The rail industry is increasingly moving away from the use of steel and replacing it with aluminum as the primary material for trains. This is a consequence of the innovations transferred from the aerospace industry, where the pressure to develop low-weight materials is great, and the adaptation of them by the rail industry. Aluminum has high formability - it can be easily machined into any shape, and excess material is fully recyclable. This shortens the production cycle of trains.
The new investment will enable the Alstom plant in Wroclaw to acquire new projects and produce aluminum boxes for regional trains for European markets, says Slawomir Cyza, President and Managing Director of Alstom in Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic States.
“Alstom is at the forefront of aluminum welding technology in rolling stock production in Poland and will continue to develop and popularise this technology, which is more efficient and environmentally friendly than conventional steel. Aluminum has many advantages over stainless steel in train construction. Aluminum guarantees a lower weight of trains, which in turn contributes to using less energy to power the train and thus lower CO2 emissions. At the same time, the reduced weight of the carriage means that train speeds can be higher even on existing railroad tracks.”
The Wroclaw site is a manufacturer of locomotive and passenger vehicle bodies, including bodies for high-speed trains. Bogie frames for various types of rail vehicles are also being built there. The total value of ongoing projects is nearly €700 million, and the site employs more than 1,000 people.