New paths in Leverkusen

Working at full capacity in the winter season. Numerous measures to improve work processes. And a new plant manager, Sven Peters, on board. Our Leverkusen-Opladen maintenance workshop is well on track.

This last winter our team in Leverkusen-Opladen again did not have to complain about a lack of work. The shop floor was working at full capacity throughout and the staff had a job to finish all the orders on time. Even when many of them were hit by a flu epidemic, the team could still be relied on.

Change at the top

At the beginning of the year a personnel decision was made that would point the way for the future. Dirk Thormann, who had been in charge of the plant since its opening in the summer of 2010 and who shaped its continuous positive development, left Deutsche Plasser. We would like to take this opportunity here to thank him for his commitment and wish him all the best and success in his new position.

On 1st January 2018 Sven Peters took over as plant manager. Sven Peters is a qualified mechatronics engineer specialising in rail vehicle maintenance; there are only very few specialists of this kind in Germany. For twelve years he had been working all over the world at different companies in the complete refurbishment of Plasser & Theurer machines and as such has a vast array of valuable practical knowledge. He joined Deutsche Plasser in 2017 as production engineer and was appointed plant manager at Leverkusen-Opladen at the beginning of this year.

Competent, efficient and true to his word

When asked what his ambitions were for the new role, Sven Peters replied: “Two things are important for me: I would like to develop the workshop so that we can offer even more technical competence, efficiency and transparency to our customers. And secondly, I want to base this on handshake quality. To me, being partners means that we discuss things openly to start with and then stick to what we agreed. This is the only way to overcome all obstacles together.”

Clear points of contact for our customers

One of the new manager’s first tasks was to introduce a new organisational structure. The key idea behind this was to structure the processes more clearly and to make them more efficient. On the other hand, it was important to increase transparency for our customers. This means that these are now better informed about our specific offering and have clear points of contact in each area.

The following technology divisions were set up:

  • measurement and test engineering and electronics
  • guiding assembly, pneumatic brake system and installations subject to mandatory monitoring
  • mechatronics and commissioning
  • mechanics and hydraulics
  • painting
  • bogies, wheelsets and mechanical brake system
  • welding

The reconditioning of semi-finished products was added as a new workshop area. The pendulum and transducer workshop area, welding and electronics were expanded.

Training specialists for new technology sectors

The new organisation will also bring about a change in our training strategy. In the past all apprentices obtained qualifications in all areas of workshop activity. In future, they will be increasingly trained as specialists in individual technological sectors. This will make it possible to significantly raise staff competence.

Digitalisation of work processes

In addition to the new organisational structure, InfoBoard software was introduced. This means that the whole information chain, from suppliers to procurement, production and sales through to customers can now be presented in digital format. This will lead to better transparency of the processes because the individual work steps are much more visible. And it will increase flexibility because any changes will become visible for all involved at the push of a button.

Better orientation for our customers’ employees

Leverkusen-Opladen is known to regularly involve customers’ employees in the jobs. To make it easier for these employees to find their way, the shop floor has been divided up into new zones and labelled accordingly.

As Sven Peters has indicated, more changes are yet to be made. A range of new measures is already planned and will be implemented in the near future. The new drive in the Leverkusen-Opladen maintenance workshop will continue and ensure even better customer support.

Certification news

  • Certificate “Welding of railway vehicles and components as per EN 15085-2” with certification level CL1 according to DVS ZERT: We meet all the relevant requirements. Certificate valid from 6th December 2017 to 5th December 2020.
  • Certificate as per ECM - VO 445/2011 as maintenance supplier: We completed the required audit successfully in 2017 and hold the certificate to 14th September 2021.
  • The new plant manager Sven Peters is an expert authorised by the Eisenbahn-Bundesamt (EBA - German Federal Railway Office) for installations subject to mandatory monitoring as per Art. 33 of the Railway Construction and Operations Act:
  • installations for flammable liquids in rail vehicles
  • pressurised container installations in rail vehicles
  • explosive and battery installations in rail vehicles

This also increases our flexibility as we are not dependent on external specialists.

RM 800 Super 3S overhaul

One of the highlights this last winter was the overhaul of the RM 800 Super 3S from Hubert. The machine arrived at Leverkusen-Opladen on 6th November 2017 and left the shop floor on 16th March 2018. It became apparent once again how important the size and the equipment of the Leverkusen-Opladen plant are. The machine was put on the 120 m long workshop track 2 with a continuous pit. With the use of the numerous 35 t lifting jacks it was possible to lift the complete machine and disassemble and pull out all 11 bogies and bogie bridges simultaneously.

The following work was carried out:

  • co-operative overhaul and some repair work following diagnosis of the 22 (power) axles and axle gearboxes
  • checking the installations subject to mandatory monitoring (air reservoir/diesel tank/nitrogen accumulator and macrophones) and the pneumatic brake components
  • refurbishment of pump distribution gearboxes
  • cleaning gearboxes and renewal of gearbox components

Following acceptance by DB on 13th March 2018, the machine was picked up for its first deployment on 16th March 2018. A Deutsche Plasser service engineer and a specialist were present during this deployment, which was successful despite the cold and the snow. By the end of May 2018, the overhauled RM 800 Super 3S had already worked through 40 km of track.