Products for the world's railways

Products for the world's railways

17 / 04 / 2019

Products for the world's railways manufactured in Murgenthal

  • A wide range of locomotives operate with current collector systems from Richard AG.
  • a traditional Swiss company that was founded in Murgenthal in 1906.

Switzerland is a railway country. There is no other place in the world that can boast so many metres of railway per capita. The country's railway industry was once correspondingly broad. The Swiss Locomotive Factory, BBC, Schindler and SIG, to name just a few, were all suppliers of rolling stock until the 1990s. How times have changed.

The decline of the railway business of these companies also spawned new winners. Stadler Rail is at the forefront. However, Peter Spuhler could not produce his railway vehicles without suppliers. Richard AG from Murgenthal is also "on board". This traditional company was founded in 1906 and has been manufacturing current collectors since 1913 – originally for BBC. Managing Director Hanspeter Jutzi explained that you can compete internationally without operating in the mass production business, but rather by producing small series. "This is how we can best respond to customer needs."  Production Manager Andreas Zaugg cites double-deck trains in America's Silicon Valley, for which Stadler Rail was awarded the contract, as an example. Despite the "America First" policy: "Richard products are very well represented on this platform, including the main switch and the current collector, as this is a special solution and not a series product." Richard products are also found on trains made by Siemens and Bombardier.

The railway industry demands small, compact and lightweight solutions. "Richard AG is provided with the interfaces and the space requirements, for which we then develop and design the special solution," says Zaugg. This includes the current collector and the main switch of the locomotives and traction units – whose contacts open and close in a vacuum. The Richard AG product range also includes roof line disconnectors and inter-coach jumpers. Silicone insulators are the main insulator used today. However, Richard AG still produces porcelain insulators, which are still used in a number of countries. When a locomotive is to move its wagons across national borders, a system selector switch is required – in Switzerland the voltage in the contact wire is 15 kilovolts, in Italy it is 3 kV. "We can implement our turnkey solutions in a very short time," says Hanspeter Jutzi. For Production Manager Zaugg, the term "turnkey" means that various products are combined in a roof box as a system solution, which is delivered fully wired and ready for installation.

Richard AG, along with its 120 employees, has no reason to fear the future. First of all, the market demands flexibility and secondly, locomotives need to be maintained, which is where Richard's solutions play a key role. The line of succession has now been determined the helm at Richard AG. Production Manager Andreas Zaugg, Roman Sommer (Finances) and Sales Manager Christoph Odermatt will acquire the majority shareholding from the Jutzi family as part of a management buyout.

Beat Kirchhofer, bkr, "Produkte für die Bahnen der Welt kommen aus Murgenthal" Zofinger Tagblatt 17.04.2019

Products for the world's railways