Award winning app makes track inspections more efficient

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) awarded its Young Achiever Award to Lycopodium Project Manager, Rebecca Coffey, for her contribution to developing a maintenance and inspection app which allows users to create, maintain and inspect track and associated defects in the rail sector. Here, Rebecca discusses the process of using the app and the impact it has had so far.

At the Australasian Rail Industry Awards Gala Dinner in July, Mrs Coffey received her Permanent Way Institution Young Achiever award in recognition of her involvement with the innovative LycoMMS app. Despite the recent industry recognition, Mrs Coffey said the aim of the app was simply to fill a need in her company.

“My inspiration came directly from seeing Lycopodium’s need for a simple to use system, specific for rail requirements, to conduct inspections and manage assets for our clients, and the inability of any cost effective off–the–shelf solution to fill this need,” Mrs Coffey said.

“I saw a business need and I solved it, to me that is part of my job. I didn’t build this system with the view to market it or gain awards, I built it to help my company and my colleagues.”

Mrs Coffey said LycoMMS aims to solve rail industry issues such as inefficient track inspections due to double handling paperwork, and limited defect insight and history provided to inspectors in the field.

“It aims to provide simple management of assets, full cycle defect and work order management. Essentially fill the gap for a simple, easy-to-use tool for rail inspections and related asset management.

“Of course, a system is only as good as its last update. The world of technology is a fast moving one and Lycopodium realises we need to continually update as new options and features are explored,” Mrs Coffey said.

Practical applications in the rail sector

Designed specifically with rail inspectors in mind, LycoMMS allows an inspector to collect data on defects, which is uploaded to a maintenance management system that supports the app.

Using the data, the system manages inspection schedules, and manages assets, defects and work orders.

When inspecting tracks, inspectors simply log any new defects found in the LycoMMS app at any time during the inspection.

The GPS coordinates of the defect are recorded and the inspector can capture photos and details all within the app.

Inspectors can also log updates to existing defects including their status and recommend repair if they are a recommend repair priority.

They also have the ability to make notes, take photos, and most importantly they can review the defect history including past photos.

The logged inspections are then digitally signed and certified by the inspector and the system automatically uploads the new data back to the database.

The defect changes, including new defects, are sent to the engineering representative for approval prior to being released into the database.

“All data collected, both from inspections and work orders, are automatically collated and linked in the system to related assets, therefore you can open a specific asset and see the full history of defects and maintenance works (both preventative and corrective) conducted over its life,” Mrs Coffey said.

“Defects can be filtered multiple ways for analysis. For example, you can filter to view all overdue defects, all priority one defects or all defects for a specific track section.”

A cut above the rest

What makes LycoMMS so beneficial to rail inspectors is its ability to operate in areas with no mobile coverage.

Data entered while offline is saved and automatically uploaded when back in mobile range.

The app also utilises ‘App Tokens’, which means the app knows who is using it and only allows approved competent inspectors to provide inspection certification.

Additionally, inspections can be digitally certified by the inspector, which eliminates the need for paper signatures and provides a truly paperless system.

LycoMMS includes a Client Portal which provides the ability to click on an asset and view any defects, all the attributes and history.

Inspection data is also available in the system immediately after certification and can be exported via a range of formats to suit the needs of the platform required.

Mrs Coffey said she is overwhelmed at having her work recognised in the industry and she recognises the efforts of everyone involved for creating the award winning app.

“I am very appreciative to Lycopodium and my colleagues for supporting the system and my career, also to Duncan our software developer from Cartesian Creative for partnering to make all my ideas and plans come to life,” Mrs Coffey said.

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