Case Study TasRail - Cement Train Lean Kaizen

Goal Statement:

  • An increase in tonnes per day (from 4200 to 5000
  • Demonstrable outcomes achieved after the Lean Kaizen event that we can continue to build on


  • TasRail- To provide reliable transfer of cement from Railton to Devonport to meet Customer requirements
  • Cement Australia- To provide excess capacity in the service offering to meet peaks in production (e.g. maximise tonnage per wagon, minimise cycle times, provide continuous storage capacity at Railton plant to allow uninterrupted cement production at maximum cement milling output)
  • Cement Australia - To transfer cement from Railton to Devonport to minimise ship loading time to utilise ship capacity

The Approach undertaken:

  • Under the guidance of an External Facilitator, Gavin Brooks, Peter Standaloft, Bruce Gilham and Malcolm Bygraves used the Plan-Do-Check-Act methodology to:
    - Understand the current situation, the issues, and causes of the issues
    - Frame up possible solutions
    - Implement the solutions
    - Understand the difference these solutions made
    - Standardise for the future

Pre Kaizen Event:

  • TasRail did not always provide sufficient capacity to match cement plant maximum output with back-to-back shipments into Melbourne
  • There was a demonstrated inability to step-up capacity with the existing assets at the current operational performance levels (note that at peaks TasRail have elected to run a second service utilising 18 wagons, 3 locos and 1 DV)
  • There was high and variable carry-back of cement and variable transit time, transit tonnage, occasional train cancellations at short notice and occasional interruptions to service due to equipment faults failures as well as shipping changes
  • The problems occurred at all times. Services run more reliably at the weekend
  • The problems occured on the Railton to Devonport line with the cement train and at the loading and unloading facilities
  • This resulted in frequent interruptions to services and variation in train volumes and carry-back tonnage

Desired Future State at commencement of the project:

  • A reliable service delivering 4500 tonnes per day
  • Minimal carry-back
  • Low variation in tonnage and cycle times
  • Maximised wagon net tonnes
  • A reduction in number of planned services
  • Clear communication on a number of areas

Implemented recommendations:

  • Installation of retro reflector at Railton to indicate correct positioning of train to Drivers
  • Implemented constant power supply to IVD (ANCS screen) in DV
  • Vibrator being installed early in 2017
  • Trialling of wagon 1 and 2 in various rake locations
  • Replaced dust seal and self closing door devices on DPO
  • Driver humpy
  • Implemented alternative colour for Cement Train Selcall in Train Control
  • Progressively cleaning out wagons
  • Recommence Cement Australia/TasRail monthly meetings
  • Excellent engagement from Drivers and Operators
  • Implementing TRIMS usage - Operators entering TRIMS data
  • Begin to systematically schedule and clean cement build up from wagons
  • Implementing slope sheets on No. 1 wagon
  • Implementing stronger top door valve
  • Maximum load increased to 68.5
  • Plan to improve Driver cab access
  • DPO Electric 77 points repaired

Outcomes Achieved:

Average Trav el Time:

Average Load Time at Railton:

Overview of Over Carry:

Average overcarry by wagon

Average Daily Tonnes:

Cement Australia Net Tonnes Delivered KPI:

Kaizen Goal of 4500 tonnes per day achieved and exceeded

Benefits from Cement Australia’s perspective:

  • We haven’t had to run the baby train or trucks
  • It’s opened up the lines of communication
  • There’s a better understanding from both sides of the process
  • We’re more closely monitoring silo stocks because rail has outstripped us
  • We’ve achieved increased mechanical reliability
  • We’re able to plan things a lot better
  • Responsiveness from TasRail has improved significantly
  • Cement flows out a lot better/getting more cement down than it did before; this makes CA Operator’s lives easier
  • There’s no way we would have been able to service the back to back Melbourne services that we do now two years ago
  • New wagons have been a benefit - public perception and environmental impacts
  • We really enjoyed the project
  • Roxanne’s facilitation kept us on track

Benefits from TasRail ’s perspective:

  • This is a change to the norm; we are sticking to something and seeing it through until the end!
  • Communication between CA and TR - an improved working relationship as customer/supplier
  • A significant improvement is the increased profile of the CA service and what is required to deliver to their needs and expectations
  • We’re stretching ourselves and delivering better customer service
  • Cultural change in TasRail and the grass roots level (with Drivers) means that simple data and measurement is being respected in a new way
  • The response of our Drivers has been great; they are very engaged
  • If there is a surge in production requirements from CA and
  • TR are in a far better position to respond more efficiently and effectively
  • Drivers using technology

Future Plans:

  • Team members will see remaining recommendations through to completion
  • The team would like approval from its Sponsors to meet again in November 2017 to ensure the gains have been sustained
  • Continue to work to improve the process by engaging further with CA operators
  • Continue to improve communication between Drivers and Operators
  • Work with Drivers and CA Operators to continue to improve work practices
  • Consider feasibility of other recommendations:
    - Larger pump at DPO site
    - Increasing track speed
    - Maintenance of wagons at DPO
    - New remotes
    - Down time opportunities to plan maintenance
    - Interlock pad with hoses at Devonport
    - Decision Matrix for use of vibrator
    - Procedural development “the golden trip”
    - PUK replacement
    - Pumping sequences at DPO
    - Level sensor for chutes
    - Assess requirements for a new humpy for Drivers at DPO