International experts from all over Europe met in Berlin on 12 and 13 May 2022 to discuss the latest trends in rail vehicle coating. It became clear that the industry wants to automate more. The next ECOLROMAT will take place in 2024.

As with so many events in recent weeks and months, the pleasure of finally exchanging ideas with colleagues and experts from our own community prevailed at ECOLROMAT 2022. Coating experts from railway operators, OEMs, TIER1 suppliers and many other experts from seven European countries discussed what drives the industry. One major topic was automation. This is not yet very widespread in the coating of rail vehicles. At least in Europe, as became clear during the presentation by Sebastien Pellisier, from the French branch of Dürr. However, this is definitely technically feasible, explained Pellisier, and he explained that there is still enormous potential for efficiency gains here, for example because robots apply the paint much more efficiently and a lot of energy can also be saved in the ventilation of the paint booths. Several participants reported on their experiences in Asia, where the industry is already further along. Heiko Reski from Blastmann Robotics explained that various automatic blasting robots are already being used in the pre-treatment of rail vehicles. Modern technology also played a role in the presentation by Frederick Tschuschke, who reported on coating solutions for new sources of danger. He discussed how coatings can increase safety when using new types of battery systems and hydrogen.

Another highlight of the event was the live presentation of the Advanced TrainLab, a joint project between Deutsche Bahn and five different paint manufacturers. Here, the paint manufacturers have coated several wagons of a laboratory train with different paint systems, which are now being observed and evaluated in live operation. Oliver Weist, Managing Director of WWO weist + wienecke oberflächenveredlung GmbH, reported on how the Deutsche Bahn standard 918 340 ensures high-quality coatings for the railways. In addition, Jörg Guney from Siemens Mobility GmbH and Marco Goerlitz from Weilburger Coatings, representing the VDB Working Group on Surface Technology, presented how the German Railway Industry Association (VDB) supports companies in ensuring the best coating performance in the rail vehicle industry.

ECOLROMAT 2022 came to a successful close on 13 May after two informative days with intensive discussions and lively exchanges on energy efficiency, application techniques, paint systems and automation. The next event is expected to take place in May / June 2024.