RailServices Ankara: dedicated to local service.
Knorr-Bremse Turkey has increased the size of its service center in the capital Ankara fivefold. Trains can now be serviced even more efficiently to get them back on the track quickly. We look at the local presence of a global corporation – and why square meters are just one part of a complex equation.
Overhauling air compressors for Istanbul Metro is on Huseyin Uysal's to-do list today. While his colleague prepares the necessary parts, the Service Technician begins the preliminary inspection of the compressor. Then his work cell phone rings. "A customer reporting an error message on a train at the metro project in Ankara," Uysal explains, which means shifting his priorities around. Until the problem is solved, the metro train is not allowed to leave the depot. The compressors from his maintenance job, not quite so time critical, will have to wait for a short while.
Building braking systems for new trains is one pillar of Knorr-Bremse's Rail business. Ongoing component maintenance – in other words, the aim of keeping rail vehicles constantly available and in good working order – is the other. From the perspective of a rail operator, the latter is no less important.
RailServices worldwide: over 40 service centers on all continents
RailServices, the maintenance and aftermarket specialist for rail vehicles within the Knorr-Bremse group, therefore operates an entire network of service centers and customer service stations around the globe. The service centers alone now number more than 40 worldwide. A total of almost 2,000 highly trained employees now work there and in customer service. This network is becoming more tightly woven by the day.
Last year, RailServices substantially expanded its site in Budapest, making it a mainstay for the European rail service business. In addition, the service center in Faridabad, India, is being expanded for compressor overhauls. And most recently, a significantly enlarged service center has gone into operation in Ankara, Turkey. Almost all trains and locomotives in the country are now equipped with Knorr-Bremse products. Sell the products and head home again? That's not how the industry works. Locations and services need to grow in line with sales.
In the case of Knorr-Bremse Turkey, which goes by the full name Knorr Bremse Raylı Sistemler San. ve Tic. Ltd.Şti., this involved relocating and rebuilding the existing facility at a new service center, which is now almost 2,000 m² in size and thus around five times larger. "Here, we are equipped to repair almost everything on site that we supply to the Turkish rail market in terms of braking systems," explains Site Manager Selçuk Sakınmaz. "Even complex operations are no problem at this facility."
The relocation was accompanied by the integration of numerous test benches, including one each for inspecting serviced brake panels, brake calipers and brake block units and for reconditioned friction material. In addition, there are plans to install a universal test rig for pneumatic braking equipment. This ensures that serviced components undergo exactly the same testing procedures prior to delivery as Knorr-Bremse uses to ensure the outstanding quality of its new products. RailServices can now also repair components of hydraulically braked light rail vehicles directly on site. This is in response to the popularity of light rail vehicles, which tend to be equipped with space-saving hydraulic systems.
Another major advantage of being firmly embedded in customer markets is that local maintenance eliminates the need for customs clearance. Transport and lifecycle costs, i.e. the costs incurred over the long service life of trains, are reduced. Moreover, local suppliers have the opportunity to participate in Knorr-Bremse's national and international rail vehicle projects.
Local proximity is a genuinely unique selling point for Knorr-Bremse. Our staff here have local roots, which is also part of the philosophy. Our people know the Turkish soul, it's their soul too.
Selçuk Sakınmaz – Site Manager Service Center Ankara
Most importantly, however, is being on hand to assist on site. When an error message appears. When a part needs replacing. When the regional rail operator wants to talk face-to-face with a local representative, not just call their contact in Munich, Germany. "Local proximity is a genuinely unique selling point for Knorr-Bremse," says Site Manager Sakınmaz. Our staff here have local roots, which is also part of the philosophy. "Our people know the Turkish soul. After all, it's their soul too."
Mission complete: the metro train is back on track
The great benefit of local presence is strikingly visible in the day-to-day work of Service Technician Huseyin Uysal. He loads his car trunk with tools and the most common spare parts. Then, less than two hours after getting the call, he drives beneath the barrier at the depot of Ankara Metro. Uysal briefly discusses the problem with the person in charge. Then he sits in the stationary train with his laptop and checks the event log of the CubeControl brake control unit.
The event log, which is automatically recorded by numerous Knorr-Bremse systems down to product level, points to a software problem. "I update the software and run a few tests," explains Uysal. "Everything is working fine again." Of course, he says, it's not always that simple. "But today it all went smoothly – and, most importantly, quickly."
Just a few minutes later, the crucial formality is completed: the metro has its operating permit restored. The vehicle's dispatchers can send it back where it belongs: out on the tracks of the Turkish capital.