Author: Thibaut Descamps, Director of Aluminothermic Welding

Driving greater weld traceability across the rail sector

Pandrol’s new Connect app enables complete end-to-end data coverage across the aluminothermic welding sector. The technology reflects Pandrol’s core ethos in offering an unrivalled customer experience – maximising rail infrastructure availability, safety and lifetime value.

The app was developed in response to the issues of weld traceability, which can be a major challenge in areas where many different contractors are involved. Efficient traceability is essential to gather, trend and spot anomalies in weld performance data – essential also for optimising costs. The app enables live data capture, a significant time saver for contactor teams.

The app has three modules:

  • A mobile version for welders to record on-site data and for welding controllers to review data
  • An online monitoring app to review weld information from the office
  • An online administration tool to apply settings to local standards

Pandrol defines the industry standard across the aluminothermic welding sector and has developed the Connect app with alignment to Industry 4.0, as a commitment to visibility and optimisation of the entire value chain.

Pandrol started work on developing the welding app back in 2016, the objective of which was to develop an open platform which would facilitate the recording and transmission of the data between all welding parties, including railway authorities, welding companies and welding kit suppliers. All data is stored in the cloud for easy sharing to contractors and the network, automatically.

Available for Android, the app has already been used, with great success, by Pandrol’s welding services teams and contractors across the UK and France.

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and has resulted in enhancements to the app, including the latest innovation to include a news function that improves weld documentation opportunities and data sharing overall.

Adding Value

The app has four key benefits:

  • Enables cost optimisation and enhanced customer service across the supply chain.
  • Provides a customisable cost-effective app with no capital outlay.
  • Saves time for all users and drastically cuts down paperwork.
  • Encourages efficiency and innovation through an incorporated news function.

Improved Quality

The app is already benefitting Pandrol’s quality systems through the automation of the documentation of industrial processes and instantly available information at the touch of a button. Pandrol expects this to have a major impact on welding projects in the future and looks forward to demonstrating the benefits to customers.

Pandrol’s research has shown that contractors appreciate the facility to record data before, during and after welding, even with no internet access. Compatible with all welding kit suppliers, data can be downloaded by technicians on location. In line with the product launch, Pandrol has released training videos to support contractors with using the new software, which can be easily located online.

Welders are extremely happy with the ergonomic aspects of the interface, such as immediate access to welding instruction manuals, the use of QR codes, the facility to add voice comments and compatible interface gloves.

In addition, welding contractors welcomed the reliability of the report and the fact that data is automatically transmitted from site, with many weld parameters pre-filled (such as the Supplier Job Reference and Job Cost Number), so no need for input.

Data confidentiality is paramount – Pandrol Connect allows only authorised users to view data.