Main Themes at InnoTrans 2018

Sept. 21, 2018
Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin, officially opened InnoTrans 2018 on Tuesday, 18. September 2018, at the Palais am Funkturm. As Dr. Göke pointed out in his opening address, with 146 world premieres and exhibitor numbers exceeding 3,000.

Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin, officially opened InnoTrans 2018 on Tuesday, 18. September 2018, at the Palais am Funkturm. As Dr. Göke pointed out in his opening address, with 146 world premieres and exhibitor numbers exceeding 3,000 for the first time, this is the world’s leading trade fair for transport technology. Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport, emphasized the importance of this fair in the European “Year of Multimodality”. Rail transport has an important part to play in the interconnection of various forms of transport for passengers and freight, she stated. Joint ventures between various players as well as the expansion of the infrastructure are intended to lead to improvements in rail transport, culminating in a standardized European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS).

Germany’s federal minister of transport Andreas Scheuer (CSU) referred to InnoTrans as “Innovation Trans”. Germany needs the railways in order to be able to attain its climate objectives, he said. Passenger numbers are expected to double by 2030, supported by a number of factors. These include the so-called “Deutschland-Takt” (cyclic scheduling for Germany), which is intended to make the railways more reliable and make changing trains easier, and by the expansion of the European Train Control System (ETCS). In a subsequent meeting with Jürgen Fenske, president of the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV and Richard Lutz, chairman of the board of Deutsche Bahn, the minister discussed how the railways could be made more efficient, with reduced emissions.

Digitalization is part of this process, according to Fenske, through the use of apps and the predictive maintenance of the rails and rolling stock with the aid of digital technologies. In a discussion with representatives of the rail industry Laurent Troger, president of Bombardier Transportation, explained how vital it is for the rail industry to attract new talent. The onus is on universities and companies to ensure that sufficient new personnel are trained in order to meet future challenges.

International Press Circle: New press format at the start of the fair

On Monday, 17 September 2018, on the eve of the official opening of InnoTrans, the International Press Circle took place. The main aim of the new format was to provide an opportunity for dialogue between the press and the associations taking part. Dr Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin, Philippe Citroën, director general of the Association of the European Rail Industry (UNIFE), Dr Ben Möbius, chief executive of the German Railway Industry Association (VDB), Olaf Zinne, managing director of the Electric Traction Systems and Vehicles Division and the Contact and Overhead Line Construction Division of the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI), and Martin Schmitz, managing director of the Technology Division of the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), welcomed the approximately one hundred representatives of the press from Germany and abroad. Afterwards, at a brunch for the press, journalists had an opportunity to exchange views with the co-founders of InnoTrans and other international associations.

Improvements to operating cycles and energy efficiency

The rail industry plays a decisive part in planning future mobility. This was stated by Dr. Ben Möbius, chief executive of the German Railway Industry Association (VDB), at the International Press Circle on Monday. Consequently, as he stated, InnoTrans is of immense importance for the industry. He mentioned two examples in this respect. The first is that the development of electro-mobility is already well advanced in Germany, with 90 per cent of the train mileage being achieved under electric power. Major efforts are currently being made to close the remaining gaps, in particular by using battery-powered trains. The second example referred to by the CEO of the VDB was automated systems, which also contribute significantly to passenger comfort. The result has been to improve operating cycles and to boost energy efficiency by up to 30 percent.

Considerable potential for growth in the tunnel construction market
“Tunnels are an indispensable part of an efficient rail network and should therefore also be featured at InnoTrans”, according to Dr. Roland Leucker, chief executive of STUVA e. V., speaking at the International Press Circle. An indication of the size of the global tunnel construction market has been provided by a report produced in 2016 by the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association (ITA). This revealed that annual economic performance in this area amounted to some 86 billion euros at the time. According to ITA estimates the growth of past years is set to continue. In 2013 the association had forecast annual growth rates of five per cent for the following years, but in fact they exceeded seven per cent. The forecast by the ITA is that it will remain at least at this level for the next five to ten years. The annual growth rate of seven per cent in the tunnel construction market is twice as high as that for the construction sector as a whole. On average some 5,200 kilometres of tunnels have been constructed annually around the world since 2013.

Product and Industry Highlights

New Berlin S-Bahn light rail trains with air conditioning

The new Berlin S-Bahn (light rail) has retained its traditional red and ochre livery, but shape differs significantly from its ageing predecessors, which were increasingly prone to breakdowns. The 484 series is making its world debut at InnoTrans 2018, where the Stadler-Siemens consortium is presenting them for the first time as a half-train, i.e. as a four-car unit. They are due to begin trials next year and will commence scheduled services in 2021. Passengers will particularly appreciate the wider connecting areas between the cars, as well as full air conditioning, and the S-Bahn also incorporates the latest technology. High definition flat screens mounted on the sides will provide information about the route, the doors will open and close automatically, and this will be indicated by LEDs. The entire train has a length of 73.6 metres, seats 184 and also has space for persons of restricted mobility, baby buggies and bicycles. Siemens supplies the propulsion and braking systems along with the electrical equipment, while Stadler is responsible for the design and production of the vehicles. The trains are being “built in Berlin for Berlin”, according to Martin Hoffmann of Stadler, who also announced that the S-Bahn will also be accessible during the public days at the weekend.

Easy boarding with “Mobility inside”

For German passenger rail transport the intelligent interconnection of vehicles and infrastructure is one of the main features of InnoTrans 2018. Among other things this interconnection provides new solutions for bus and rail use, explained the head of the Technical Division of the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), Martin Schmitz, speaking during the International Press Circle at InnoTrans in Monday in Berlin. “The public transport sector must seize the opportunities offered by digitalisation in order to meet the public’s growing mobility requirements, and to provide new and attractive services”, Schmitz said. The VDV has developed a platform known as “Mobility inside”, enabling increasing numbers of customers to use the app provided by their local transportation authority to book tickets for public transport services all over Germany.

A scatter diagram for the digital track twin

The innovative EM100VT unit from the Austrian manufacturer of track construction vehicles, Plasser &Theurer, speeds up the track measuring process by a factor of twenty compared with existing methods. It is one of 140 products making their international debut at InnoTrans 2018. Equipped with a 360° camera and laser scanners, this vehicle uses digital scattering of the data it receives to create a “digital twin” of the track. This can be used to substantially speed up and rationalise the maintenance and renewal of the permanent way. Until now the measuring unit travelled over the track at just 5 km/h, but this has now been increased to speeds of up to 100 km/h. One of the factors enabling this increase is that the camera can make use of reflectors mounted on the power line masts to accurately register the position of the track.

Honeycomb structure in the windows to improve mobile reception

Closer inspection reveals a fine honeycomb structure in the large windows on the Rhein-Ruhr-Express (RRX). This is part of a high frequency solution to improve mobile phone reception in the new train that will soon form the backbone of the commuter services in the Ruhr region. It is making its world debut at InnoTrans 2018. The RRX design is partially double deck and partially single deck. Siemens manager Jens Chlebowski explains that this arrangement enables electrical components such as the air conditioning to be installed on the roof of the single deck sections, making their maintenance at the new Dortmund depot much more efficient. For the first time Siemens is responsible not only for supplying the trains for the RRX in Germany, but also for their maintenance for the next 32 years.

The Smart Rail Track by Vossloh

“Our display at InnoTrans features numerous innovations and world premieres from the analogue and digital worlds, raising the pressing issues of route availability, noise reduction and life cycle costs to a new level. Under the main theme of ’The Smart Rail Track by Vossloh’ we are presenting our vision for an intelligent track”, explained Andreas Busemann, chairman of the board of Vossloh AG. More efficient information and communication technology as well as the targeted deployment of sensors and IoT technologies open up new possibilities. This paves the way for a predictive servicing concept that provides for a lasting reduction in maintenance costs and investment requirements. This includes new kinds of materials and improved track component designs. “They provide our smart product solutions with exceptional dimensional stability and a long service life, which manifest themselves in increased route availability accompanied by lower life cycle costs”, according to board member Volker Schenk.

VDE study of battery systems for multiple units

Battery-powered multiple units are an ideal replacement for highly polluting diesel locomotives on the 17,000 kilometres of branch lines in Germany that have not yet been electrified. However: not all batteries are the same. In a new report entitled “Battery Systems for Multiple Units” commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), the technology association VDE shows which battery technology offers the fastest and most economical way of achieving a range in excess of 80 kilometres. In this report the VDE presents various battery technologies and solutions with regard to their suitability for use in multiple units. In summing up the authors recommend a new battery concept based on the cycles of innovation for lithium-ion batteries derived from the automobile industry and offering significant cost advantages. One positive side effect of this solution is that it provides for a wider and increasing range.

The metro window as a touchscreen

The metro trains from the Chinese manufacturer CRRC have many unusual features, beginning with the exterior surface. This is not made of metal but of a carbon fibre compound, as used in the latest aircraft. It saves weight and helps the trains to achieve maximum speeds of 140 km/h. Because the view on underground trains is not always very attractive, the windows on the CETROVO metro also serve as touchscreens. “Like a giant iPad they can be used to book tickets, passengers can even surf the internet. Alternatively, train operators can use the screen to display entertainment or passenger information”, as managers from this large industrial group explained at InnoTrans 2018. And out of sight, the fully actively sprung bogie and continuous magnetic traction system provide the propulsion and the comfort on these trains, which can consist of up to twelve two-car units. The bogie alone is 40 per cent lighter than on standard units, and weight savings of 13 per cent have been achieved on the train as a whole. 

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March 19, 2012