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Blickle ErgoMove drive system makes mobile railway service equipment easier to operate

Mobile machines for the maintenance of trains and locomotives are a speciality of Swiss company Cromatech AG.

Blickle ErgoMove drive system makes mobile railway service equipment easier to operate
Transport trolley for grit retrofitted with Blickle ErgoMove

The heavy equipment can now be operated easily, ergonomically and safely thanks to the electric drive system ErgoMove from Blickle. It keeps workers healthy by minimising the amount of force required for moving and braking.

From the Glacier Express through to the Bernina Express and the Gotthard panoramic route - if you’re a fan of picture-perfect railway routes, then Switzerland is the place for you. Anyone travelling by train in Switzerland has the products of Cromatech AG to thank. The Gossau-based company develops and manufactures systems and equipment for a number of different applications, including equipment for maintaining and servicing railways and trams. Schweizerische Bundesbahnen AG (SBB) and many smaller regional rail operators rely on Cromatech’s solutions. Its range includes products like train cars and mobile systems which provide trains with the grit they need for traction when setting off, while also allowing them to brake safely and accelerate efficiently when there’s snow on the ground.

Low rolling resistance not enough on its own
Cromatech has relied on Blickle wheels and castors for some time to make sure that their transport units, some of which weigh up to 1,000 kg, can be moved safely and reliably from point A to point B on train platforms and over long distances in rail depots. The Rosenfeld-based specialist had already developed a range of tailored solutions for this customer.

These solutions utilise Blickle Besthane Soft and Blickle Softhane treads with optimised rolling resistance and excellent rolling characteristics. Getting the transport units moving and bringing them to a stop involved a lot of work as the conventional wheels and castors were operating at their limits. This increased the risk of musculoskeletal disorders for the rail operator’s service employees who are responsible for moving the transport units around all day.

Blickle had the ideal solution to meet this challenge: the ErgoMove 1000 electric drive system. This system is suitable for loads of up to 1,000 kg and reaches speeds of up to 4 km/h. It reduces the amount of force required to get loads moving to a minimum, even on an incline. The integrated inversion brake reduces the physical strain involved in braking. ErgoMove also includes a steering support system. The system is controlled with an ergonomic handle which transfers the motions of the user to the drive castors.

Blickle ErgoMove drive system makes mobile railway service equipment easier to operate  
Blickle ErgoMove drive system makes mobile railway service equipment easier to operate
Mobile “Sand-Meister” grit filling system with ErgoMove

Tailored adjustments for safe operation
Blickle’s experts tailored their solution to suit Cromatech’s specific requirements. The wheels needed to be able to bridge gaps of up to 60 mm so that they would not get stuck in the track. That’s why Blickle chose to fit twin wheel castors on Cromatech’s maintenance vehicles.

Blickle was also able to overcomes the challenges posed by the large number of inclines in the area. An easy-to-use locking system reliably locks equipment in place to prevent it rolling away on an incline. The integrated dead man’s brake is only unlocked if the system detects the user’s hands. The drive support system makes it easier to overcome inclines, while the inversion brake prevents runaway vehicles on slopes. Blickle and Cromatech used real world data to determine how steep these inclines could be in practice and configured the software of the ErgoMove system accordingly.

The plug and play drives are easy to install and intuitive to operate. Cromatech found it easy to integrate Blickle’s technology thanks to a tailored cockpit connector. A number of transport trolleys (image 1) and mobile filling systems (image 2) for grit were outfitted with ErgoMove systems. The batteries used by the system are quick and easy to replace, minimising downtime. The Swiss company can also rely on Blickle’s support when it comes to after sales and servicing. In addition to a custom ErgoMove solution that considerably improves user ergonomics and safety, the manufacturer also benefits from a long-term partnership that extends far beyond the implementation of a single system. This prevents accidents and illness while also making the work of Cromatech’s employees much less strenuous

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