Smooth commissioning in Switzerland

In November 2016, commissioning of the Unimat 09-32/4S Dynamic E3universal turnout tamping machine of Krebs Gleisbau AG as well as staff training began in Dietikon, Switzerland.

On behalf of Deutsche Plasser, the service technician John Uwumarogie joined the experts of the manufacturer in their work, supporting the customer's staff during the first operations of the machines.

Plasser & Theurer's new E³ hybrid drive concept allows the machine to be powered either via a diesel engine or via an electric motor using the electrical energy of the contact wire. Independently of each other, both drive systems can generate the energy required, i.e. the hydraulic pressure for all systems, from the hydrostatic drive for transfer travel and work travel to the work units.

Hybrid concept creates new market opportunities

Krebs Gleisbau AG is the first Swiss contractor to set store by the new drive technology. In 2015, the company was awarded an international tender for track maintenance machine technology of SBB, BLS and TPF*. The contractors wanted offers for trendsetting and sustainable innovations in the operation of the track maintenance machines. Ultimately, the E3 hybrid drive system was crucial for winning the tender.

Deutsche Plasser joins commissioning and first work site operations

As early as in 2015, the preparation for this task started shortly after the contracts had been awarded. Staff members of the Technical Customer Service completed a specialist training in electrical engineering. During the machine manufacture, they spent several weeks at Plasser & Theurer in Linz to get to know the machine.

John Uwumarogie is one of the staff members who familiarised themselves with the machine in Linz. Being a high-voltage electrician, he is particularly qualified for servicing a machine of this kind. When in November 2016 the machine's commissioning began in Dietikon, Switzerland, he joined the manufacturer's service technicians and experts on site to carry out possible service works quickly and competently. In addition, he took part in the machine's first work site operations, for the last time in March 2017.

In mid-march, we were able to reach Mr Uwumarogie in Switzerland to talk about the commissioning of the machine.

Mr Uwumarogie, how did the commissioning of the machine go?

It went very well. The machine has been in service for three months. There have been no major problems. It was of course necessary to carry out some adjustments or repairs from time to time, but the operations were completed successfully.

So, the customer is satisfied with the machine?

Yes, indeed. The problems that occurred were absolutely normal for the commissioning of a new machine. We were able to solve them quickly. This allowed us to ensure the machine's high level of availability.

The machine's commissioning phase was scheduled to take three months, which is more time than for other machines. Why was this decision taken?

In general, the commissioning of a machine takes about ten shifts. Our long years of experience and the close collaboration with the manufacturer make it possible to solve problems, should they occur, and to smoothly integrate the machine into the operator's work flow.

Due to the new drive technology, more time was scheduled for this machine. As a result, the customer could rely on the smooth commissioning and we were able to gain valuable experiences that will benefit the commissioning of machines with E3 technology in future.

Where in Switzerland has the machine been used so far?

We have travelled a lot! Mainly in the German-speaking regions such as Margarethen, Bern and Zurich, but also in other regions, for instance close to Nyon. We had a good time. Now, however, I am looking forward to getting home and then, of course, to the next challenge.

*SBB – Swiss Federal Railways; BLS – Private Railway in Switzerland, contracted by seven cantons; TPF – Transports Publics Fribourgeois