FOLLOWING a hiatus caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the 28th International Exhibition for Track Technology (IAF) is due to return to Münster, Germany, from May 31 to June 2. The exhibition will be held across 15,000m² of hall space at the Messe and Congress Centre Hall Münsterland, as well as the 6000m² outdoor space. More than 3km of track at the Münster Ost station of the WLE will showcase the latest machinery, equipment and construction technologies.

The following preview offers some of the highlights of the exhibition.

Linsinger (stand F500, B520, B430) will present the new MG 11 Hydrogen, an emissions free track maintenance vehicle which also has the option of a battery powered drive. The MG11 model is also the smallest and most flexible machine of the Linsinger fleet. Designed for use in small clearance profiles and short maintenance windows with an electric drive, it features the latest electrically driven milling technology with no hydraulics in all of the machine’s other components. The machine enables variable material removal between 0.1mm and 1.2mm per pass.

System7 (stand F500, B520, B430) introduced a fully hydraulic tamping drive in 2014, which is equipped with sensors that measure the subgrade properties. The company is now pushing ahead with the automation of track maintenance machines, with a goal to fully automate the track geometry measurement process. The measuring technology automatically and autonomously controls the tamping parameters depending on the measured properties of the ballast. The new System7 automatic tamping system has been successfully operating on eight tamping machines in Britain. Existing tamping drives can also be converted using a conversion kit.

The RoMill Urban E3 milling train is the first product for rail treatment developed through a cooperation within the Robel group (stand S431, A405-408, B001-017, B100-102). The vehicle is optimised for use in tunnels with a hybrid drive, milling technology from Schweerbau International and comprehensive measuring equipment from Vogel & Plötscher. With the premiere of their Rail Surface Crack Measurement (RSCM) device, Vogel & Plötscher will also show an additional technology for measuring crack depths and irregularities in the rail surface.

The newly established Plasser Robel Services will present its multi-brand service programme for rail-bound vehicles. The latest addition to the Robel Group, Robel Rail Automation, celebrates its premiere with studies on the automation of manual labour-intensive maintenance tasks, using robot-guided tools in a specially assembled container to measure and process rail defects.

Robel Bahnbaumaschinen (stand S410-411, A403-406) will show hand operated machines with electric and hybrid drives for wrenching, grinding and drilling machines, demonstrated live at the IAF outdoor space.

Geismar (stand B204, F200-202) will present its wide variety of solutions dedicated to urban networks, high-speed lines, traditional and industrial networks, and will also explain the range of services such as staff training, refurbishment of existing equipment and rental offers.

A solution to be presented during the event will be the Activion electric range, which is built around a single battery powering all the light machinery and including the AGX electric conversion kit for petrol-powered coach screwing and grinding machines.

Vossloh (stand F210) has developed the heat-treated laminated steel CogX, which supports the introduction of different geometries for switches and frogs. The material’s unique properties increase the wear resistance of switches and crossings made of the new rolled steel which is particularly important in areas with high traffic densities.

Vossloh has also developed two new milling machines: the VTM-compact and the milling truck, which provide fast on-railing at the maintenance site and accurate metal removal of up to 2mm in a single pass. The SoniQ Rail Explorer has also been developed by Vossloh and Fraunhofer IKTS to detect and localise irregularities in the rail’s interior in one pass and facilitate sound data analysis and interpretation.

After entering service on the Fuzhou metro in China, Vossloh’s VTM-compact has
now been deployed on three continents. Photo: Vossloh AG

Speno International (stand M210) will display its latest generation rail grinding trolley, which includes an extended capacity to collect the grinding debris while ensuring a high output.

Rail Safety Constructions (RSC) (stand M300) produces safety fencing for the rail sector, including the Safetech Fence to provide physical protection for staff working on or near the track. The safety barrier consists of two components that can easily be secured to the track, resulting in fast assembly and disassembly. The system has been approved by DB Network and DB System Technik.

Track Machines Connected (TMC) (stand S431) develops systems to digitise track maintenance machines by installing an automated data exchange between the machines and infrastructure. Referenced Track Geometry (tmRTG) is a solution for track survey and tamping machines to automate the track-surveying process. TMC will also display its digital mobile mapping service which can create a complete digital twin of a railway line. TMC’s Online Suite (tmOS) provides an overview of the network and network-adjacent data, merging relevant information from sources including track machines and surveying tools to provide a holistic view of infrastructure measurements.

Trimble (stand S210, A220) will present its latest solutions for track surveying based on hand-pushed and vehicle-mounted measuring systems as well as systems for permanent monitoring of the track position.

The new Trimble GEDO GX50 laser scanner allows high-resolution three-dimensional point cloud data to be gathered quickly and precisely along the track centre line. The data can be used for modelling for the planning phase, clearance analysis and final documentation. Linear objects such as platforms, adjacent tracks and overhead lines can be recognised and analysed from the data, which can also provide a basis for modelling in a BIM-compliant planning and design environment.

Zedas (stand M273) will display its Zedas Asset integrated asset management system, which can simultaneously plan, control and manage the infrastructure maintenance process. By analysing measurement data such as track width and clearance gauge, and integrating inspection reports and recording load data such as over-rolling tonnages, the software supports infrastructure operators to recognise changes in condition and weak points. Evaluated data is immediately available for forecasts or automatically triggers maintenance actions via definable rules.

Fimor (stand M233) is a French manufacturer of polyurethane sheets and moulded parts with more than 40 years of experience. In the railway sector, Fimor has developed several products that have been certified by French National Railways (SNCF), including anti-noise covers for ballast wagons, which are reducing noise by 15dB.

Ballast Tools Inc (BTI) (stand S304) has more than 55 years of experience in providing carbide-protected wear parts for maintenance of way equipment, and will introduce new carbide-protected wear parts and technologies for many OEM machines including Plasser & Theurer, Harsco, Nordco, and Matisa.

BTI’s sister company Ballast Tools Equipment (BTE) has introduced an all-in-one platform to perform track maintenance tasks. BTE designs, engineers and builds, high-performance, high-durability specialty equipment and work tools for track maintenance and construction. This includes the BTE-M318 Hi-Rail Excavator platform, which has a maximum speed of 32km/h and is compatible with BTE’s work attachments, including the cold air blower, undercutter, and tamper.

Modules such as the track analyser can enable the visualisation of the linear geometry of a track, including important information on the general layout of tracks, switches, crossings, level crossings and LST facilities.

As usual, IRJ will also be in attendance, highlighting the latest news and developments from the show.