InnoTrans the Driving Force of the Rail Sector Again in 2018

Sept. 25, 2018
Railways are booming, as shown by a successful balance sheet at the end of InnoTrans 2018. The leading international trade fair for transport technology, a four-day event, closed on September 21.

Railways are booming, as shown by a successful balance sheet at the end of InnoTrans 2018. The leading international trade fair for transport technology, a four-day event, closed on September 21, leaving behind very satisfied exhibitors and trade visitors. All available space was occupied on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds, where 3,062 exhibitors from 61 countries presented the entire range of products and services for the mobility sector. These included more than 400 innovations, 155 world premieres and no fewer than 155 vehicles. Alternative propulsion systems, battery and fuel-cell powered trains and electric buses for urban use were among the main themes of this trade fair.

During the trade visitor days 161,157 international guests came to Germany’s capital in search of information about the extensive range being offered by the industry. Of this total 153,421 were trade visitors, from 149 countries. The public were invited to attend on the weekend, when some 12,000 of them were drawn to the rail tracks and outdoor display area at InnoTrans.

As a cross-border event InnoTrans connects markets

Once again this year InnoTrans emphatically confirmed its reputation as an international business hotspot and economic power house for the industry. Rafael Santana, president and CEO of GE Transportation, for example, reported signing a contract with the railway company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) to supply 300 shunting locomotives to that country. Siemens Mobility and Deutsche Bahn are planning to work together in order to implement some new ideas about rail travel. A corresponding agreement was signed during InnoTrans 2018 by Sabrina Soussan, CEO of Siemens Mobility, Sabine Jeschke, DB board member for Digitalisation and Technology, and Jörg Sandvoss, board member of DB Regio AG.

Germany and China’s rail industries are also looking to work together closely in the field of urban trail transport. Volker Schenk, president of the German Railway Industry Association (VDB), and Zhou Xiaoqin, executive vice president of the China Association of Metros, signed a declaration of intent on “Sino-German cooperation in urban rail transport“. It encompasses coordinating the planning, construction and standardisation of rail transport vehicles in metropolitan regions.

Positive results ensure a positive mood among exhibitors

According to a representative survey, exhibitors and trade visitors gave a positive assessment of InnoTrans throughout. Around 90 per cent of trade visitors were highly satisfied with the business results of their visit and would recommend the trade fair to others. One in two trade visitors occupied a senior position in their company. 56.4 per cent of trade visitors came from abroad. The trade fair attracted especially keen interest among trade visitors from Southern, Eastern and Central Asia, which attracted around 20 per cent of visitors.

90 percent of exhibitors expected follow-up business to be good and said they would be back for the next InnoTrans. Over 80 per cent said they would recommend the trade fair to others. The large volume of business reported by exhibitors corresponded with the information provided by trade visitors.

Improved passenger comfort, more innovations for the industry

Numerous exhibitors made use of the rail tracks and outdoor display area at InnoTrans as a high profile stage for products making their world debut. There was a lot of interest in the new Series 484 light rail trains for Berlin’s S-Bahn, which are due to commence scheduled services in 2021. The rolling stock is being manufactured by a consortium formed by Siemens and Stadler. Among the main features of these S-Bahn trains are air-conditioning, an up-to-date passenger information system and more space for baby buggies and bicycles. Another exhibit that was very popular with the public was the DB Regio concept train. In addition to a keep-fit cabin, a power napping area and swivelling panorama seats, this life size mock-up also included a children’s play corner.

The first day of the trade fair saw the symbolic handover of the key for the first of the new generation of Unimogs with a twin cab and conversion to road-rail operation, ordered by Magdeburger Verkehrsbetriebe GmbH & Co. KG (MVB). The Voith Rail Engine being exhibited by Voith and Liebherr is a new power unit for the rail industry. This high performance, low emissions engine for rail vehicles is the result of a joint venture between these two leading technology companies.

Bus Display features bus transport of the future

The new Trollino 12 from Solaris made its debut at the Bus Display, and its outstanding characteristics include a very quiet, eco-friendly propulsion system. First introduced in 2016, the Bus Display has become a very popular addition to the trade fair. While ten electric buses made their rounds of the Summer Garden, the newly launched International Bus Forum featured lively discussions by the panel about electric buses and their viability for public transport use.

InnoTrans Convention – High quality forum for decision-makers

The InnoTrans Convention, aimed specifically at decision-makers, is becoming an increasingly important part of the leading international trade fair for transport technology. For example, at the Design Forum experts reported on ways of reconciling contemporary design with efforts to improve the working life of vehicles. Deutsche Bahn presented the relaunch of the DB Lounge at the new Onboard Hospitality Forum. Customer satisfaction with this new concept has increased from 69 to 87 per cent. At the Dialogue Forum representatives of science and practice agreed that the current political and economic conditions for the digitalisation of rail services are exceptionally good.

HackTrain Hackathon presents the innovation potential for the industry

At the four-day HackTrain Hackathon, making its debut at the trade fair this year, the 80 or so developers who took part were able to demonstrate how the rail industry could be revolutionised by smart IT solutions. The first prize was awarded to the three-person team “Veggie on Rails” which, according to the judges, “showed an excellent understanding of the client’s needs” in coming up with the best solution to the task presented to them by the UK’s NetworkRail – What is the best way of monitoring trackside vegetation at risk from the weather? In a highly cost-effective way this concept analysed existing video recordings and combined them with GPS data and a way of classifying the growth of particular types of vegetation. The prize for each member of the team was a travel voucher with a value of 600 pounds sterling (670 euros). In second place was the team “ELB - Efficiency Less Bureaucracy”, whose concept used a voice recognition system to assist engineers in their search for information. “Safety_Eye” came third with an alarm system comprising acoustic, visual and wearable signals to provide track workers with better protection.

Trying out the seats in the new S-Bahn – keen interest during the Open Days

Although the weather was changeable, during the weekend when the general public were admitted, some 12,000 of them came to view the 155 vehicles and rolling stock on the rail track and outdoor display area. These included the Avelia HorizonTM double-decker, high-speed train from Alstom, a shunting locomotive with a hybrid propulsion unit from CRRC Corporation Limited in China, and the four-axle DE 18 locomotive from Vossloh Locomotives. Visitors were particularly interested in the Berlin S-Bahn (light rail) train from Siemens/Stadler. Another very popular exhibit was the DB Regio concept train.

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March 19, 2012