Stadler, A Fully Automatic Train From Valencia

2021-02-18   |   by CusiGO

The Stadler railway plant in Spain is avoiding the impact of coronavirus. It did not submit any temporary employment regulation (RTE) documents, announced an investment of 40 million euros, and continued to grow in terms of labor force (there are 1365 workers now) and turnover (more than 261 million euros in 2019, with a net profit of 24 million euros). During the year of the pandemic, the factory, located on the waterfront of albuixech, 10 kilometers from Valencia, was carrying out various projects and ordering.

The Leo part is a macro contract for Renfe to update the fleet of 211 commuter trains and maintain them over a 15 year period. The total amount is 2.726 billion euro. The two-part open tender is due to take place in the first quarter of this year, with the Valencia plant tied for runner up with Alston’s Barcelona plant. The procurement Bureau rejected CAF’s and Talgo’s bids, and the central court of contract and Resources Administration (CARC) approved the latter’s appeal decision at the end of last year.

In addition, Stadler Valencia has just signed an agreement with British Rail operators to produce 30 93 class three mode locomotives using three energy sources (electricity, lithium batteries and diesel engines), Gradually adopt cleaner and more environmentally friendly alternative energy. The first 10 locomotives of the order will be delivered in 2023.

In an industrial area between the orchard and the Mediterranean, workers do most of the work by hand in the factory’s spacious hangar. For example, in the railway industry, it has accepted many customized orders, and the degree of automation in the automobile industry is impossible. The silence in the factory was amazing, where the huge locomotive casings were lifted up for the operators below. There is a certain optimism in the office. The outlook is good, and the commitment to consolidate and promote the knowledge and experience of the Valencia centre seems clear, as orders and projects and the recent decision to invest 40 million euros in aluminium boxes for the manufacture of lighter railway vehicles. The plant is part of the Swiss International Group Stadler and was acquired in 2016. But its origin can be traced back to 123 years ago, when two blacksmiths set up workshops, which was due to the demand of orange start-ups.

In macosa, Spain, these workshops were rebuilt, from which iconic locomotives such as Mikado were born and became the object of adoration for many train fans. Materials and construction company (macosa) was acquired by Alstom in France at the end of 1980s, which was acquired by waslow in Germany, and finally by Stadler. The multinational operates all parts of the railway market at 250 kilometers an hour. Company sources pointed out that at a faster speed, it is not interested. They said that this is not a technical issue, but an issue of economic and ecological efficiency.

Throughout history, the factory has been trying to get rid of the historical crisis and its own vicissitudes, including the civil war, in which it was confiscated by the government of the Republic of armored vehicles, and now faces a bright future. “The Group intends to transform its Valencia plant into a Spanish Railway Technology Center, which has global reference value,” said I nianigo Parra, President of Stadler Valencia. “With nearly 1400 employees, the engineering department manages about 300 professionals, from Valencia to the entire railway vehicle value chain, from design to approval and, of course, manufacturing,” he added.

The future is through research and clean energy. Train is a key means of transport in the EU’s sectoral decarbonization program, as a basic component of the Green Convention and carbon dioxide emission reduction. In this regard, the company proposed a tractor project in the interest expression of various government ministries to obtain funds for the reconstruction of post pandemic Europe. “This is an issue of research and development of green hydrogen powered railway vehicles and batteries, which will help to more quickly narrow the current technology gap and thus promote broad market acceptance,” a company source said.

In Europe, about 40% of the lines are not electrified, and there are about 80000 km of lines. In Spain, that’s 37 percent, according to the company, with about 400 diesel vehicles running daily on 5500 tracks without catenary. They are usually low traffic lines, and electrification is very expensive. Like other companies, Stadler is committed to replacing the most polluting locomotives with alternative energy sources such as green hydrogen and batteries, although the implementation process requires a very high investment. Therefore, the Committee believes that “it is essential to consider the selection of prototype demonstration vehicles when appealing for assistance” and is convinced that hydrogen batteries can be used for rail transport. At present, the cost of producing this clean energy is very high, making its implementation impractical or very difficult. The company believes that with the promotion of research and technology and the increase of suppliers, the cost will fall.

The development of green hydrogen battery technology will consolidate the albuixech plant, which has been selected as its new regional and commuter train technology center in America and southern Europe, “This includes making aluminum boxes for future railway vehicles,” Parra said.