iaf 2022 opened in Münster
The 28th International Exhibition of Track Technology (iaf) opened today in Münster under the motto "Track to the Future". More than 140 international exhibitors will present new and innovative products and services to thousands of visitors from over 60 countries. As a special highlight, the organisers welcome Poland as this year's guest country. With this, the association acknowledges the positive development of the Polish railway infrastructure and the planned modernisation steps in the coming years.
VDEI President Dr Thomas Mainka welcomed the guests of honour, exhibitors and visitors during the opening ceremony. "I am delighted that so many of you have remained loyal to the fair and are contributing to the success of the iaf through your participation. It also fills me with pride that there are once again many impressive world premieres to be seen at the fair," said Mainka.
Federal government wants to strengthen rail as a mode of transport
Following the welcome address, Michael Theurer, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Digital and Transport and Federal Government Commissioner for Rail Transport, addressed the guests on behalf of the patron of the trade fair, Federal Minister for Digital and Transport, Dr Volker Wissing. He emphasised the Federal Government's goal of strengthening rail transport and establishing it as a sustainable and future-proof mode of transport. To achieve this, three fields of action are of particular importance: an efficient, resilient infrastructure, innovations as well as committed and well-trained specialists.
Budget funds for railway expansion and shorter decision-making processes
The Lord Mayor of the City of Münster, Markus Lewe, was pleased that the iaf, as the largest trade fair in the MCC Halle Münsterland, has again committed itself to the location this year. He also stressed the importance of converting the transport system and making it fit for the future. The railways have a special role to play in this. Lewe urged that, on the one hand, sufficient budget must be made available for the expansion of the railway, and on the other hand, the decision-making processes for construction projects must become shorter.
Building the future together
As representative of the host country Poland, Jacek Biegała from the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Cologne addressed the guests. He paid particular attention to the special relations and good relations between Poland and Germany. This had been very close, especially in the past thirty years. Biegała appealed to the two countries to "build the future together.
Polish engineers' association SITK wants to intensify international cooperation and networking
Poland was then also the focus of the speech by Jacek Paś, President of the Polish Engineers Association Stowarzyszenie Inżynierów i Techników Komunikacji Rzeczpospolitej Polskiej (SITK). Paś particularly addressed the importance of the values of his association: Friendliness, Inspiration and Friendship. In view of the recent events in Ukraine and the challenges this poses for Polish railways, Paś said the association is encouraged to live these values even more strongly and to further intensify and promote international cooperation and networking in the future. The iaf in particular offered an excellent opportunity for this, which SITK was happy to seize.
Sennhenn presents "Strong Rail" strategy of DB Netz
The keynote speech at the opening was given by Frank Sennhenn, Chairman of the Management Board of DB Netz AG. Sennhenn focused his presentation on the company’s strategy "Strong Rail". He particularly emphasised three goals included in it:
Den Impulsvortrag im Rahmen der Eröffnung hielt Frank Sennhenn, der Vorstandsvorsitzende der DB Netz AG. Sennhenn stellte die Konzernstrategie „Die Starke Schiene“ in den Mittelpunkt seines Vortrages. Drei darin enthaltene Ziele hob er besonders hervor:
- Doubling the number of passengers travelling by rail
- Expansion of the market share of rail freight transport to 25%
- Increase in operating performance on the German network by +350 million track kilometres
Although the capacity demand could be covered in principle, the nominal capacity available in real terms fell below demand due to three capacity-reducing drivers. To counteract this, a programme of measures was developed. Losses due to a non-optimal infrastructure are to be reduced by small and medium-sized measures. Capacity reductions triggered by the operating programme are to be reduced through optimisations in timetable and capacity planning. In order to reduce the basic level of disruption, the prevention programme should be expanded in the future.
Together with a holistic view of the state of the infrastructure, the prevention programme should lead to a higher reliability of the railway network. As a particular challenge, Sennhenn mentioned keeping contract award volumes high and compensating for price increases as well as increasing capacity-saving construction.
Presentation of the VDEI Award 2022 to Dr Chongjie Kang
After the keynote speech by Frank Sennhenn, the VDEI Award of €3,000 was presented to Dr Chongjie Kang for his doctoral thesis on the topic of "Verification of rail resistance taking track-support structure interaction into account". This work was assessed by the independent jurors with 17 out of 18 possible points each.
In his dissertation, Kang dealt with an economically very important problem. With approx. 77,000 km of total rail length laid in Germany, it is noticeable that the focus is on the vehicles and the structures, but the highly stressed wearing parts in the track remain relatively unnoticed in research. The results of the research work have already been used in the planning of several large bridges, resulting in the elimination of rail expansions, which not only saved considerable financial resources, but also improved the computational durability of the track construction.
Tour of the trade fair with many world premieres
The official tour of the trade fair took place at the end of the opening, during which the guests of honour, accompanied by the association, visited the trade fair grounds and selected exhibitors. Special attention was paid to the world premieres represented at the iaf, which were presented by the respective company representatives.