Are economic and ecological action in the infrastructure sector contradictory?

Upgrade of existing infrastructure as a service

A new acquisition of electronic systems in the infrastructure sector is always associated with high costs and technical and time risks. Many operators nowadays consider whether it makes sense to update certain systems functionally, for example to enable remote maintenance or more energy-efficient operation, or to wait until the budgets allow to invest in and purchase new systems.

Upgrade or Replacement?

There are several reasons why it may not be advisable to completely replace infrastructure systems:

  • The equipment has not yet been amortised / depreciated
  • New products are not technically advanced enough
  • Political or legal barriers
  • The new products cost much more in a complete rebuild
  • Most of the old systems are still functional and require only a minor update

On the other hand, there are reasons that force operators to make changes, such as switching off older mobile phone technologies or new legal requirements, such as equality laws, which require public transport operators to ensure that information is read out of electronic timetables for visually impaired passengers. Another example is technical wear and tear and ageing in electronic systems, such as dried up electrolytic capacitors or very old screens.

Ecological action as a sales argument for operators

Apart from the obvious economic reasons to expand and modify infrastructure instead of renewing everything, there is also an important ecological aspect today. At Parametric we believe that even in today’s throwaway society it is possible to repair, modify and sustainably operate systems in a cost-effective way so that they can meet the demands placed on them today and tomorrow.

Ecologically sound action begins on a small scale, for example with recyclable packaging made from renewable raw materials and compliance with the applicable laws regarding hazardous substances in electronic subsystems. Measures such as the advance recycling fee for electronic equipment are necessary locally, but do not help us to improve the situation in the global recycling market. It is still estimated that more than two thirds of all electronic equipment thrown away worldwide disappears without a trace.

Optimal support for durable systems in the infrastructure sector

This year, Parametric has continued to expand the new service centre with staff and machine support, so that repair, modification and general service work can be carried out to an even greater extent. It is essential to cover the entire spectrum of possible requirements with turnkey solutions:

  1. Repair of existing third-party systems due to technical reasons (ageing, replacement of components, etc.)
  2. Upgrading of systems including reengineering
  3. Complete “drop-in” replacement of systems with new technology

Modifications of system components in larger quantities are carried out directly at our service centre.

Examples of projects:

  • Installation of sensors for remote monitoring and alerting in existing systems
  • Replacement of control systems with modern edge computers and cloud solutions
  • Replacement of LCD screens with newer models
  • Interface conversion for connecting systems
  • Cloud-monitored solar power supply for battery operated systems
  • Installation of newer mobile phone technology due to the shutdown of 2G and 3G frequencies
  • Modification of systems for compliance with newer standards
  • Replacement and extension of the service life of power supply modules in existing control systems due to failures

Important for such projects are above all lean structures, process and engineering competence and high efficiency of the resources used.

In 2020, the Parametric Service Centre was already processing over 700 system parts, which means that over 700 kilograms of electronic waste were saved just by processing the subsystems.

We believe that in the future it will become even more important as a supplier and operator to include not only economic and social aspects but also the ecological aspect, and that this does not necessarily run counter to economic interests. Turnkey solutions in the maintenance sector from professionals for professionals are the basis for this.