SHUNTING: Vollert has developed a compact battery-powered road-rail machine for light shunting of up to 300 tonnes at industrial sites, ports and freight terminals.

‘As a specialist supplier of economical shunting and transport systems, we were often asked for a small road-rail machine’, explained Jürgen Schiemer, Vice-President Shunting Systems. As a result the company has produced the VLEX.

Articulated steering with four individual wheel hub motors allows a turning radius of 7·2 m while being gentle to the solid tyres. The machine can also turn 360° on the spot if space is very confined. A swing axle ensures that all four drive wheels have maximum contact with the ground, enabling the machine to cross small obstacles and unpaved ground without any loss of traction.

The joystick remote control uses a colour-coded system for steering, direction and switching between rail and road modes to minimise training requirements. The track guide rollers are hydraulically lowered for rail travel, and automatically adjust themselves to counterbalance each other. The steering is hydraulically locked in rail mode to ensure stability.

‘With its high manoeuvrability, high traction and intelligent drive technology with a pulling force of 20 kN, the road-rail robot can be employed in all shunting operations and is easily and safely operated by one person’, says Schiemer. ‘Access to all relevant components as well as for battery replacement is possible through large gull-wing doors at any time. This makes maintaining the road-rail robot very easy.’