With a new model of the road-rail robot VLEX, Vollert extends its compact solution to shunting operations up to 600 tons. Twice as strong, but only 500 mm larger, the new VLEX 40 is also suitable for fast track changes in confined spaces. A swing axle guarantees permanent ground or rail contact of all four wheels, even on uneven ground. And thanks to the emission-free electric drive, operation in closed storage and production areas is also possible. The extremely maneuverable shunting solution is used, for example, in the South Korean metro in Seoul, for moving tank wagons at Lanxess in Leverkusen or for loading lime at Rheinkalk Grevenbrück GmbH.
The new model VLEX 40 with a tensile load of 40 kN and a weight of 10 tons doubles the range of application of the compact, manoeuvrable and emission-free road-rail solution from 300 tons for the VLEX 20 to 600 tons now, thus increasing flexibility when moving freight wagons or internal transport wagons. In one-man operation, the radio-controlled all-round vehicle changes quickly and easily from the track to the road and vice versa. Its ingenious vehicle geometry with articulated steering and four individually controlled wheel hub motors make it extremely manoeuvrable and economical. They enable tyre-friendly turning radii of only 7.2 m up to 360° turns on the spot.
Solid rubber tyres and the high dead weight ensure optimum traction. A swing axle guarantees the safe continuous ground and rail contact of all four wheels, so that potholes, height differences in the track or smaller obstacles can be overcome without loss of traction. In addition, track guide rollers are lowered hydraulically for rail travel. "Companies often have several shifting areas in logistics or production. If so, the VLEX offers the necessary flexibility in shunting operations. By extending the range of application to 600 tonnes, we are also responding to numerous customer enquiries that require the shunting of four to five wagons at a time," explains Jürgen Schiemer, head of the division shunting systems at Vollert.
In-plant use at KORAIL and Stadler
Two years ago, Vollert presented its innovative road-rail robot VLEX for the first time. Since then, the robust solution has successfully proven itself in rough railway operations on sidings, in tram and underground railway depots and in industry. An important aspect is the possible use of the battery-powered VLEX outdoors and indoors, also due to internationally increasing diesel emission protection regulations in closed halls. For the metro in Seoul, the state-owned South Korean railway company KORAIL relies on a Vollert VLEX 20 to move wagons in various halls for maintenance. The Swiss rail vehicle manufacturer Stadler uses the VLEX solution for pushing double-deck wagons up and down in combination with a transfer table in its new plant in St. Margrethen. Already during the construction phase, the versatile application possibilities and the high flexibility when shunting and avoiding obstacles were brought to bear.
For rough use indoors and outdoors
The road-rail robot from Vollert is also suitable for uneven and unpaved floors. At the chemical company Lanxess in Leverkusen, Germany, a VLEX is used to move tank and freight wagons outside of regular shunting operations. Rheinkalk Grevenbrück GmbH also relies on the robustness of the VLEX in its lime plant under difficult conditions, because the moist lime acts like soft soap on the tracks. Nevertheless, the VLEX brings four empty wagons each to the loading station with turnouts, curves and an ascending slope on the track. The previous solution could only move and shunt one wagon. The use of the VLEX shunting device therefore optimises the shunting process in terms of time.
About Vollert Anlagenbau GmbH
As a provider of innovation, Vollert Anlagenbau develops economical shunting systems for secondary and connecting railways. Since the 1950s, fixed, rope-bound shunting systems from Vollert have been used worldwide for the shunting of railway wagons and trains. In addition, Vollert, as a technology leader, offers self-sufficient shunting vehicles (shunting robot), heavy-duty transport wagons and transfer cars for reliable and efficient processes in refineries, mines, ports, steel and cement works, in explosion-protected areas, train washing facilities and maintenance operations.
Plant and machine solutions from Vollert are in use in more than 80 countries worldwide. In Asia and South America, Vollert's own subsidiaries are also strengthening sales activities. Vollert employs more than 300 people at its headquarters in Weinsberg.