Tamping track with irregular sleeper spacing

Plasser & Theurer’s proven tamping technology can be used under almost all operating conditions. Sometimes there are sections of track with irregular, heterogeneous sleeper positioning. That is why Plasser & Theurer offers customised tamping units for different types of superstructure. Thanks to these special models with additional adjustment mechanisms, there is nothing you can’t handle.


Synchronous 3-rail lifting unit for turnouts

For turnout tamping in the area of the long bearers, we offer an automatic, synchronous 3-rail lifting unit for the diverging rail. Using the lifting and lining unit, the track is raised synchronously. The length of the telescopic arm adapts automatically to the course of the rails as the machine moves forward. Particularly on heavy superstructures, the stresses on rail fastenings, rails, and sleepers are within the permissible range at all times. Equipping the work unit with a slewing limitation prevents infringement of the adjacent track clearance gauge during work.


Environmentally friendly lubricants  

High-performance, green lubricants are key to reducing our carbon footprint. Plasser & Theurer paved the way for this approach 22 years ago using organic lubricants manufactured by PANOLIN. 

High capacitySustainabilityErgonomics

Fit for the future of the railway

The latest track maintenance machines use both the electrical energy from the contact wire and batteries to power the working drive. Our new E³ drive technologies reduce local emissions - of both pollutants and noise – to a minimum on the work site.
At Plasser & Theurer, we have taken the classical tamping machine to a new level. The Unimat 09-4x4/4S E³ uses the electrical energy from the overhead contact line not only for electrical traction during transfer travel. It is also used to power the tamping unit electrically for the first time. The crucial working parameters remain unchanged. If there is no overhead contact line available for current collection, we use a diesel-electric generator to supply electrical power.

Potential savings per hour of operation

Sustainable tamping quality

Our seventy years of experience in tamping technology goes into the sturdy mechanical design of our tamping units. Nowadays we combine this knowledge with the latest sensor and control technology. Using our time-tested principle of non-synchronous constant pressure tamping, we adapt compaction to the ballast stone structure, creating a sturdy sleeper bed.

years of experience

The result counts

When it comes to tamping the ballast bed, our aim is efficiency and sustainability. Homogenous compaction is not enough. Our aim is to compact the track ballast as much as possible, thereby ensuring a stable track geometry, anticipating settlements, and maintaining the target geometry in the long term. On top of it all, we offer the Dynamic Track Stabiliser: it anticipates initial settlements in a controlled manner, with spatial compaction making the track geometry last longer.

Combined with Dynamic Overlifting, we target the “track’s memory” to prevent faults from reoccurring.

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Advantages of multi-sleeper tamping

However, continuously working MULTI-sleeper tamping machines show their full potential not only in short track possessions during maintenance tamping. Machines in the X series also offer advantages when laying new track, for example, following extensive track rehabilitation. They are designed for high lifting and lining forces. As lifts take place in multiple work stages, this also means the machine’s increased output allows you to complete construction noticeably faster.

For quality reasons: MULTI-sleeper tamping units provide more uniform working action, which translates into higher maintenance quality. Owing to a longer frame, bending stress of the rails decreases. And the subframe bogie that fixes it in place prevents elastic rebound of the track after tamping, lining, and lifting.

up to
sleepers tamped in a single operation
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Rotation speed modulation of tamping units

In addition to noise reduction, the rotation speed modulation enables fuel savings of up to 10 %. Moreover, it significantly reduces wear on the tamping units.

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fuel savings

Quality of tamping tines

Our high-quality tamping tines allow higher kilometre outputs and have to be replaced less often. In both cases, our original tamping tines have set the standard. Their design is crucial: they are produced as monobloc components forged in one piece and coated with a tungsten-carbide armour for all surfaces that come into contact with the ballast. 

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Continuous working action - increased output during tamping

30 years ago, a technical concept evolved from an idea to increase the cost efficiency of tamping work. It has continued to set standards even to this day. The technical basis was laid early on: the U-shaped design of the machine's main frame and the positioning of the work units between the axles. However, it was always necessary to accelerate and brake the entire machine mass to be able to tamp. Due to the separation into a continuously moving main frame and a cyclic-action subframe, less than 20 % of the machine mass has to be accelerated and braked.

less than
0 %
of the machine mass has to be accelerated

Split Head technology

Split Head tamping units for work on tracks, turnouts, and crossings are tamping units divided in longitudinal direction of the machine. Each of the two work unit halves can be lowered and put into action separately from the other. Additionally, both work unit halves, depending on the design, can be laterally displaced together or individually.
For operation on sections of plain track the two halves are locked together to form a tamping unit for tracks.

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4-rail tamping

This mode uses four tamping unit segments. The outer segments can be slewed out far enough that the long bearers of the diverging rail in the turnout can also be tamped. This is an ideal supplement to automated synchronous 3-rail lifting. Positioned on transverse guide columns, the inner tamping units can be displaced laterally. This enables them to be operated in the area inside and outside the respective rails. All four tamping units can be turned and thus adapted to the slanting position of the sleepers.


Noise protection and sound-insulating features

In the area of the work units, tamping machines can be equipped with lateral noise protection panels. This is important for the operation in densely built-up areas, for instance in Japan. 
To counteract possible generation of dust during the tamping process and to provide the operator with good visibility, particularly when using noise protection panels, a water spray system can be installed at the tamping units. It is activated when the tamping units are lowered and switched off when they are lifted.


Lifting and lining unit

On the basis of many years of experience, Plasser & Theurer has developed various lifting and lining units which fulfil both requirements and are well suited for specific operating conditions. 


This work unit is fitted with two lining rollers and two roller lifting clamps per rail, gripping the rail under the rail head. They lift and line in one operation.


This work unit has lifting hooks and lining rollers. On request, it is possible to mount additional roller lifting clamps. Lifting and lining is performed in one operation. The lifting hooks can be applied either under the rail head or under the rail base. The entire work unit can also be displaced in longitudinal direction. This ensures that the work unit can be adapted to every situation during turnout maintenance, achieving an optimum lifting and lining process.


Combined levelling and alignment laser

During track tamping, the combined levelling and alignment laser guides the tamping machine according to the precision method. Using this method, the laser beam is displayed on the laser receiver camera (at the tamping machine) and analysed according to its position.
The combined levelling and alignment laser also allows producing a particularly accurate turnout geometry. In doing so, the ideal geometric position of the turnout (in the through rail) is recorded along the laser reference line.


Tamping tine and ballast: teaming up

Thanks to a brand new measuring and analysis method, it is now possible for the first time to observe the movement behaviour of ballast throughout the entire tamping process. In addition, the method provides an unprecedented level of detailed insight into the ballast condition. 


Noise measurement

When the tamping units, which have electrically powered vibration shafts, are raised in idle mode, the noise is reduced by more than 20 dBA. The noise created in idle mode is 62 dBA, which is equal to the noise level of a normal conversation in the office.

-0 dBA
reduces noise