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How can IoT solutions help achieve Net Zero?

The Golden Rock Railway Workshop (officially the Central Workshop, Golden Rock, abbreviated GOC), in Ponmalai (Golden Rock), Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, is one of three railway workshops serving Indian Railways’ Southern Railway zone. With around 3,000 personnel, its responsibilities include diesel locomotive maintenance and the manufacture of various kinds of vans.

Harissh AS, Senior Sectional Engineer, GOC Workshop, Southern Railway

The GOC workshop has taken the lead in introducing technological interventions to monitor and optimise consumption and use of valuable resources like energy and water. At the Clean Rail Conference Chennai – organised by Clean India Journal Harissh AS, Senior Sectional Engineer, GOC Workshop, Southern Railway, took the audience through these IoT-based programs.

Energy conservation

Our workshop has developed its own IoT-based energy management system which monitors energy performance of various energy-intensive machines and substation meters. We have also developed an IoT-based system to monitor performance of certain electrical components on board, as well as climatic parameters of AC coaches on live basis.

Water conservation

We aim to become water-positive through intelligent monitoring of water resources. To accomplish this, we have installed calibrated electromagnetic EM water flow meter sensors with RS 485 communication port and display unit at ETPs, STPs and all incoming water points. Both flow rate and volume are monitored, and data is transmitted in real-time.

Once the data is in the Cloud, it can be retrieved in the form desired by the user, including user-friendly dashboards and web pages. Data gathered throughout the day or over a period of time may also be retrieved to track trends and variations.

Water usage

Automatic water level controllers have been installed in 8 overhead tanks (OHT) and sumps. The float mechanism with the controller shows a digital display of water level in the tanks and sumps. It also indicates the condition of the motor (on/off)). There are also connecting communication wires between the starter motor and new water level controller.

Since the entire operation is automated, there is no manpower needed for monitoring and switching the system on or off. This system eliminates overflow, hence also saving water. Such advanced monitoring and control has resulted in the saving of 40 kilolitres of water everyday.

Groundwater monitoring

The Ministry of Jal Shakti (Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation) has issued guidelines to regulate and control ground water extraction in India. These state that all new/existing industries extracting groundwater will be required to seek a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Central Ground Water Authority. All industries shall also be required to reduce their ground water use by at least 20% over the next three years through appropriate means.

The guidelines further state that the construction of observation well(s) and piezometer(s) within the premises and installation of appropriate water level monitoring mechanisms shall be mandatory for industries drawing/proposing to draw more than 10 m3 /day of groundwater. Non-installation of or faulty piezometer or water flow meter with telemetry system will invite a substantial fine.

The GOC workshop has taken the lead in responding to this by installing ground water level recorders with piezometers as recommended by CII and connecting the same through IoT. This system is useful for effective monitoring of the level of aquifers due to water usage and recharge at the GOC workshop. We can see the use of groundwater at any point in time, or over period of time; this helps us plan water usage.


As per the Central Ground Water Authority, Trichy’s Ground water level is 22.84 m. Due to our efforts, the measured ground water level at GOC workshop is 3.92 m.

Future challenges

  • Creating over the surface water distribution system
  • Eliminating multifarious overhead water tanks
  • Reviewing OHT supply to restrict borewell usage
  • Educating staff to conserve water


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