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Looking forward to InnoTrans 2018

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Seen from above during the InnoTrans exhibition, which this year runs from 18 to 21 September, Berlin’s exhibition complex is impressive. 200,000 square metres (that’s over two million square feet) of internal floor space spread across 41 halls, and 3,500 metres of railway tracks on which sit 140 vehicles of all shapes and sizes, from high-speed trains to construction machines.

Inside, more than 3,000 exhibitors from 60 countries will show off their products and services to the 140,000 visitors who come to see them. Exhibitors from as far afield as Bahrain, Belarus, Egypt, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates will be joined by New Zealand for the first time.

119 UK companies will be exhibiting at InnoTrans 2018, from Abtus (Hall 22 stand 102 – rail measurement) to Zetica Rail (Hall 23 stand 209 – trackbed condition measurement services and systems). In fact, even more British exhibitors than that will actually be there – either those which have booked stands through their German subsidiaries or companies who are themselves subsidiaries of foreign groups that have booked space through head office. For example, WSP, although actually a US group, is classified as German in the exhibitors list.

However they are classified, there will be plenty to see this year, as at every InnoTrans. 1,680 exhibitors showing Railway Technology join 589 with Railway Infrastructure, 404 involved in Pubic Transport, 295 suppliers of Railway Interiors and so on. It would therefore be impossible to preview them all, so please forgive us as we cherry-pick a few that visitors to the show may find interesting.

Alstom - H3 locomotives at the Port of Hamburg.

Alstom – H3 locomotives at the Port of Hamburg. Photo: Alstom.

The big boys (and girls)

Alstom (3.2/306 and outdoors), as a mobility maker in the era of digitalisation, will showcase its latest developments aimed at improving the experience of passengers, as well as innovations that empower operators, allowing them to improve their transport offerings and serve cities more efficiently.

On display will be Iconis, a security control centre, and Mastria, a multimodal supervision solution that demonstrates the way advanced data analytics will be central to the future of urban mobility. Infrastructure innovations will include SRS for trams and buses, as well as APS for road – both cutting-edge, ground-based solutions for vehicle charging and power-supply.

External displays include a full-scale model of the Coradia Stream for Trenitalia – named Pop by the Italian operator, this train has been designed for operation in the different Italian regions. An H4 will also be at InnoTrans – the new Prima H3 and Prima H4 locomotives offer optimal shunting performance coupled with world-class energy efficiency, being available with a variety of motive power options including hybrid.

Bombardier (2.2/101 and outdoors) will have a highly digital display, featuring multi-touch screens allowing visitors to configure mobility solutions adapted to the needs of different types of cities, from stable urban environments to megacities, fast-growing cities or even greenfield settings.

A virtual reality exhibit will take visitors on an immersive 360° experience in cities across the world, be it on the Innovia monorail in Bangkok, a Flexity tram in Zürich or a Movia metro in Stockholm. An interactive presenter explores all elements of the value chain and helps customers consider the advantages of a complete mobility solution, including options for signalling, operations and maintenance and components.

Talent3, Bombardier’s battery train, developed for service on non- or partially electrified lines with innovation funds awarded during the last InnoTrans and equipped with a Mitrac traction battery, will be running on a test track near Berlin at the time of InnoTrans. It will enter service in 2019, the first electric battery train to do so in more than 60 years.

With battery power, non-electrified sections of the track are easily bridged with quiet, clean, fully electric trains, removing the need for high-emission diesel engines and train interchanges, reducing travel times and improving service.

Austrian State Railways (ÖBB) will exhibit a Bombardier Talent3 EMU from its Cityjet fleet in the outdoor display on track 8/400.

A Bombardier Talent3 train operated by ÖBB. Photo: Bombardier.

A Bombardier Talent3 train operated by ÖBB. Photo: Bombardier.

Siemens (4.2/202 and outdoors) is taking “Shaping Connected Mobility” as its theme this year. Among the highlights of its displays, both inside and out, will be the Digital Station, Interlocking in the Cloud and new Velaro Novo high-speed train with 30 per cent lower energy consumption.

Railway stations are vital hubs for intermodal urban transport. Only by ensuring that transfers between various transport modes are reliable, seamless, convenient and time-saving will growing numbers of people use the most efficient and eco-friendly transport mode – public transport systems. Siemens’ Digital Station solutions cover a broad spectrum of functions, ranging from infrastructure management and universal intermodal travel information to data analytics needed to continuously optimise operations. These are intended to help operators achieve 100-percent availability, increase passenger throughput and improve travel comfort – important prerequisites for providing attractive public transport.

The Interlocking in the Cloud is intended to revolutionise long-distance rail transport. With this system, interlockings as well as operator control logic can, in the future, be centralised at one location, free of spatial limitations. This will give operators unprecedented flexibility and generate cost savings for their infrastructure and operations – naturally without any compromises in safety and security. Siemens is already working with partners on implementing this advanced technology.

Velaro Novo is a systematic further development of the three preceding generations of Velaros. Numerous innovations and improvements have resulted in a train that consumes 30 per cent less energy and substantially reduces investment and maintenance costs while, at the same time, providing a ten per cent increase in capacity.

With its ‘empty tube’ concept and numerous configuration possibilities, the Velaro Novo is future-proof and can be flexibly adapted to meet new design concepts and operator needs, even after years in operation.

Stadler (2.2/103 and outdoors), the train manufacturer with production sites in Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Poland, Hungary, Belarus and the USA, will showcase no fewer than seven vehicle concepts this year:

  • The first completed half-train for Berlin S-Bahn;
  • One of ten Eurodual Co-Co freight locomotives being built for Havelländische Eisenbahn;
  • An electric double-decker multiple-unit for the Lake Malar region west of Stockholm where it will run under the brand name Mälartåg;
  • A Traverso electrical multiple-unit for the SOB Voralpen-Express line, Switzerland;
  • One of 17 underground trains being built for the Glasgow Subway – the world’s smallest underground network with a track gauge of 1,219mm and tunnel diameters of just 3.4 metres;
  • Even smaller in terms of gauge, a ‘Worbia’ one-metre train for Swiss regional transport operator Bern-Solothurn (RBS) which is fitted with eight instead of six pairs of doors along its 60-metre length;
  • An example of Greater Anglia’s new bi-mode FLIRT trains (Classes 745 and 755) which will replace the existing regional, Intercity, and Stansted Express trains.

Siemens Velaro Novo. Photo: Siemens.

Siemens Velaro Novo. Photo: Siemens.

Digital technology

ERTMS Solutions (23/301) creates innovative products that alter the railway signalling world. It not only operates as the only company of its kind to offer testing, maintenance, and software protocol services that are compatible with the European ERTMS/ETCS railway signal standards, it also maintains the agility to tailor its products to existing national standards.

Alongside its partner DMA, ERTMS Solutions will be demonstrating how to do preventive maintenance with its LifeCheck measurement instruments, to use ontologies (knowledge as a set of concepts within a domain and the relationships that hold between them) for IT integration and how to test ERTMS requirements.

Frauscher Sensortechnik (25/232), as digitalisation opens up new possibilities in generating a wide range of highly valuable information, combines proven best-in-class technologies with new digital ideas to create intelligent wayside sensors that deliver accurate data. Consistent development, using the latest technology, has taken track vacancy detection and condition-based maintenance to the next level.

Visitors are invited to meet Frauscher’s experts at its stand and have a look at the current developments, concerns and solutions in the railway industry, helping them to prepare for the upcoming challenges the railway industry has to offer.

R2P (4.1/209), the rapidly growing group headquartered in Flensburg, Germany, operates internationally in 45 countries and has subsidiaries in Denmark, UK, Switzerland, Australia, Malaysia and Brazil. With a silent partnership in Taiwan, a sales office in the Czech Republic and local manufacturing in India, R2P takes pride in being a truly global company.

At InnoTrans, R2P will be exhibiting its IP-based system solutions for public transport covering communication, security and monitoring applications. The fully integrated portfolio of hard- and software products for passenger and fleet flow management R2P offers include CCTV, Passenger Information Systems (PIS), Passenger Announcement (PA), passenger counting, infotainment and fleet management with real-time data transfer and analysis for rail and road vehicles. As of July 2018, HQ Equita acquired R2P and OpenAccess to build a leading player in the fast-growing market for intelligent digital public transport solutions.

Televic Rail (2.1/401) has, since 1985, equipped more than 25,000 rail vehicles worldwide with communication and mechatronics systems. At InnoTrans 2018, Televic will showcase its innovations for passenger information, video surveillance and condition-based monitoring.

Those who visit the stand will have a glimpse of a variety of visual passenger information products, experience Televic Rail’s newest seat reservation system and gain insight into the real-time operational condition of tracks and trains with COSAMIRA.

TrainFX (2.1/417), based in Derby, will be exhibiting its next-generation dynamic, end-to-end, seat reservation system.

The Closer system brings together seat reservation, wayfinding, passenger counting, customer loyalty and TrainFX’s seat sensor technology. It adds to the ecosystem TrainFX currently provides as a lead innovator in the supply and development of real-time passenger information and communication technology for rail.

The Closer dynamic seat reservation system establishes operational efficiencies such as the ability to monitor passenger tidal flow trends and minimising revenue losses while giving customers the possibility of reserving seats on trains already in service. TrainFX’s seat sensor technology can distinguish between passengers and luggage and, coupled with at-seat displays and mobile train crew and customer apps, brings the possibility of better seat-allocation management and at-seat services to personalise the customer experience.

Closer has been developed by TrainFX, together with academic and industrial partners, and has been the successful culmination of a two-year project that was funded by Innovate UK to the tune of £1.2 million.

R2P passenger information screen. Photo: R2P.

R2P passenger information screen. Photo: R2P.

Infrastructure Engineering

CableGuardian (9/202), a new technology developed by Viper Innovations, is being launched at InnoTrans 2018. It monitors electrical faults in real time on live low-voltage unearthed electrical systems used within rail networks, informing the operator about the health status of the system using an intuitive graphical interface, potentially saving rail networks millions in fault finding costs and potential fines for service disruption.

The system can detect the location of both insulator and conductor faults helping operators meet the increasingly demanding regulations pertaining to maintenance regimes. CableGuardian was developed in close collaboration with Network Rail and meets the Intelligent Assets and Condition Monitoring challenge statement for electrical power.

Cable Guardian is currently on trial with a major UK rail infrastructure company.

Nextsense (23/515), the technology leader in the field of optical profile measurement in the railway industry, will present a new module for its multifunctional Calipri profile-measuring device at InnoTrans 2018.

Besides track geometry cars, the Calipri ‘Rail Geometry’ module is a portable system which makes checking the geometric parameters of a track layout simple. A patented measuring method ensures that results are not affected by outside influences such as the operator and the rail surface.

Pandrol (23/210), the global leader in rail infrastructure solutions, is set to put on a show by exhibiting its four specialisms at the Innotrans 2018 exhibition: rail fastenings, aluminothermic welding, electrification and equipment and control.

The company will also be hosting ‘ask the expert’ sessions, where its technical specialists will be running short seminars on topical issues relating to rail infrastructure. Topics will include a look at Pandrol Connect, data processing with the company’s smart monitoring systems, the latest developments in delivering very soft floating slab solutions for urban environments, the development of sustainable rail track tool technology, driving pre-assembly efficiencies with use of robotics and the latest innovation in plinth technology and how it improves quality, reduces labour and offers flexibility in fastening choice.

There will also be an interactive screen on the stand, which will showcase the latest projects in which the company has been involved in providing global solutions.

Plasser & Theurer introduces digitisation into track maintenance. Photo: Plasser & Theurer.

Plasser & Theurer introduces digitisation into track maintenance. Photo: Plasser & Theurer.

Plasser & Theurer (26/222 and outdoors) will have two machines on display on the outdoor tracks, with only one of them being a track maintenance machine. The other will be its EM100VT, a recording car that sends data on absolute track geometry, via the cloud, directly to the maintenance machine.

It combines an inertial track geometry measurement system with a novel optical fixed-point procedure and GNSS/GPS geo-reference data. Previously, absolute track geometry could only be measured during special track possessions at walking speed. The new method is the first to capture absolute track geometry at speeds of over 100km/h.

Powerlines Group (26/226) is presenting itself as a system supplier for rail electrification. The Group’s entire portfolio – from consulting, engineering, product development and distribution, through to installation and maintenance – is to be showcased to international customers on its stand.

In particular, Powerlines will be exhibiting its innovative GRP mast, overhead line components and the 3rd rail system for underground electrification.

Robel Bahnbaumaschinen (26/234), the well-known manufacturer of railway construction and maintenance machines, will be featuring two of its recent developments.

The Rogrind HF Head is the first railhead-grinding machine that comes in two parts. A small, powerful DC motor replaces the combustion engine generally used for grinding machines. Some distance away, at the end of a spark-safe connection cable, stands the second module – a portable unit consisting of a petrol engine, generator and supercapacitor. While this arrangement protects the operator from exhaust fumes and noise and the combustion engine from grinding dust, the biggest advantage is the weight reduction and the convenience it brings – two times 50 kilograms are far easier to transport and position than 100 kilograms in one piece.

A logic-controlled grinding-head feed and Robel’s patented fine-grinding method give a perfect result, even if the operator lacks experience. This was borne out when the new Rogrind HF Head recently won the Network Rail Award for most innovative small plant.

The other new Robel introduction is the Rorunner system of modular engineering trains. The basic combination of two on-track machines and one transport wagon can also be equipped with a drainage cleaning system, a wire drum or a scissor lift. This reduces the fleet, saves time and cuts cost. Two such systems were recently handed over to Transport for London for use on the Elizabeth line (Crossrail).

Rosehill Rail level crossing installation at Snaith, East Yorkshire.

Rosehill Rail level crossing installation at Snaith, East Yorkshire.

Rosehill Rail (21/201), no strangers to InnoTrans, has an ongoing mission to set new standards for rail crossings. With approvals from rail authorities worldwide, the manufacturer’s innovation in rail crossing systems is clear.

At this year’s international trade fair, Rosehill Rail will be showcasing its innovative, engineered rubber rail crossing systems – the Connect Road Crossing System and the Baseplated System, along with the latest version of its Anti-Trespass panels.

Utilised by rail authorities and operators worldwide, the Connect Road Crossing System offers a simple yet reliable level-crossing solution that is designed specifically for all types of roads. Visitors will be able to see for themselves how quickly and easily it can be installed and removed for maintenance.

Rosehill Rail will also be displaying its Baseplated System, which has its own unique advantages compared to other, more rigid crossing systems that cannot be adapted for bespoke site requirements. This high-grade, wear-resistant system allows for fast installation and can accommodate track access, depots and both agricultural and pedestrian crossing applications.

With over 13 years of trusted use across the globe, Rosehill Rail’s Anti-Trespass panels offer a highly effective solution to deterring trespassers and thieves from prohibited railway areas. Designed especially to minimise installation time, this product is proving increasingly popular in a number of international markets.

WSP Infrastructure Engineering GmbH (5.2/531), the German affiliate of international professional services group WSP that was formerly known as IVV, will be hosting a stand at InnoTrans 2018.

Drawing on over 130 years of technical excellence, WSP offers a holistic approach to transport and infrastructure planning, design and management, bringing the latest technologies and a culture of innovation to meet community needs for mobility, connectivity, sustainability and resiliency. In 2017, more than 18,900 company employees worked in Transport and Infrastructure – that’s 45 per cent of WSP’s workforce across the world.

WSP teams were involved in many signature commuter and regional rail projects such as the Eagle P3 Commuter Rail Project in Denver, which was the first public transportation project to use the P3 delivery method in the US. They also delivered KCRC West Rail in Hong Kong, the Nynäs Line in Stockholm and are currently working on Crossrail and High Speed Two (HS2) in the UK.

With over 150 employees, WSP Infrastructure Engineering supplies professional rail infrastructure planning and consulting services covering signalling, electrification, power supply and telecommunications systems, as well as civil engineering. It has been a major player in the planning and engineering of railway projects in Germany and Europe for the last 30 years, involved in key rail infrastructure projects such as the Karlsruhe-Basel high-speed railway, the German Unity Transport Project 8 (VDE 8) and Switzerland’s Gotthard Base Tunnel – the world’s longest (57.1km) and deepest (2,300 metres below the surface) railway tunnel.

WSP InnoTrans highlights include:

  • Virtual Reality with BIM – using VR glasses, visitors will be able to watch a 3D visualisation of a modelled approach to P-Hausen Station, designed by WSP for German railway company Deutsche Bahn;
  • A demonstration of the ProSig® planning system for railway signalling and safety;
  • An eye-catching 1:87 scale model train designed and built by WSP engineers that reflects real standards of railway design – a sure-fire attraction for students and professionals alike.

Vehicle equipment

Getzner Werkstoffe (1.1/511) and Herbert Kneitz (1.1/418) – both of which belong to the Getzner Group – share a commitment to continuous optimisation of the comfort and durability of train carriages and their interiors.

Besides punctuality, the comfort level of trains is an important factor for many people in switching from other means of transport to rail travel. Factors such as a quiet, low-vibration environment and comfortable seating enable passengers to make optimal use of their travel time. Getzner will show how the Sylomer® and Isotop® materials can be used to reduce vibration and noise in rail vehicles.

On its stand, Kneitz, one of the leading manufacturers of premium interior textiles for the transport sector, will show how resistant textile solutions increase seating comfort in train carriages and can also protect against vandalism.

Knorr-Bremse has adopted the slogan “Connecting People and Systems” for its four stands this year (1.2/106, 1.2/203, 6.2/212 and 17/208).

The global market leader for braking systems, and a leading supplier of other safety-critical rail and commercial vehicle systems, is reinforcing the connectivity trend while focusing attention on customers, passengers and a consistent agenda of environmental and social responsibility. The company has aligned its subsystems and solutions with four major themes around the main market drivers: system connection, life-cycle efficiency, transportation capacity and ecodesign.

Visitors will discover that system connection covers vehicle subsystem connectivity and the whole range of digital topics, including iCOM (the digital platform for rail transportation) and use of Ethernet technology to streamline and reduce wiring in vehicles.

Life-cycle efficiency refers to the potential savings that operators can achieve by introducing modular products and enabling longer maintenance intervals.

Under the heading of transportation capacity, Knorr-Bremse will show how larger and faster entrance systems and shorter braking distances can increase train frequency, and how to carry more passengers or freight instead of reducing weight.

The fourth theme, Ecodesign, results in products and production processes that can cut CO2 emissions and noise while lowering energy consumption during both production and operation.

Mechan's stand at InnoTrans 2016.

Mechan’s stand at InnoTrans 2016.

Mechan (2.2/206F), the renowned rail depot equipment specialist, is preparing to raise its global profile further by taking its largest stand to date at this year’s InnoTrans trade fair in Germany. Following its busiest exhibition ever in 2016, the Sheffield-based manufacturer has committed to a bigger and more prominent space in the UK Pavilion in September.

A fully working version of Mechan’s flagship lifting jacks will form the centrepiece of its eye-catching display. These cost-effective lifting jacks retain all the features that make Mechan products so great, including its control system, which allows one user to operate synchronised sets and so eliminates decoupling.

Mechan’s sales and engineering team will be on hand to update visitors on the progress the firm has made in the last two years and provide information on its wide range of lifting and handling products.

Engineering manager, Martin Berry, who will be heading up the InnoTrans team, said: “It has been an eventful two years for us and we are looking forward to meeting colleagues old and new in Berlin to showcase our development. We have much to talk about, not only our buy-out by France’s CIM Group, but also the launch of our new light weight jacks, designed specifically for the tram and light rail markets.”

Photo: Frequentis.

Photo: Frequentis.

Electronic control

Frequentis (4.1/315) will demonstrate how it bridges the gap between LTE/MCPTT and GSM-R, and how its Railway Emergency Management (REM) product boosts centralisation, cooperation and speed to support the operator during railway incident resolution.

Control Center Apps GmbH (CCA), a Frequentis company, will show how its innovative mobile services enable a railway company to act more consistently, quickly and flexibly along with ensuring a more professional appearance.

An innovative service guiding the signaller through the considerations involved in issuing written orders will also be on show.

Harting (12/203) supplies appropriate interfaces for a multitude of applications in the railway sector. The company offers innovative designs for the connection of drives as well as for cross-carriage power, signal and data transmission, for example to power and supply passenger information and train monitoring systems.

Robust solutions are required for the exterior areas of trains and carriages, since such connections must withstand harsh ambient conditions and extreme environmental demands such as rockfall, corrosion, moisture and changing temperatures. By way of example, RFID transponders on rails and vehicles, as well as antennas under trains, all collect data on the condition of the carriages and permit analysis to be performed, thus providing information early on potential maintenance requirements.

Connectors are often used for electrical connections in communications and power transmission since they are more flexible in their arrangement and handling than hardwired connections. They also accelerate the assembly of separately pre-assembled modules during installation or final assembly, thus enabling consistent modularisation in production. In general, connectors are ideal for the modular design of rail vehicles – they promote safety and help save time and thus costs.

Pilz (6.2/214), a company that operates internationally as a technology leader, has many decades of experience in the field of safe automation. The highly sensitive and heavily safety-relevant railway sector can benefit from this experience and from the use of proven industrial automation products.

This year, Pilz asks “Are you ready for the digital railway era?” The company’s PSS 4000-R automation system offers a proven, safe and tested system for tailored and, in particular, economical solutions for the railway industry. Visitors will be able to see the variety of application options for themselves.

Harting 3 x 350A connector for traction motors. Photo: Harting.

Harting 3 x 350A connector for traction motors. Photo: Harting.

And that’s not all…

European Union Agency for Railways (4.2/301) will become, in June 2019 and as part of the 4th Railway Package (4RP), an authority responsible for the granting of safety certificates and vehicle authorisations, and for the approvals of ERTMS trackside solutions.

For its 2018 participation in InnoTrans, the Agency will carry out a demonstration of the One-Stop-Shop IT tool through which all applications for safety certificates, vehicle authorisations and ERTMS approvals shall be submitted as of June 2019. Visitors will be able to test the tool and find out how it will work.

Stratasys (8.2/223) will showcase the value of 3D printing for the transport industry. The company will demonstrate how advances in its additive manufacturing technologies, software and materials are enabling customers to accelerate product development cycles and overcome the limitations of traditional manufacturing for low volume production.

Through a series of high-profile customer examples, Stratasys will present how these companies are now able to 3D print realistic prototypes and customised replacement parts on-demand, quickly and cost-effectively.

This article has only scratched the surface of the displays that will be spread over InnoTrans 2018’s 41 halls and 3.5km of railway tracks. Rail Engineer will be there for all four days and still won’t cover everything.

So plan your visit, see what you really want to see, and don’t try to get around the whole show, you won’t!

Enjoy Berlin, and don’t forget to tell us of your experiences afterwards.

Visiting InnoTrans?

Then we want to hear from you.

We are asking Rail Engineer readers to give us their views of InnoTrans, what they hoped for before they went, their impressions of the show, how useful they found it and what lasting memories they have when they get back.

So please email us at [email protected] with your thoughts, views and assessments. Be as concise or long-winded as you wish. Praise and rants are equally welcome. We may even quote you in our review article in November! (with your permission of course)

[email protected]

Read more: Rail Engineer September 2018: Signalling and InnoTrans


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