This article first appeared in the Railway-News Magazine Issue 4 2023.
Thinking of mobility in Italy, the first suspects that come to mind are probably rattling Vespas, swift Fiats and racy Ferraris.
However, this list ignores how important public transport is for the country. For Italy’s largest metropolitan regions – around the capital Rome and the commercial centre Milan – rail transport plays an important role. Several million inhabitants, not to mention the countless tourists, commute ‘in treno’. In Rome alone, three metro lines transport over one million people every day.
Manufacturer Hitachi Rail will produce the next generation of vehicles for the metro networks in Milan and Rome and will install a new two-stage spur gear drive from ZF. Reliability, high power density and, above all, weight savings were at the top of the list of requirements for the new rail drives. The last two rail drive generations of the metro fleets in Milan also came from the German company.
The time span between the award of the contract by the ATM Milan to Hitachi Rail and production maturity was just under 12 months. During this time, ZF developed a new, noise-improved gearing and optimised the spheroidal graphite cast iron housing. The result: at 307.5 kg (dry, without torque support and clutch), the unit weighs around ten percent less than its predecessor and also saves almost 30 percent on material costs. On the other hand, robustness and durability remain unchanged – they correspond to the proven ZF standard.
The orders from Milan and Rome are another success in the Italian market. The company has been present for over 20 years in a wide variety of Italian rail vehicles. To name some of the previous achievements in Italy, ZF has equipped the new trams in Torino with a hypoid spur gear and the Caravaggio platform with a helical gear, axle drive.
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