Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable
industrialization and foster innovation
Social Innovation starts with an idea – one simple thought that has the power to change the world. Hitachi Rail’s Social Innovation, through unique co-creation business has always set itself the goal of creating develop technological innovation to improve people’s quality of life and achieve a sustainable society, helping to solve global social and environmental issues and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the UN for 2030.
Hitachi Rail has always devoted on-going attention to innovation, in order to identify and create advanced technical solutions and develop products of the very highest quality, safety and environmental standards.
Hitachi Rail manages its projects by analysing them as plans or proposals able to display solutions that can work. It creates a prototype with the project, and demonstrates how to implement the idea and attain the expected results. This “scientific” approach allows it to assess the feasibility, costs, market and value of the solutions.
Therefore, Social Innovation for Hitachi is the way to:
▪ Reflect on the impact that the technological innovations are making o society, by developing new solutions in the world of transport, industry, infrastructure, health and energy;
▪ Understand how advanced technologies can affect the development of smart communities by creating new and dynamic business models;
▪ Evaluate how the new technological solutions improve company management by adopting integrated processes thanks to the availability of additional data and information together with the customer and the stakeholders;
▪ Discover how Hitachi Rail is taking part in virtuous systems to guide businesses, institutions and towns by adopting a collaborative approach and by integrating IT and Operational Technologies.
The team has given priority to those projects that best meet the sustainability requirements and the most innovative needs of customers and their customers.
From this process, two important framework projects were created: “Zero Infrastructure” and “Services for Mobility (S4M).”
In the “Zero Infrastructure” framework there are projects aimed at eliminating infrastructure such as servers and power and telecommunications cables alongside railway lines. This will allow Hitachi Rail to provide solutions with less equipment and consequently that consume less, or if there is a need for power, green power will be used together with batteries and capacitors. In addition to being greener, this solution also reduces the cost of operating and maintaining the railway.
The projects within the “Zero Infrastructure” framework are:
▪ Study and design of alternative green power sources to power the signalling systems along the line;
▪ Study and design on the use of cloud computing in signalling and automation systems, including the implementation of Verification and Validation laboratories on the Cloud;
▪ Use of wireless communications to connect the signalling systems installed along the line with the central station.
For information on the Services for Mobility (S4M) projects
The Circular Economy means going beyond the traditional “take-make-waste” that is typical of linear economy, where natural resources are extracted, transformed, used by suppliers, combined in a product and discarded at end of life (Andersen, 2007).
Put simply, the Circular Economy aims to monetize waste in order to eliminate it from our value chains – making businesses both more financially and environmentally more sustainable.
Recent studies show that keeping resources in use for as long as possible, and using them efficiently, are particularly important in the rolling stock industry.
Hitachi Rail already manufactures highly recyclable trains (above 95% in some cases), recovers a high percentage of materials during maintenance operations, refurbishes and reuses components from older products to fit new products.
But more can be done. As a result, Hitachi Rail has begun to incorporate the concept of the Circular Economy within its Environment and Quality Management Systems at production sites in which the relevant certifications are managed. As a result, Life Cycle Analyses are now part of all projects, and Environment Product Declaration certification processes are on going across the portfolio.
The results of Circular Economy Project allow Hitachi Rail to evaluate the opportunity-cost of alternative business models in terms of socio-economic (Life Cycle Cost, Social Life Cycle Assessment) and environmental impact (Environmental Life Cycle Assessment).
Hitachi Rail’s Circular Economy Project consist of 3 methodological steps and 10 main activities.