Research and development

In the wake of the first half, Ansaldo STS' research and development in the second half of 2008 also contributed significantly to the success and growth of the Ansaldo STS Group in the world.

These important contributions are particularly appreciated by the world of rail systems, and especially the markets and segments in which the new technologies and the increasingly better performing products developed by Ansaldo STS' R&D team are becoming even more prevalent and more widely used, and are added to those products that by now have been traditional strengths of the Signalling and the Transport Systems Business Units.

Significant examples in the traditional sector are:

  • Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC): Companies in the business of metro public transport have shown strong appreciation for this product. Again, it proved strategic and fundamental in securing additional contracts in China (new orders acquired for the Shenyang Line 2 and the Chendu Line 1), but also in new countries such a Turkey (the 4 Ankara lines).
    • The application of the ERTMS/ETCS Level 2 technology to the high-speed rail lines such as the Milan-Bologna tract that became operational on 13 December 2008 and the Rhin-Rhone line in France for which a new contract was recently acquired.
    • At the same time, the following may be considered as successes in the non-traditional sectors:
  • The development of the system known as Advanced Train Management System (ATMS) for the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), with the aim of significantly improving the Australian rail industry's capacity. The ATMS is to be developed by Ansaldo STS for the ARTC with the objective of improving the capacity of their rail network, making it more flexible, while also increasing the security, reliability and availability of the equipment used. Capitalising on GPS technology for the reporting and calculation of the position of the train along the line, the system also considerably reduces not only the costs of the final system but also of its annual maintenance, simultaneously increasing the safety of the personnel operating alone the line who are implementing it daily.
  • New and advanced integrated security systems for the management of passenger traffic and information traffic exchanged between the periphery and centre for data collection and processing.
  • The development of the Automatic Train Operation (ATO) system that manages the extraction and heavy transport of rails. This project is the first of its kind at a global level, and it contemplates the supply of a secure, totally automated system without any engineer piloting the train. The final objective of this new, totally automated and cutting-edge system is to increase the efficiency of the lines, while simultaneously ensuring greater security and reliability of the overall system. The project had initially been developed for the Rio Tinto Railways but it was later suspended.

Also worth noting are the recent and additional framework agreements that Ansaldo STS has signed with some of the most important and prestigious Italian and foreign universities, and other agreements that are still planned. These agreements are mainly aimed at creating new working relationships (in addition to those which are already well established) for product design, development and sustainable production. The accent is on creating a new type of relationship between the business world and the world of university research, so as to improve the quality of the training and research processes for both parties and to foster development of an enterprise culture.

Research and development spending stood at EUR 44,512 thousand for 2008, compared with EUR 41,236 thousand for 2007, with an increase of 7.94%. The activities developed by the Signalling Business Unit, for a total value of EUR 41,618 thousand, account for 93% of the total, and are referable to the following companies (data in EUR 000's):

  • Ansaldo Segnalamento Ferroviario SpA (ASF): 10,777
  • Ansaldo STS France: 16,312
  • Ansaldo STS USA Inc.: 6,452
  • Ansaldo STS Sweden AB: 5,143
  • Other: 2,934

The activity developed by the Transport Systems Business Unit covered spending o EUR 2,894 thousand with an increase of EUR 618 thousand compared with the balance at 31 December 2007.

Research & Development by Business Unit at 31 December 2008 and 2007 (EUR thousands)

Research and Development

Research and Development