First DiBO train wash for NMBS has been put into use
The DiBO train wash at Schaarbeek traction workshop has been put into use. This is the first in a series of six wash installations to be supplied by DiBO Project(s) to the NMBS. We were able to take an exclusive glimpse behind the scenes!
In 2013 DiBO Project(s) received the order from the NMBS to install new train washes at six locations in Belgium. Geert De Vulder, project manager at NMBS Technics, explains how the cooperation originated: “We launched a European negotiation procedure for a framework agreement with Belgian and European publication to install new train washes at the traction workshops in Schaarbeek and Kinkempois, and at the technical maintenance centers at Brussel Klein-Eiland, Charleroi-Sud (Châtelet), Kortrijk and Ottignies.”
DiBO Project(s) submitted the best offer and was awarded the order. De Vulder: “We compared all the candidate files and assessed them for all important performance aspects. The key aspects decisive in joining up with DiBO included the technical input combined with relevant solutions, the flexibility, the software intelligence used and obviously also the price.”
Michael Van Dijk, director of DiBO Project(s), emphasizes the importance of this project for his team: “It is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate our expertise as a manufacturer and full-service supplier of vehicle washing installations.”
A first in Schaarbeek
Schaarbeek traction workshop has been given the honor of bringing the first washing installation into operation. The work started in 2014 and the first trains were washed there last weekend. Geert De Vulder: “The original wash system in Schaarbeek is already some 40 years old so urgently due for replacement. It is the intention for all trains going to the workplace to be washed there. There are currently still fourteen different types, but it is the intention to bring this down to a maximum of eight to ten.”
The new DiBO washing installation in Schaarbeek is 85 meters long and fitted with highly advanced technologies. The installation includes a total of sixteen vertical side brushes for the train side walls, four vertically adjustable and horizontally swiveling roof edge brushes for the roof edges and windows of the double deckers, two lower edge brushes for the low parts of double deckers and different spray arches. The brush swiveling systems are fully PLC controlled for optimum washing pressure on the train side walls. Frost protection is also provided with the installation automatically emptying all piping at temperatures of 1 °C or lower.
The washing process is fully automatically and activated through vehicle detection and positioning system added by the NMBS. This system is a combination of axle (wheel) counters, infrared sensors and an RFID system which recognizes the type of train, how it has to be washed and at which brush pressure. The system also detects open doors.
Michael van Dijk: “After detection the train is subjected to five treatments: pre-washing, washing, rinsing, post-rinsing and drying. The washing takes place with a pH-neutral product. The NMBS is indeed highly committed to environmentally-friendly operations and we are only too pleased to cooperate in this respect. The washing zone also has a foam “canon” with insect spray to clean the train driver’s windows. The post-rinsing first takes place with recycled water, then with softened water and wax, and finally again with pure soft water.”
The environmentally-friendly aspect of this installation is outstanding in its performance. The water circuits are designed to clean the trains as efficiently and ecologically as possible. One hundred per cent recovered water is used for pre-washing and washing. Rainwater is also collected, filtered and sent to the spray arches.
Thanks to the separate circuits, each with their own coarse and fine filtering system, it is also possible to separate the sludge from the water. The sludge is collected in a tank where it can thicken before being taken semi-dry by container to an accredited waste company.
Hard- and software systems to operate the washing process are installed at the first floor of the technical building. The team from DiBO Project(s) can continually scan, take over and optimize the installation remotely. There is also the option of assisting the NMBS or other technicians on-site by remote servicing. Finally, a top quality high pressure cleaner and compressor system ensures that maintenance and service activities can be kept to a minimum.