Research and Development

Vossloh ranks among the technological leaders in its fields of activity in rail infrastructure. To satisfy the specific expectations of customers in individual market regions over the long term and reinforce its own competitive position, the Company intensively invests in the enhancement and optimization of its products and services. Innovations are a decisive factor in maintaining the Company‘s technological competitiveness. Within the framework of a structured innovation management process, Vossloh continuously drives new developments forward.

The research and development work at Vossloh concentrates on multiple pressing subjects in the rail industry: increasing track availability, extending the lifespan of infrastructure (components) with simultaneous reduction of lifecycle costs and reduction of noise emissions in rail traffic. In addition, Vossloh’s R&D experts throughout the Group are also addressing the consequences of the increasing loads placed upon rails and the wear and tear upon rail components that this entails. As a system provider, Vossloh possesses comprehensive expertise regarding rail as a complex mode of transportation.

For several years now, Vossloh has bundled its research and development expertise into multiple technology and competence centers. In fall 2017, a Group-wide structured innovation management process was introduced that follows a systematic approach spanning the core divisions and is based around open-minded thinking. Significant drivers of new developments include the wishes and needs of customers and the requirements of the market. Vossloh now draws new and adjacent technological areas into its development work, since interdisciplinary problem-solving approaches are becoming increasingly crucial to the implementation of new business models due to increasing digitalization in the rail industry. It is precisely this use of new digital technologies that provides enormous opportunities for the Vossloh Group.

Core Components

In 2018, the R&D experts in the Core Components division worked on bringing new solutions for increased noise and vibration protection closer to market-readiness. In this context, the 336V rail fastening system with cellentic intermediate layers for reducing vibrations, developed for local transport in China, was tested on the rails along with the optimized 300NG tie solution for solid tracks. In the 300 fastening system, rail clamp SKL 15 HF is also used, with its completely new design for increased service life and safety. Rail fasteners with steel components were also installed for test purposes, where the new, particularly environmentally friendly premium zinc coating Vossloh protect served to ensure long-lasting corrosion protection even under extreme conditions.

Customized Modules

In 2018, R&D engineers in the Customized Modules division tested the new, extra-hard rolled steel CogX, primarily for frogs and switch points for tram switches. The results were positive with regard to profile stability and creep resistance. The next step is the testing of heat-treated laminated steel in switch systems for heavy-duty traffic. The material was jointly developed with ArcelorMittal Industeel. Thanks to its extreme hardness, it features higher resistance to wear and impact in comparison with existing solutions. COGISLIDE, a coating developed in-house by the division, was also subjected to extensive practical tests. This makes it possible for coated switch rail chairs to be moved without lubrication. Together with COGILINK, a new generation of self-lubricating rings, corrosion-proof pins and a lubricant-free ball joint for all arm types, the entire switch system becomes maintenance-free and will operate even longer and more reliably. A purely hydraulic point machine, which contributes to energy conservation, was also brought to a point where it was ready for testing.

Lifecycle Solutions

In the Lifecycle Solutions division in 2018, the development of the compact MPM (Multi Purpose Milling) rail milling machine was concluded, which Vossloh also presented to the industry at the InnoTrans trade fair. Tailored to the needs of regional transportation and operable in tunnels, it is also suitable for flexible hot-spot processing for main line rail routes. In order to ensure that conditions are assessed on a regular basis, Vossloh plans to equip all of its rail profiling machines with cutting-edge sensors. As a first step, the HSG railgrinder was equipped with measurement technology for determining the longitudinal ripple and cross-section. The new in-house mapl-e software evaluates the data from various rail and track condition tests and makes it possible to provide expedient recommendations, optimizing the maintenance cycle and maintenance budget. The participation of subsidiary Vossloh High Speed Grinding GmbH in a project performing an in-depth investigation into “rail screeching” is another example of the Vossloh Group‘s research and development activities.