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Riga robot helps make coal loading friendlier

Vollert has supplied a DER 100 shunting robot to terminal operator SIA STREK for coal handling operations in the port of Riga.

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Riga robot helps make coal loading friendlier

All coal handling in Latvia’s port of Riga was moved from city centre locations to two new terminals – SIA STREK and SIA Riga Coal Terminal – on Krievu Island earlier this year.


Hard coal, mostly coming from Russia, is transported by rail in wagons that are now sent directly to the new terminals and distributed from there.


For loading, SIA STREK relies on a DER 100 shunting robot from the German shunting specialist Vollert. Its diesel-electric and electronically controlled all-wheel drive with 130 kW handles train loads of up to 2,000t and brings wagons to the new unloading facility in a 24-hour shuttle operation. Spring-loaded axles enable higher travel speeds on the 1 km-long route.


SIA STREK was aware of Vollert’s flexible shunting solution due to years of experience at the coal terminal in Tallinn, Estonia, and ordered an identical model variant with modernised features for its new terminal in Riga.


The special feature of the DER 100 shunting robot for STREK is its specially developed.


In contrast to conventional shunting locomotives of this size, the design of DER 100 shunting robot for STREK makes it possible to see the surroundings in front of and behind the shunting vehicle from the driver’s cab, said Vollert.


When changing direction, the driver does not have to get out of the vehicle and change the cab. This was made possible by the use of a particularly narrow drive unit that guarantees a clear view of the track field.


“The control can be done comfortably via control panel or via radio control in or on the vehicle. A particularly low entry height facilitates convenient access to the cab and the automatic shunting coupling facilitates coupling and uncoupling of the freight wagons,” the German firm explained.


“The advantage of the shunting robot lies in its high versatility. The DER 100 at STREK unloads the required wagons from different tracks and can move freely on the track system. At the same time, the shunting vehicle is a cost-saving solution – large shunting or mainline locomotives cannot be operated economically in this field of application. Another important factor for STREK was the ease of maintenance and servicing, especially in view of the high dust exposure during coal unloading.”


The restructuring of coal loading on Krievu Island is the largest investment project in the history of the port of Riga, designed to relieve the centre of the Latvian capital from the dusty coal loading and to make it more environmentally friendly


The wagons are now unloaded in a closed loading hall. Every three to five minutes, three wagons are completely turned in a special plant and emptied into an underground bunker.


The use of the DER 100 shunting robot helps ensure precise and punctual delivery of the wagons to the unloading facility. To prevent the spread of coal dust in the surrounding area, a wind fence of more than 2 km in length long and 23m high was installed.


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