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The future of rail maintenance


“Our name has always been a synonym for rail maintenance and technical progress in the railway business. It was Matisa’s founder who first introduced a tamping machine to accurately correct the geometry of the tracks with the help of a machine – a job that required manpower and simple machinery in former times. The tamping machine was the starting point of our long history in rail maintenance machinery,” points out Sales and Marketing Director Roger Grossniklaus, who has long been infected by the ‘yellow virus’, as he calls it – the passion for the yellow maintenance machinery.

The days of hard manual labour are merely a reminiscence of the past – modern machinery has now taken over. “We have gradually expanded our machinery portfolio since our foundation back in 1945. Today, our range includes tampers, ballast regulators, ballast cleaners, track laying and renewal machinery as well as track inspection vehicles. The latest addition to our range was the transport wagon at the beginning of the millennium. It delivers switches in their final assembly directly to the worksite, where they are unloaded and installed while the old switches are loaded and returned to the factory for disassembly,” explains Mr. Grossniklaus. “This is really an exceptional machine as the switch can now be transported in one piece without any disassembly or reassembly, thus facilitating the work of the rail service personnel. It is the answer to the ubiquitous just-in–time concept that allows for short downtimes.”

Matisa still supports its customers in the railway industry to keep tracks in operation and it guarantees uninterrupted rail connections. Technological progress has not stopped but has been embraced by keeping pace with new innovations in the rail sector.

Roger Grossniklaus
More intelligent machines are the future of rail maintenance services. Roger GrossniklausSales and Marketing Director

“We are now seeing Industry 4.0. The machines have been continuously developed and modernized and the latest trends are autonomous and intelligent machines that are safe and reliable to use. When a worker can no longer follow the high speed required for his work, automation of this work field takes over,” says Mr. Grossniklaus.

Matisa has also specialized in tailormade machinery that it produces on behalf of customers with very specific ideas. Generally speaking, most customers are either private rail maintenance companies or rail companies which operate their own maintenance divisions and buy the machines from Matisa. Matisa exports its machines worldwide and has established eight subsidiaries, mostly in countries with a highly developed rail infrastructure and high-speed trains. The machines are 98% Swiss made at its production site in Crissier.

“We manufacture high-end machines, which are worth every penny. This is why outsourcing would never be an option for us. We are specialists for heavy machines that can easily weigh up to 100 t. At the same time they can measure geometries with millimetre precision,” states Mr. Grossniklaus.

This is one of the reasons why Matisa mainly expands exports to markets where its technology is supporting track maintenance services. “We are not the leaders volume-wise but in terms of quality, prestige and image. We are one of the few who are able to provide such a complete portfolio,” stresses Mr. Grossniklaus. “We aim for sustainable growth and new technological developments. This is the main objective for us and our team of over 600 staff.”