A blessing in disguise

Retrofit and repair after a collision

It all began with an accident. In 2018, the 08-16/90 compact tamping machine operated by Scheuchzer was damaged to such an extent during a rear-end collision that the company wanted to scrap the machine. Then Deutsche Plasser received a phone call that would change everything. Now the machine is in the Leverkusen-Opladen workshop and is not only being repaired but undergoing a full retrofit.

Tamping machines like the 08-16/90 are highly appreciated by many track construction companies. Scheuchzer has four of these compact machines and for decades has been using them very successfully for projects in Switzerland. However, one of these machines was severely damaged in a rear-end collision in 2018. At a first glance, it looked as if the extent of the damage would leave no other option than to scrap the machine. The company contacted Deutsche Plasser for a damage appraisal. This completely changed the sequence of events.

Repair and retrofit instead of scrapping

Scheuchzer had not realised that it was possible to repair the machine and upgrade it at the same time. At InnoTrans 2018, an initial conversation took place between Scheuchzer and Deutsche Plasser. It became clear that Scheuchzer had actually considered buying a new machine. However, one deciding point was that the 08-16/90 has ideal prerequisites for certain uses in Switzerland and that structurally identical machines are no longer manufactured. Repair and retrofit therefore presented an opportunity to continue operating the well-proven machine - year of manufacture 1993!

The greatest challenge of the project was the customer’s specification to install a latest-generation Caterpillar engine. This is an extremely powerful small engine that has sufficient power to drive the machine and also meets all current ecological requirements. Furthermore, the old tamping unit was to be replaced, a lifting and lining unit installed and the hydraulic system modified such that the conveyor on the trailer could be operated in accordance with the customer request. The re-construction of the main frame that will replace the original frame would require another great effort.

In April 2019, the complete requirements specification went to Plasser & Theurer in Linz, where in the same year a separate design department specifically for retrofit projects was founded. By June 2019, all the technical documentation for the modification of the 08-16/90 had been prepared. Within a very short time, taking into consideration that around 85% of the machine had to be redesigned and the weight issue had to be solved because of the new engine and the new tamping equipment. Not to mention the fact that no other supplier would have had the technical know-how to carry out a retrofit of that extent on a machine of that age.

A question of economic efficiency

In January 2020, Deutsche Plasser submitted the final proposal. The contract volume corresponds to approximately 50 % of the purchase price of an equivalent new machine. Since April 2020, the machine has been at our Leverkusen-Opladen workshop.

Scheuchzer is very pleased that they will be able to operate their own machine again in future. We will keep you updated on the progress of this project.