A typical case. The Unimat 08-475/4S Turnout Tamping machine has been in use for the maintenance and expansion of DB’s infrastructure since 1995. Since everybody was very happy with the machine’s performance, the operating company decided at the beginning of 2018 to have it fully upgraded by Deutsche Plasser.
The Unimat 08-475/4S is an important part of the modern machine fleet at the Joseph Hubert company. For many years, it has been used for turnout tamping and also for working short sections of track. With great success. After 23 years, the machine started to display signs of wear due to its age, and key components of the equipment were no longer state of the art. At the beginning of 2018, the company contacted Deutsche Plasser to discuss the possibility and commercial viability of a retrofit. At that point the machine was still in full operational use.
In August 2018, the Unimat 08-475/4S arrived at the Leverkusen-Opladen maintenance workshop for a major check-up. At the same time, we contacted Plasser & Thurer in Linz to find out which upgrade measures were possible without jeopardising the machine approval. Equipped with this information, we had another round of talks with the experts at Joseph Hubert. This was eventually used to define the scope of the contract and the timescale of the project.
The machine eventually arrived at the Leverkusen-Opladen maintenance workshop and, to start with, was completely dismantled. Hydraulics, measurement technology, cabs, work and drive units were fully disassembled. All that was left of the machine was the frame. Then the gradual rebuild began, starting with sanding down the frame, which was to be painted in line with the new machine design. Within about 9 months, the following work, amongst others, was carried out:
- Fitting a new hydraulic system (including valves)
- Partial renewal of the electrics
- Bogies overhaul
- Fitting a new, more powerful drive unit with exhaust gas treatment
- Reconditioning and installation of the work units (lifting and lining unit, telescopic shifting, additional lifting, shoulder compactor)
- Modification of the lining trolley to linear guidance
- Repair of the tamping units
- Installation of a digital DRP recorder and a SmartALC
- Paintwork in line with the new Plasser & Theurer machine design
In August 2019, the upgraded Unimat 08-475/4S left the Leverkusen-Opladen plant following extensive testing, and travelled straight to the next worksite. The machine has been in continuous operation since then. Subject to the maintenance regulations being met, this is expected to continue for years to come.