A New Take on Machine, Fleet, and Infrastructure
Cost-efficiency remains the main goal of mechanised track construction. However, sustainability, digitalisation, and life-long support for machines and customers have been shaping daily work routines more and more. The family business Plasser & Theurer has a proactive approach to this change. The Austrian full-range supplier is expanding its services using the strategy “Machine – Fleet – Infrastructure.” Innovative technologies and a global service strategy are key to the company’s approach.
Machines offering complete system solutions for track construction and maintenance are among Plasser & Theurer’s signature products. They have laid the basis for the company’s position as technology leader and will continue to be an important focus in the future.
Two Very Specific Product Lines Dominate the Range of Machines
The first product line consists of machines produced using a platform strategy; they are in the “ModularCustomizing” category. High-performance tamping machines are the clearest example of how this manufacturing strategy works: customers have 100 configuration options they can use to turn ideas about their individual requirements into reality. “ModularCustomizing” makes fleet management much easier: standardisation not only makes maintenance and spare parts management more efficient, training and approvals also benefit from this efficiency. All modular extensions ensure uniform technical design and quality.
The second product line comprises “Individual Design” machines. Custom-built with premium precision, they are heavily inspired by customers’ practical experiences.
A typical example is the recently delivered RUS 1000 S, a high-capacity machine. It combines track renewal with ballast bed cleaning. The machine replaces sleepers, rail fastenings, and rails during a single track possession. At the same time, it also cleans the ballast bed. As the machine consolidates the ballast layer-by-layer and features integrated tamping and compacting, trains can travel along the new track as soon as the maintenance work is done. The SVB 800 ME, which was manufactured specifically for assignments in France, can handle similar tasks.
Customer Services Boosts Life-Long Support on an International Scale
Machine reliability is more important than ever for companies operating track maintenance machines. This means manufacturers need to optimise how they provide support for machine fleets’ entire service life. Plasser & Theurer can rely on its recently reorganised global service network, which has been growing for decades.
In addition, Plasser & Theurer is in the process of substantially expanding its service portfolio to meet customers’ needs for their machines’ entire service lives. This is a complex task for machines that have been operating over 30 years.
VEDO and Retrofit Get Older Machines Back into Shape
Plasser & Theurer’s customers will find two new services especially interesting: the VEDO service package, which comprises all services required to return a machine to top condition within the scope of the first general overhaul. Then there is the Retrofit programme: machines that are 20-30 years old are retrofitted so they can operate another 10 to 12 years. Retrofit has two major advantages: the machines are operational again in only 6 to 8 months. And the cost-benefit ratio is fantastic to boot.
Maintenance Contracts Ensure Availability of Entire Fleets
These maintenance contracts are offered for single machines or entire fleets. Either way, this guarantees maximum machine availability. The latest contract with SCNF, France’s national railway company, guarantees a 92% availability rate for 33 machines. A similar contract was concluded with the Italian RFI: 13 tamping machines in operation throughout Italy are being serviced by Plasser Italiana. A new international team is developing additional services that provide support for machines’ entire service lives.
Digital Tools Bring Track Maintenance and Infrastructure Closer Together
Plasser & Theurer is using digitisation as a way to automate machines further. Most recently, the turnout tamping assistance system “PlasserSmartTamping – The Assistant” helps operating staff to manage the machine’s operating systems.
And the potential for key players in infrastructure is no less exciting. They will appreciate how digital information about everything, from commissioning to proof of work, is always readily available. At the same time, Plasser & Theurer is also developing digital tools that record the track in full. The EM100VT track recording car serves as a development platform: its measuring runs are twenty times faster than those performed with more dated techniques. The data it records forms the backbone of modern Building Information Modeling (BIM). BIM speeds up structural planning, construction, and operation. It also decreases susceptibility to faults, makes costs more transparent, and promotes cooperation between all project stakeholders. In addition, this highlights Plasser & Theurer’s aim to offer railway systems substantial support in the digitalisation of infrastructure.
Plasser & Theurer Remains a Pioneer
Plasser & Theurer has been the world’s technology leader in the field of track maintenance machines for 67 years. Numerous developments in a wide range of fields will ensure it retains this position for years to come. At the same time, the Austrian family business is in the process of expanding its customer services on a large scale. That makes them your first point of contact for your track maintenance machine needs.
Plasser & Theurer in Brief
- Founded in 1953
- Around 1,900 members of staff in Austria
- Around 4,000 members of staff worldwide, at 19 partner firms throughout the world and in Austria
- Range of products: Machines and systems for laying and installing, renewing and maintaining tracks and overhead lines
- More than 16,500 heavy-duty machines supplied to 109 countries
- Export rate of 96 %
- Main factory in Linz
- Head office in Vienna
- Service, repair and spare parts depots all over the world
- Largest sale markets overall: Germany, USA, Great Britain, Japan, India, France, Austria, Spain, Brazil, Australia
- Customers: railway operators, construction firms, urban transport authorities, industrial and mine railways
- More than 2,000 active patents
- 12 international certificates/qualifications (such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 50001)