THE electrification of track maintenance vehicles, new design features, and lifecycle support will be key themes of Plasser & Theurer’s extensive display at IAF, which this year will feature no fewer than 17 machines covering a broad range of applications.
A highlight will be the E3 drive concept, which brings electric and hybrid machines into the Plasser range for the first time. With the E3 hybrid concept, a machine can be powered by a diesel engine or electric motors fed by the overhead contact wire, reducing greenhouse gas and noise emissions. Both drive systems generate the hydraulic pressure needed to operate all onboard equipment.
With the E3 range Plasser has reduced the proportion of hydraulic drives in its machines. While linear operations such as the squeezing of tamping units or the forward motion of the tamping satellite are still driven hydraulically, electric motors are used for rotary motions such as tamping units and the power bogies. Power comes from the overhead electrification or the diesel engine.
Plasser says the electric drives offer efficiency of up to 94% and the new axle drives achieve outputs of 150kW. Brakes and transmissions were developed specifically for the E3 range.
The hybrid drive system uses the diesel engine and regenerative braking system during transfer operations to charge batteries, which provide power on the worksite. The system is designed to operate in two six-hour shifts and the electric range can be extended by adding extra battery modules. Plasser says the electrification of track maintenance machines can have a dramatic impact on operating costs, with the E3 range offering estimated turnout tamper savings of more than €100 per operating hour.
Two prototype E3 machines will be unveiled in Münster. The Unimat 09-4x4/4S E3 offers electrification of the tamping process without any changes to the key tamping parameters. The HTW 100 E3 hybrid track maintenance machine is designed for quiet, emission-free operations, making it suitable for use in tunnels and urban areas. The machine is equipped with three battery modules with capacity to add a fourth if required.
Another new machine debuting at IAF is the Unimat 08-4x4/4S turnout tamper, which features a more compact design and enables control measurement of track geometry to be carried out to EN standards onboard the machine without the need for a measuring trailer.
Plasser will celebrate a milestone in Münster with the official handover of its 16,000th machine, a Unimat Combi 08-275 tamper for Italian infrastructure manager RFI. Plasser is supplying RFI with 13 of these multi-purpose machines, which are fitted with track geometry measuring equipment.
Other highlights in the outdoor area include the Junior 08-16/4 split-head single-sleeper tamper, which has been developed for small networks; the USP 4000 SWS ballast regulator, which features a new cab design and modifications to comply with the TSI for noise; and the DIC 30 ‘budget’ track maintenance vehicle from Plasser Española.
Aftersales support will be a key theme and Plasser will be showcasing several new developments on its stand. The SmartCatalog app gives machine owners easy access to the full inventory of components for each vehicle, enabling the user to quickly identify and order spare parts from Plasser. Another new app is the Plasser Machine Maintenance Guide, which provides step-by-step support to steer engineers through maintenance processes. The app will initially cover tampers but Plasser plans to extend it to cover other machine types.
With its machines generating ever-greater quantities of data, Plasser has established a new company, P&T Connected, to analyse data from the PlasserDatamatic remote diagnostics system and help its customers establish predictive maintenance regimes for their vehicles.