Digitalisation, alternative drive systems and new manufacturing methods are finding their way into track maintenance. To meet the infrastructure requirements of our time, it takes more than mere maintenance machines. We need to develop a global view on track maintenance.
Infrastructure managers, track maintenance contractors and machine manufacturers are facing great challenges to make the railway fit for the future. New approval regulations require new machine concepts. Sustainable infrastructure management needs a holistic view of the railway system. Methods for optimised planning, implementing and managing of the rail infrastructure (BIM Building Information Modeling) are increasingly being used. Future machine requirements will go far beyond machine manufacture. Digital technologies and artificial intelligence enable machines to evolve from classic track maintenance machines to smart, fully networked maintenance machines. Smart machines are increasingly becoming sensors that supply data on the infrastructure.
The term PlasserSmartMaintenance describes the smart machine in the context of optimised fleet management and track maintenance. Latest technologies and artificial intelligence automate machine operation. In addition, “The Assistant” makes it possible to document track maintenance works almost fully transparently. Machines increasingly supply data. This provides a holistic view of the rail infrastructure for infrastructure management. Following this approach, classic measuring tasks, until now exclusively carried out by track inspection vehicles, are finding their way into Plasser & Theurer tamping machines. The SmartALC’s new AutoSync function makes it possible to locate spot faults quickly, avoiding separate track recording runs after track maintenance. Modern image processing systems allow for a quantum leap in track recording speeds: the outer track geometry can be determined at significantly increased speeds. The PlasserMotionDrive traction concept is yet another milestone in environmental protection. The machines from the Unimat 09-4x4/4S series are the first to use it. The E³ technology uses green traction current, which benefits the environment and enables significant cost reductions. Compared to conventional drive concepts, it allows for savings of more than EUR 200,000 per year. The machines from the Unimat 09-4x4/4S series are also the first to use Plasser & Theurer’s new platform strategy: PlasserModularCustomizing is the way into the future. Machines can be put together on a modular basis, making it possible to approve them more easily and in less time.