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Breath of fresh air
04/07/2012 | Channel:
Rolling Stock, New Products & Services
As a leading supplier in HVAC solutions, Vossloh Kiepe is continuing to refine and develop its products for tomorrow’s transport needs
The business of electrical equipment for public transport has been at the heart of Vossloh Kiepe Vienna since 1959. Having initially operated under the Kiepe Group name, the business was acquired by the Vossloh Group in 2002 as part of Vossloh’s strategic realignment. This saw the Group focus on specialist fields within transportation technology, into which Kiepe’s capabilities were well suited. As a daughter company of Vossloh Kiepe Dusseldorf, Vossloh Kiepe Vienna is a recognised European expert in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) for mass public transportation systems including metro, coaches, regional trains and light rail vehicles (LRV), and the centre of competence for HVAC within the overall Vossloh Group.
Vossloh Kiepe’s activities have followed two lines of development into both new-build and HVAC retrofits, which enables it to enjoy strong relationships with many industry leaders. In the case of new vehicles, the systems are supplied to manufacturers such as Bombardier, Siemens, Alstom Transport Germany, and more recently Vossloh Spain and Solaris.
“We have always had a good mix of clients in Europe, which we have expanded further with the supply of 45 trams for Poznan to Solaris, and a new platform solution for LRV to Vossloh Spain,” notes Slavko Pantic, head of sales at Vossloh Kiepe Vienna. “For the new-build market we have invented a new platform for high-floor vehicles with 350 millimetre height and 30 kilowatt (kW) cooling power, which is being sold across Europe and Turkey. At the same time, due to new EMC and fire protection standards, we have also updated the very successful HVAC units from Dortmund for different new projects as Karlsruhe, Kassel and Krakau.
“On the retrofit side of the business, we have focused our activities very strongly on projects in Turkey and Poland since 2010, and since last year also expanded
into South Africa,” he continues. “This includes the provision of a new energy efficiency solution with less cooling capacity for passenger compartments to the authorities in Krakau, Poland, and a project with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) for a new innovative concept for regional trains. Installed on 272 passenger coaches, this consists of a heat pump designed as an underfloor split unit with air distribution units.”
Vossloh Kiepe’s growth in eastern Europe has also been buoyed by the new major infrastructure projects taking place in Poland and Ukraine in anticipation of the UEFA Euro 2012 competition. This is in addition to an overall growing demand for more public transport provision in these countries, and products that offer lower total costs over the whole lifecycle of the vehicle, which can be up to 30 years.
On a universal basis, the retrofit of older vehicles is a growing market all over the world as customers recognise that there are significant costs savings in the general overhaul and modernisation of vehicles that are still fundamentally sound, as opposed to purchasing new vehicles. Through this requirement, Vossloh Kiepe has gained a lot of experience in implementing complete electrical systems and components for rail vehicles, not only HVACs, and can provide turnkey solutions tailored to individual needs.
Another key concern is the environmental impact of transport services, and how this can be minimised. “Everyone is looking for innovative and energy efficiency solutions in the field of green mobility,” confirms Slavko. “We can provide a tailored solution for nearly all realistic requirements in this area, naturally taking into consideration commercial conditions. Two years ago we started work on the EcoTram project with a consortium body consisting of Wiener Linien, Siemens, RailTecArsenal, the University of Vienna and Schig aimed at optimising technology to reduce the power consumption of HVAC systems. We are also still developing reliable heat pump solutions and experimenting with a CO2 prototype Aircon system.”
The vehicle manufacturer market itself is expanding as new players look to capitalise upon public transport uptake and demand. As a result whilst ten years ago Vossloh Kiepe saw this market dominated by five main companies, today more than 20 are competing within Europe including many from former eastern Europe countries. “The result of this pressure on the market is that price and quality are expected to generally decrease,” reveals Slavko. “However our strategy to build partnerships with well established companies in Turkey, Slovakia, and Romania, means that we believe we can see costs lower but without any impact on quality, which is one of the most important things we see for our continuing success.”
In fact, Vossloh Kiepe recognises that in general partners in different countries form an important part of its long-term strategy by enabling it to offer local content, service and maintenance activities, and general contact close to its customers. This is coupled with a focus on small, but essential, growth within new markets, and a step-by-step expansion outside of Europe through the support of its customers. “Vossloh Kiepe is your reliable partner with experienced solutions for rail vehicles, both now and in the future,” concludes Slavko. “This is achieved through a solid customer-size, innovative, efficient, and economic product portfolio, that goes beyond HVAC to cover the complete equipment for rail vehicles.”