Vossloh at InnoTrans 2022: Innovative products and services for greater availability of the rail track
Vossloh, a long-established and world-leading supplier of innovative rail infrastructure products and services, is presenting its new and further developments at the world's largest rail trade fair InnoTrans in Berlin under the motto "enabling green mobility". Green mobility is the key to mastering some of the most pressing challenges of our time. Population growth, urbanization and climate change mean that more and more people and goods have to be transported sustainably. This can only be achieved by rail. No other mode of transport has a better climate balance. As the expansion of the rail network in Europe is limited and not possible to the necessary extent in the short term, the availability of existing lines must be increased.
Vossloh contributes to this with its large portfolio of products and services together with its high innovative strength and digital competence. On the one hand, Vossloh develops and manufactures products that are increasingly durable, require less maintenance, and are more environmentally friendly. On the other hand, Vossloh enables the maintenance of the rail network to be made more efficient, in particular through the use of digital technologies. Condition data of the rail track are recorded by sensors stationary in the track or mobile via maintenance machines. A systemic understanding of the track is crucial for evaluating the data and converting it into concrete recommendations for action. This enables Vossloh to offer its customers tailored, condition-based maintenance solutions with the aim of maximizing track availability and the service life of the rail infrastructure.
Visitors of the booth can immerse themselves in three different thematic worlds: "Advanced infrastructure", "Future turnout environment", "Smart maintenance". These topics address the most urgent challenges of customers with regard to an efficient and available rail infrastructure.
In the first thematic world Advanced infrastructure, for example, the innovative composite sleeper (Engineered Polymer Sleeper, EPS) is presented as a resource-saving and sustainable alternative to the conventional wooden sleeper. The material developed by Vossloh consists of sand and almost exclusively recycled raw materials and makes the product comparatively inexpensive, recyclable, versatile and particularly durable. At 50 years, it lasts about twice as long as a wooden sleeper. The new M-generation tension clamp, which also is presented at the stand, can also boast similar advantages. Its innovative geometry with outwardly bent spring arms increases the natural frequency and thus makes it particularly robust, durable and reduces life cycle costs. In addition, the product can score with a significantly better carbon footprint due to a new type of micro-steel alloy and a more compact design.
The focus of the Future turnout environment is on the turnout. It is the most complex and at the same time the most maintenance-intensive element of the rail track. With Vossloh's product innovation 'PM-DiagBox', analogue point machines can be transformed into smart systems and performance fluctuations can be detected at an early stage. Real-time data analysis via a cloud-based platform solution developed by Vossloh allows the asset manager to take appropriate maintenance measures. The 'V-Drone concept' presented for the first time also serves the purpose of increasing track availability. The use of special drones allows the digital-based inspection of track sections in need of rehabilitation during ongoing operations, i.e. without having to close the respective lines. The transmitted data is evaluated with the help of algorithms and transferred into three-dimensional models. This allows the modernization of the track network to be carried out more efficiently, safely and transparently without compromising availability.
Condition-based rail maintenance is the focus of the Smart maintenance topic. By equipping the unique high-speed grinding machines with state-of-the-art sensor technology condition detection, processing and re-measurement of the rail can take place in parallel in one and the same shift. The condition data is collected in real time, processed using algorithms and visualized in the mapl-e platform, including concrete recommendations for action. Through the growing database over time, trends and forecasts on the development of wear can be made as a basis for predictive maintenance. In the future, Deutsche Bahn will also increasingly rely on this technology for preventive maintenance of its highly utilized track sections.
"Through the possibilities of digitalization, we are building a bridge between our traditional product business and our wide range of services. This is where Vossloh's uniqueness lies. The sensor-based recording of the condition of components in the track allows us, on the one hand, to develop better products and, on the other, to offer tailor-made solutions for the sustainable mobility of tomorrow," says Oliver Schuster, CEO of Vossloh AG, adding: "With our extensive portfolio of pioneering innovations, we are once again impressively underlining our technological leadership and customer orientation."
Positive market outlook for rail infrastructure
Continuing the tradition that has existed since 2006, the Association of the European Railway Industry (UNIFE) presented its "World Rail Market Study" again this year at the InnoTrans. Traditionally, the representatives of the association take a look back and give an outlook on the expected development in the coming years. According to the UNIFE experts, the accessible market for rail infrastructure continued to grow despite substantial adverse effects from the corona pandemic. Comparing the two periods 2017 - 2019 and 2019 - 2021, the infrastructure market was able to grow by an average of 2.3% per year, slightly below the originally predicted growth of 2.6%.
The association representatives' view of the future is much more optimistic, especially for rail infrastructure. For the forecast period 2025 - 2027, they expect the annual growth of the accessible rail infrastructure market to average 3.8%, adjusted for inflation. This is noticeably higher than the expected growth of the overall rail market and corresponds to a significant increase compared to the forecast of the previous study.
Vossloh is a global technology group that has stood for quality, safety, customer orientation, reliability and innovative strength for over 135 years. With its comprehensive range of rail-related products and services, Vossloh is one of the world market leaders in this sector. Vossloh offers a uniquely broad range of products and services under one roof: Rail fastening systems, concrete sleepers, switch systems and crossings as well as innovative and increasingly digital-based services for the entire life cycle of rails and switches. Vossloh uses its systemic understanding of the track to address the central customer need of "availability of the rail track".
Vossloh products and services are used in more than 100 countries. With some 80 group companies in around 30 countries and over 35 production locations, Vossloh is active on the ground worldwide. Vossloh is committed to sustainable corporate governance and climate protection and with its products and services makes an important contribution to the sustainable mobility of people and goods.The Group's activities are divided into three divisions: Core Components, Customized Modules and Lifecycle Solutions. In fiscal 2021, Vossloh generated sales of €942.8 million with around 3,600 employees.