ZAUGG AG EGGIWIL: pioneers in the railway snow clearing market
Reto Grunder, Deputy Head of Technology, Product Manager Railway Technology, at ZAUGG AG EGGIWIL, explains how the company has adapted to changes in the railway market by expanding their range of offerings to meet the needs of their customers.
When did ZAUGG AG EGGIWIL enter the railway market and how have you adapted to change in recent years?
The company was founded in 1893 by the Zaugg brothers in Eggiwil. At that time, the company mainly built agricultural implements, but from 1965 onwards, production advanced to the construction of snow clearing equipment. Due to the very good quality and the excellent clearing performance of our snow clearing equipment, railroad companies also became aware of our products.
In the beginning, most snow-clearing attachments were offered for existing service vehicles. Due to the constant demand for larger clearing services, e.g. to ensure a functioning route network in winter, stand-alone vehicles (such as pushed or self-propelled) were then also built for snow clearing. In 2010, our range of offerings was further expanded with the welding certification according to EN 15085 CL1. Today we are independently able to manufacture complete maintenance vehicles according to EN 14033. In the future, we will also be able to offer maintenance services directly to our customers according to ECM 4.
What are the biggest railway snow clearance challenges that your clients face?
From a technical point of view, the biggest challenge is certainly the constant climate change, which has a large impact on snow conditions and the environment. Weather conditions are becoming more and more unstable. Where there used to be a lot of powder snow, nowadays there is more wet snow. Thanks to our 2-stage snow blower system (1st stage snow cutting, 2nd stage snow ejection), we are well positioned for both powder and fresh snow in this respect.
Customers who used to have only a rotary blower but now use our snow cutter/blower to clear the tracks would not want to go back. Furthermore, operational readiness must always be guaranteed these days, which also places high demands on the quality and operational readiness of the snow removal vehicle. Added to this are the increased requirements from individual national regulations and their associated documentation.
With the introduction of the Fourth Railway Package in particular, the requirements for such individual special machines have increased enormously in recent years. Thus, we find ourselves in the same position regarding requirements for the provision of evidence for either one unit or multiple units of our machines.
This presents the operator with the challenge of maintaining a high-quality vehicle for winter maintenance and still being able to operate it economically.
Why is it important for you to offer customised machines?
Rail lines can differ between each railroad infrastructure company; whether due to the track gauges, curve radii, reference profiles, adhesion railway, cogwheel railways, altitude, clearing performance or clearing profile.
Furthermore, we can offer specific vehicle requirements to the operator such as a break room, vital emergency systems for personnel survival in the vehicle, remote monitoring of the vehicle, electric/combustion engine, etc., or even an alcohol breathalyser for the driver! Thanks to our expertise, we can offer each customer the right vehicle on any route network in the world, whether as a pushed or self-propelled vehicle. Thus, we can implement individual customer requests, make individual adjustments, and respond to needs while taking all these into account.
What does the future hold for ZAUGG AG EGGIWIL?
Due to our large vertical range of manufacturing and expertise in the adhesion and cogwheel networks, we can offer customer-specific, non-snow related solutions in addition to machines for snow removal.
We are also involved with partner companies in an ongoing vehicle refit, where we are rebuilding and improving existing vehicles. This will enable us to realise further exciting projects with our customers around the world in the coming years.
We will continue to develop as a service provider in the field of engineering for special products in the railway sector beyond snow clearance. At this juncture, the approval procedures as well as new alternative drive systems will offer exciting topics.