the project, while DRS provides a comprehensive range of rail transport and network support services to the UK’s leading freight companies and FTSE 100 businesses.

“We are delighted to have been selected for the project and to partner with DRS,” explains Roy Freeland, President of Perpetuum. “Innovation such as ours can help to solve challenges in the public sector and we look forward to delivering another success story for the Department for Transport and Innovate UK.”

“Direct Rail Services are excited to be partnering Perpetuum in the development and application of their innovative Remote Condition Monitoring equipment and solutions to the rail freight sector,” comments Andy Martlew, Traction and Rolling Stock Development Engineer.

“This round has been the biggest yet and I am excited to see how our funding will bring these ambitious ideas to fruition,” says Andrew Jones, the UK’s Rail Minister.

Perpetuum’s onboard solutions will be utilised by Abellio ScotRail to help future proof the operator’s C170 diesel turbostar fleet,one of the key parts of its rolling stock portfolio. 

This is the second fleet operated by ScotRail, after the C334 in 2017, to benefit from Perpetuum’s remote condition monitoring technology and analytics.

The project is a collaboration between Perpetuum and Porterbrook Leasing Company to supply bearing and wheel monitoring onboard Porterbrook’s 34 trainsets in the C170 diesel turbostar fleet, operated by Abellio ScotRail. 

Porterbrook Leasing Company specialises in the leasing of all types of railway rolling stock and its associated equipment. By providing freight and train operating companies with modern rolling stock, they can be assured of high standards of reliability and performance from their fleets. 

Working in synergy, Perpetuum’s in-flight condition monitoring solution brings significant asset management intelligence and connectivity to Porterbrook’s train operating customers such as ScotRail, helping to improve its fleet and deploy a digital strategy that optimises legacy rolling stock. “We are extremely pleased to continue our collaboration with Porterbrook and Abellio Scotrail, helping to change the expectations of what can be achieved with existing rolling stock by using digitalised asset management,” says Andy Stephens, UK Sales Manager for Perpetuum

Perpetuum to speak at Rise of IoT and Big Data in Rail 2019

Perpetuum has announced it will be speaking at the Rise of IoT and Big Data in Rail event, held in Munich, Germany, 28th and 29thMay 2019. 

Following on from the success of the event in 2018, The Rise of IoT and Big Data in Rail will explore the huge breadth of predictive maintenance applications of big data, allowing Infrastructure Managers and train operating companies understand fully how they can benefit from harvesting data from across the whole of their railway operations. 

Rolf Laager, Perpetuum’s Sales Manager for the DACH region will be sharing with delegates Perpetuum’s experience in aggregating vehicle and infrastructure data to drive out system and process inefficiencies in rail.

Mr Laager states, “Perpetuum is at the forefront of data capture and the innovative application development needed to harness it to its maximum potential. As a company, we are at the forefront of the digitisation of the railways, capturing the “in flight” status of rail assets for train operators around the world. We look forward to sharing our experience with the industry at the event.”