Unimat 09-8x44S BR Dynamic E3-2

The Unimat 09-8x4/4S BR Dynamic E³ integrated track machine is a hybrid design that can be powered from overhead electrification or via a diesel powerpack.

GERMANY: Plasser & Theurer is to present its Unimat 09-8x4/4S BR Dynamic E³ combined track machine at the IAF trade show in Münster on May 31-June 2.

Intended to offer a complete maintenance package for plain line and turnouts, this combines the functions of several existing machines, including ballast renewal, tamping, profiling, stabilising, surveying, and post-work geometric measuring.

Plasser & Thuerer has deployed its ModularCustomizing approach to develop the multi-functional tamper, and the vehicle to be shown at IAF is intended to be used as a testbed to trial novel approaches to the operation of track machines. Plasser says that the tamping and co-tamping operator can ‘for the first time’ share a single cab; this is intended to improve coordination and communication between the two staff, as well as increasing worker comfort and enhancing safety. High definition cameras are used to give the co-tamping operator an optimal view of the work units.

This revised operating method is to be validated in real-world conditions from July when the machine is put into use with the group’s track maintenance subsidiary Franz Plasser Vermietung von Bahnbaumaschinen.

The Unimat 09-8x4/4S BR Dynamic E³ offers an enhanced output through the use of an 8x4 tamping unit, combined with profiling, ploughing and sweeping units. It also has a ballasting unit with supply hoppers and an integrated dynamic track stabiliser. According to Plasser, this gives the machine a complete ballast management capability and the ability to perform a ‘complete and technologically correct sequence’ of work for the maintenance of plain line and turnouts in a single pass.

Reducing costs and crew size

Plasser believes the integrated design will give maintenance contractors scope to reduce the overall number of track machines they need to deploy on a given possession, saving time and simplifying planning. With only five people required to operate it, the machine could also reduce the number of staff required for a possession, which is a key concern given the sector’s demographic challenges.

Design of the Unimat 09-8x4/4S BR Dynamic E³ has also been influenced by an industry trend towards much reduced access for track maintenance, especially for periodic maintenance. While the route sections to be maintained in each window are typically becoming shorter, they often include complex combinations of turnouts, switches, crossings and check rails, meaning that on-track plant must be as universal and variable as possible.