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Signalling top technology on European railways


“We want to become recognized as the top employer in our sector, as well as the top service provider,” says Managing Director Holger Rosenberger. “We also aim to continue leading the field through our focus on innovation, and as a result, achieve strong profitability. These represent the four pillars of our vision.”

Founded in 1996, and today an independent company within the TÜV SÜD Group, SIGNON focuses on the rail sector in particular, for which it provides a comprehensive service encompassing signalling technology, train control, telecommunications and rail power supply.

Highly specialized and qualified staff are able to develop detailed, state-of-the-art solutions within their area of competence, while liaising with their colleagues in other specialist teams to ensure a fully integrated result.

In addition to its technical expertise, SIGNON offers a full service concept comprising planning, implementation and operation, from conceptualization, tender preparation and evaluation, and development and engineering, to installation, commissioning, and operation and optimization. “We are one of the few companies that can offer the complete package,” underlines Mr. Rosenberger.

The EU Agency for Railways (ERA) has recently introduced legislation relating to the upgrading and renewal of railway track and rolling stock within Europe. The European Train Control System (ETCS) relates to the signalling and control components, and aims to standardize safety levels.

“ETCS is an important focus for us in 2017. One of our goals for this year is to fully complete our planning for current ETCS projects,” explains Mr. Rosenberger. “We see huge potential, particularly within Germany where there are huge volumes of upgrading work to be completed over the coming years.”

With its focus on the railway industry, Deutsche Bahn is one of the company’s largest clients. Other clients include multi-national railway contractors, and regional networks belonging to Deutsche Bahn, as well as clients in the subway sector.

The company also provides services to track construction firms, for which it offers comprehensive implementation planning. Headquartered in Berlin, with branch offices in Dresden, Duisburg, Hamburg and Munich, as well as in Austria and Switzerland, SIGNON operates primarily in the DACH countries.

However, opportunities in other regions are not excluded, and the company recently completed an important railway project in Saudi Arabia, working together with international railway contractors. SIGNON currently employs 230 staff, and training plays an important role in the company’s human resource strategy.

“We are expecting to grow significantly in the coming years, which means that personnel numbers will also need to increase,” points out Mr. Rosenberger. “As a result of this, training and apprenticeships will become one of our biggest challenges. Dual study programmes provide the combination of theoretical knowledge and experience that we seek, and we have formed a cooperation with the Technical University of Dresden, which offers leading degree courses in signalling technology. The university provides us with a strong pipeline of work experience students, which strengthens our skill base and helps us identify talented engineers for the future.”

SIGNON is one of the leading service providers in its sector, and is among the top three in terms of technical orientation. Mr. Rosenberger attributes this success to a number of factors.

“We have an incredibly deep technical knowledge,” he notes. “Our intensive training and apprenticeship programmes support the development of our staff, resulting in a good working environment and highly motivated staff. Finally, we offer continuity and a sustainable service for our clients.”

Besides the completion of planning for the ETCS legislation, priorities for 2017 include preparation for the Stuttgart 21 project. Longer term, SIGNON is looking to enhance its services through the development of strategic partnerships, involving extensive communication with the railway industry.

In particular, this relates to the theme of Building Information Modelling (BIM), a process of generating, building and managing data using model-based technologies linked to a database of physical, environmental and commercial information. Whatever direction the company takes in the future, its vision of retaining its position as a top service provider and employer, while innovating the industry seem certain to ensure its long-term profitability.

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