Aided by research at Lausanne Technical University, the new machine incorporates a combined tamping and compacting solution. The tools are situated side-by-side on the same platform replacing separate units found on previous machines with the tamping tools themselves having greater length to improve performance. Matisa says this combined solution is designed to reduce the chance of the ballast moving or being disturbed before compression takes place.

Compression is important to eliminate ballast disbursement when a train passes over the track. Matisa president Mr Rainer von Schack told IRJ that researchers in Lausanne carried out analysis of the optimal pressure that the compression unit should apply to the ballast to maximise stability while improving performance and ultimately track life.

The vehicle itself is 19m long, and has two bogies as well as a trailer. In addition to the tamping and compression mechanisms it is using a completely new operator control system. Matisa worked with three operators to come up with the optimal solution which incorporates a touch screen module and specically-designed handheld joysticks. The system also uses a new diagnostics system which allows the operator to quickly identify when and where there is a problem.

Efficiency improvements include the use of LED lights and a Caterpillar C18 Agex engine, which has an RPM of 1550, significantly lower than 1800–2100 RPM found on previous Matisa machines. It is also designed to completely shut down when the machine is not in operation to save fuel.