In addition to the machine presentations and the information stands, there was a wide range of seminars to interest the trade visitors. Introduced in 2013, "iaf-Salon" has become an ideal and well-attended platform for the exchange of know-how.
The seminars offered by VDEI-Akademie für Bahnsysteme covered all fields crucial to track maintenance. Experts from the fields of research, practical construction, machine manufacturing and railway operation presented the current standard of technology in their talks.
Hannes Steinwenker, Plasser & Theurer, and Markus Kreisel, Kreisel Electric
Greater environmental awareness, low work shift returns, rising fuel prices and high staff costs - sustainable network management is more in demand than ever before.
By 2020, DB intends to reduce CO2 emissions by 20 % (compared to 2006). The EU Climate Goals comprise a reduction of the CO2 emissions by 80 to 95 % by 2050.
The presentation focused on latest developments in track maintenance, supporting the railways in this field. Specialists by Plasser & Theurer and Kreisel Electric showed that continuous innovation and technological progress have already introduced the future of track maintenance. Hybrid drives or fully electrically powered work units enable significant increases in energy efficiency: from 70 % to more than 90 %. Energy and logistics costs can be reduced by about 65 %. The electric drive of the new machines significantly extends their fields of application, particularly in urban areas, tunnels and during night-time operation.
Hannes Steinwenker, Plasser & Theurer:
"The E3 drive concept by Plasser & Theurer is a holistic, forward-thinking approach: lowering noise and emissions, increasing ecology, and reducing fuel costs to ensure cost-efficient machine operation."
Markus Kreisel, Kreisel Electric:
"It has been a particular challenge to ensure 250 kWh on the new HTW 100 E3 by Plasser & Theurer, while using little space only. To make this possible, we built one of the lightest batteries with an increased energy density."
Florian Auer, Plasser & Theurer
The digital revolution has changed the entire railway industry and track measuring technology in particular. This is not only true for track recording cars but also for entire machine fleets. Maintenance and servicing concepts are subject to profound changes.
In his presentation, Florian Auer showed how Plasser & Theurer takes advantage of the opportunities created by digitisation, focussing on the products and product families created.
Florian Auer, Plasser & Theurer:
"We do not want to change well-proven, top technologies, but make them even better using the opportunities created by digitalisation."
For us, industry 4.0 stands for the digital network of the product, customer and manufacturer. It takes places fully digitally. What are the well-proven, good old values of track maintenance machines? High capacity, quality, precision and process reliability. The railway system can only work properly, when all components interact optimally. Ergonomic design, intelligent simplicity, condition-based maintenance and transparency are new values added. Digitisation provides the basis for this.
"Track has become ever more cost-effective. Quality pays off - the premium product ballasted track is a cost-efficient solution. We supply the tools allowing works to be carried out even more easily in future. Advancing digitisation creates opportunities that result in a win-win situation."
Further seminars concentrated on our machine portfolio. The focus was placed on diverse aspects of ballast bed cleaning.
Roman Hauke, Plasser & Theurer, gave an overview on well-proven and new procedures. He introduced the latest machine systems for ballast cleaning and explained how ballast is processed intelligently today.
Contributing significantly to the understanding of track construction, two reference books on the topic were introduced at iaf 2017.
Florian Auer, Senior Expert Track Technology at Plasser & Theurer, presented "Rail Infrastructure Management within the European Context”. It is volume 1 of a five-part compendium with the title “Best Practice of Sustainable Track Maintenance”. The aim of the compendium is to present the complex interrelations between technology, economics, law, and transport policy in track maintenance in a structured manner for all concerned. Volume 2 will focus on the design of railway installations. It will be published in 2018.
Leon Zaaymann, international track expert from South Africa, introduced the second edition of „The basic principles of mechanized track maintenance“. His book aims at experts in railway infrastructure and shows the importance of RAMAS (Reliable, Available, Maintainable, Affordable and Safe) for track construction and maintenance today.
Another presentation centred on ballast bed cleaning on French high-speed lines. Marc Ledet, SNCF, and Christophe Burle, Colas Rail, showed impressively how the contractor's requirements and the supplier's implementation can trigger maximum outputs. The consistent optimisation of the operation of the RM 900 HD-100 ballast cleaning machine and the consist of tamping, stabilising and ballast distributing machines has produced significant results. Following cleaning and a first maintenance pass, travelling speeds could be raised from 120 km/h to 160 km/h. Precisely adjusted transition ramps enabled savings of 30 minutes per night. In addition, optimised machine composition has made it possible to reduce the number of staff required.
The experts had some important advice for machine operators: "The efficiency of our machines is 99.5%, thanks to the spare parts store on our machines that allows transporting two of each spare part, and due to the fact that regular maintenance is carried out during the day."