18 Sep, 2023
Railway Metrics and Dynamics Railway oliver disler

Interview with the Sales and Marketing Director at RMD

18 Sep, 2023

Railway Metrics & Dynamics (RMD) is a Swedish technology company that focuses on the train and railway industry. Through their technology, they can predict maintenance needs and create entirely new conditions for safety, efficiency, and profitability within the sector. To get a better understanding of the company and its key executives, we had the opportunity to interview RMD's Sales and Marketing Director, Oliver Disler.

Interview questions

Could you please tell us a little bit about your background? 

- I am Swiss, 55 years young and father of one daughter and one son. I started my professional career as a banker with UBS. The first couple of years I was an asset manager for private clients. In the mid-90s I moved into investment banking and worked for banks such as Société Générale, Goldman Sachs, ABN Amro and Merrill Lynch. At all investment banks, I was responsible for the development, marketing and sales of derivative financial products. The target customers were private bankers and independent asset managers in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. After my successful career as an investment banker I had various mandates in the financial industry.

How come you decided to join Railway Metrics & Dynamics (RMD)?

- In the last two years I had the chance to learn a lot about the European freight wagon industry. I realized quickly that the most innovative and urgent topic is the safety and digitalisation of the rail freight sector. Comparing the strategy and product portfolio of the various players in Europe I am convinced that RMD can offer the best and complete solutions in a very customized manner. RMD is now ready to present and offer tracking and complete safety solutions to a much broader customer base.

RMD Oliver Disler

RMD`s products are suitable for a number of different kind of customers - for example train operators as well as infrastructure owners. What category of customers would you expect to be the one with the highest potential?

- This is a very interesting question. RMD can, of course, offer customized solutions to every customer request. Operators, carriers, wagon keepers and infrastructure owners will have an increased demand to equip locos and freight wagons with safety devices and solutions. Let me illustrate this with a current example.

Sixteen freight wagons derailed in the Gotthard Base Tunnel on the 10th of August this year. Fortunately nobody was hurt or injured, but a significant material damage was incurred. In this accident more than 8 km of track and about 20 000 concrete sleepers have been destroyed and must be replaced. The repair work on the affected tunnel tube will take months and the reopening is not expected before the beginning of 2024. No exact cost estimates are currently available for the repairs in the tunnel, but these are likely to be in the million range.

RMD can already offer a complete safety solution today. Maybe the freight wagons would still have derailed, but with the RMD solution, at least the extent could have been minimized very much. With real-time sensors and AI (Artificial Intelligence) fuelled by Machine Learning, RMD’s system automatically predicts and classifies upcoming faults in the rail and in the rolling stock – something that was impossible before RMD. If an acute fault is imminent, like a wheel flat or even worse broken wheel, RMD’s system detects this within seconds, giving the train driver a warning to stop the train in time to avoid extensive damage to the railway – and a prolonged stop of the rail traffic.

Having said this, RMD will have a strong focus on operators and infrastructure owners but will also offer safety solutions for any other customer.

Railway Metrics and Dynamics intervju

Are there customers, which already or will use this innovative safety solution?

- Yes, RMD has signed a contract and started a cooperation with Trafikverket in Sweden. RMD has announced earlier this year that it has been awarded the contract “COM-4015140, Innovation Procurement – Regarding further development, validation and delivery of new information services for automated measurement of the railway system”. You will find more detailed information by clicking on this link here.

Which country in Europe do you believe so far has taken the lead in the digitalisation of the railways and what other countries are on the go?

- Countries like Switzerland and Sweden are in the lead. But when you talk about digitalisation in the freight wagon industry, however there is a lot of potential across Europe. RMD has increased demand for various types of solutions from customers in France, Belgium and Germany.

Another widely and long discussed topic is the possible implementation of digital automatic coupling (DAC), a component used to automatically couple or decouple freight wagons. The question arises whether this approach can be realized. On the one hand, it is associated with very high costs and, on the other hand, it is also a very big challenge to migrate all European freight wagons to a new type of coupling at once.

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