ALSTOM Boosts Transportation Infrastructure and Efficiency by Utilizing Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2 and ComponentOne’s .NET Components

The Opportunity

  ALSTOM Transportation Inc. subway car technicians, swamped with the manual tasks necessary to track and search for electrical wires, longed for a fast and easy alternative. As a result, the developers at ALSTOM designed an application that addressed this need with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2 and ComponentOne’s suite of tools for the Microsoft .NET Framework, Componentone Studio for .NET 2005.

Benefits

  • On-the-fly searching, sorting, and filtering
  • More efficient time management for information retrieval

Eliminate Printing and Enable Filtering

ALSTOM Transportation Inc. subway car technicians, swamped with the manual tasks necessary to track and search for electrical wires, longed for a fast and easy alternative. As a result, the developers at ALSTOM designed an application that addressed this need with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2 and ComponentOne’s suite of tools for the Microsoft .NET Framework, ComponentOne Studio for .NET 2005. Using the features and benefits provided by these new technologies, ALSTOM’s new solution eliminated the need for printed documents, and introduced a system that allowed technicians to filter a large amount of information by performing complex searches of electrical wires, therefore reducing time, overall costs, and enabling them to work more efficiently on subway cars.

While architecting the solution, with input from several key end users, ALSTOM’s goal was to create an application that provided a streamlined and easy to use interface, and build a solution that provided users with a way to quickly access the information they needed. Once ALSTOM had a simple yet intuitive interface, the development of the remaining portions of the application happened very rapidly, due in large part to the features available in ComponentOne Studio for .NET components, True DBGrid For .NET and XLS for .NET.

Challenge and Design Solutions

With this project, ALSTOM faced several challenges and needed to design a solution that would overcome them. A catalogue of more than 5-pounds containing an unmanageable list of wire tags and device connections needed to be eliminated. Instead of manually searching through this large catalogue, ALSTOM was challenged with delivering a method for on-the-fly searching and sorting allowing their technicians to retrieve information in less time and with more accuracy than ever before.

To fill this need, they selected ComponentOne Studio for .NET, ComponentOne’s suite of components for the Microsoft .NET Framework, because it delivered the largest variety and highest quality components available anywhere. This particular toolset was determined to be easy to use and conveniently complimentary to the Visual Studio 2005 development environment, essentially enhancing the power of the developer’s toolbox, increasing the efficiency of the development cycle, and reducing development costs. ALSTOM heavily utilized ComponentOne Studio for .NET components including True DBGrid for .NET and ComponentOne XLS for .NET, as both offered the flexibility and feature set necessary to build an application to meet the needs of their users.

ALSTOM originally started this project using Microsoft Access as the backend for the database, however it became apparent rather quickly that it was difficult to maintain an updated database since the “wirelists” are updated daily. The “wirelist” was created in Excel, thus it was very easy to utilize ComponentOne’s XLS for .NET and True DBGrid for .NET. The XLS for .NET control allows the user to select the worksheet they need to display the wirelist, and then simply filter the information and print the documents or export to Excel or PDF rather than Access. As a result, subway electricians could simply filter out everything but the exact piece of equipment they were working on.

The solution was created to improve ALSTOM’s strategic goal with efficient information retrieval and easy to access resources; as a result this application utilized ComponentOne True DBGrid for .NET’s Filter Bar feature, a data filtering feature, within the grid application to quickly and accurately query the results they needed in real time. With the implementation of the application, ALSTOM provided a visual aspect of data to more than 200 users, increased productivity, and reduced time allotted for resolving issues. More specifically, they were able to manage time more efficiently by eliminating past procedures of information retrieval (searching, pulling information together, then printing it). As a result, the actual cost savings for the year resulted in over $10,000.

Better Time Management and Increased Productivity

Prior to this solution the technicians used printed documentation and manual labor to perform timely searches for electrical wires. After the solution was implemented with the help of ComponentOne’s Studio for .NET components, ALSTOM was able to better manage construction time for the subway transportation infrastructure, increase productivity, and save money. In the future, this application will be deployed to service sites in Alexandria, VA and Atlanta, GA.

This application was created by utilizing Windows XP SP2, Microsoft Access, Visual Studio .NET 2005 Beta 2, Microsoft Excel, and ComponentOne True DBGrid for .NET. This solution runs on Windows XP Professional, Windows 98, and Windows 2000.

About ALSTOM

ALSTOM designs, builds and services technologically advanced products and systems to meet the world’s growing energy and transport infrastructure needs. They serve the energy market via power generation, and the transport market through activities in rail transport and marine. ALSTOM has built power plants and have supplied 20% of the world’s installed capacity in power generation.

True DBGrid for .NET has some really cool features, and it provides easy solutions to common programming requirements. The Export to Excel and Export to PDF were really big time savers and enhanced my application that much more,” said Tom Russell, Test Technician and Software Developer at ALSTOM.

—Tom Russell, Test Technician and Software Developer, ALSTOM

About ALSTOM

Industry: Energy and Transport Infrastructure

Web: http://www.alstom.com/

 

Technologies

 

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