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End-to-end solutions for track maintenance

Florian Auer, Director of Technology and Innovation, and his team demonstrated at the 28th iaf what the tamping process of the future looks like.

A Unimat 09-4x4/4S E³ was used to show how a machine can perform all the steps involved in turnout tamping in an entirely automated way. At a speed of up to 100 km/h, the integrated measuring system records the track geometry along with the reference points. QR markers are essential for pre-measurement. They are mounted on the catenary masts along the track and ensure precise localisation.

Taking the tamping process to the next level: fully automatic

The next step is to have the machine create a 3D image of the track section using a laser system. The machine’s AI (artificial intelligence) then calculates specific suggestions for tamping cycles based on the pre-measuring data and the 3D track data. All the operator has to do is confirm these suggestions. As a hybrid machine of the latest generation, it is no surprise that the Unimat 09-4x4/4S E³ features electric tamping units. Not only do they work far more quietly and with less fuel, they also perform filling and compaction control automatically. The result of this tamping work is a sturdy sleeper bed under every sleeper and a sustainable track geometry. Finally, the stereo camera system used for pre-measurement records the data of the new track geometry. The data is compiled into a report stored in the cloud.

Major advantages for machine operation and infrastructure

Machine operating companies benefit from this end-to-end solution in several ways: increased worksite safety; quiet, environmentally friendly, and sensing electric tamping units; and the report on the new track geometry, which provides exact documentation of the quality of the work performed. In addition, it is easier to make use of existing staff resources. Infrastructure managers benefit from the fact that no track possession is needed because the machine performs pre-measurement itself. What stands out in particular is the detailed report on all the maintenance steps that are part of this high-quality tamping work.