Poland is an important and traditional “railway country”. The history of rail transport in Poland dates back to the first half of the 19th century. Today, Poland is one of the five countries with the largest rail vehicle fleets in Europe. The Polish railways network consists of around 19,600 kilometers of track, of which the vast majority is electrified using a 3 kilovolts (kV) DC overhead line system. Traditionally, Poland has a diversified national rail vehicle industry, which is also increasingly exporting.
Due to its central situation in Europe and highly-skilled population, Poland is an important location for ABB. ABB has had a presence in Poland since 1990, and has more than 2,500 employees, 6 production facilities and one of its seven global corporate research centers in Krakow. Increasingly, ABB supplies high-quality key components for rail infrastructure and rail vehicles to the Polish market or from Polish ABB factories to the world market.
£ódŸ, the third largest city in Poland, is situated centrally in the country and hosts three major state-owned universities. In the nearby town of Aleksandrów £ódzki, ABB has invested in a brand-new factory manufacturing various types of CO2-reducing power electronic equipment, like medium-voltage drives, railway converters, and wind converters.
In 2010, ABB started to produce traction converters for diesel-electric trains in this new factory. As part of the BORDLINE® CC family, these converters are highly compact and integrated, with 500 kilowatts (kW) motor power, 50 kW auxiliary power, and an 8 kW battery charger. More than 400 traction converters of this type have been sold. Customers like the reliability, the modular design, the need for fewer spare parts, and the active rectifier, which allows the diesel engine to run always at its best efficiency.
In October 2011, ABB opened a new production line and routine test facility at this factory for BORDLINE® CC750_DC_3 kV, a powerful compact converter for Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) trains in DC grids. 3 kV DC line voltage is the most widespread electrification in Poland, Spain, Italy, and for many other important rail networks in Central and Eastern Europe as well as in the Southern hemisphere. 56 BORDLINE® CC750_DC_3 kV converters assure reliable and smooth transport in fourteen regional trains from Stadler Rail of type FLIRT in the regions of Mazovia and Silesia.
“Moving such a production volume to Aleksandrow Lodzki is a strong commitment to the Polish rail market. We are confident that ABB’s move and local presence for support will be rewarded with future projects both from Polish transport companies and Polish vehicle manufacturers,” explains Janusz Petrykowski, Manager of ABB’s Discrete Automation and Motion division in Poland. “Our company delivers almost all power elements for electric contact lines and vehicle equipment. Regarding the specific character of railway power supply systems all over the world, there are not many producers who can be proud of such an extensive product portfolio.”
For the last twenty years, ABB has been delivering equipment and systems for local rail power supply infrastructure. Based on the technical and technological heritage from the Elta factory in £ódŸ, ABB has substantially contributed to construction, extension and modernization of Polish railway network. ABB’s global center of excellence for DC substation converters has also been moved to the power electronics factory in Aleksandrow Lodzki.
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