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Rail E-ssentials

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Evolution instead of revolution: An interview with CEO Klaus Bosch

TÜV SÜD, Klaus Bosch, CEO of TÜV SÜD RailKlaus Bosch, CEO of the global Business Unit Rail talks about the digitalisation in the rail sector, the new digitalisation strategy of his business unit and the international long-term goals.

Mr. Bosch, in your business unit work over 700 associates. What distinguishes your business unit rail?

Over many years, we have consistently built up knowledge in all railway-related disciplines, including physical testing through to assessment and product certification prior to approval. In the beginning, we were only able to test components, but now we are able to certify entire rail systems. In Europe we are represented from Sweden to Italy, and also in Asia we have built up a network of railway experts. For us it is important to be able to communicate with our customers in their native language. Therefore, we take care to employ international employees, ideally directly on-site in the market. What further distinguishes us are our highly motivated employees, who are always interested in the latest questions of safety technology.

One of your strategic goals is to further grow globally. What exactly does this mean?

Over the past 20 years, we have repeatedly succeeded in winning spectacular international projects: From the assessment of the interlocking system for Roma Termini main station in Rome to new railway lines, for which we have been able to completely inspect all technical elements such as railway infrastructure, energy technology, signalling technology and rail vehicle technology. We have also completed projects in Taiwan, Mexico and Turkey.

This is where we intend to build on and increasingly acquire international projects in the future, whereby we can refer here to our successful references to date. Through the ever stronger networking of our German employees with the foreign colleagues and TÜV SÜD subsidiaries, we can thus gain synergies and act more efficiently globally. And as already mentioned, we are now making targeted investments in the further expansion of our worldwide network of experts.

Digitization also plays a major role at TÜV SÜD Rail ...

Exactly. But I would always talk about evolution and not revolution. Our roots lie in secure computer technology. We have been testing and certifying complex electronic computer systems for a wide range of applications - from medical technology to factory automation - since the early 1980s. For around 40 years, digital computer technology has also been used in railway applications in Germany and other countries to control switches and signals and to monitor the speed of trains. In the railway sector it is generally becoming increasingly digital: European train protection technology ETCS makes it possible to control trains via a secure radio link.

How are you and your team actually working on becoming more digital?

We are constantly deepening our knowledge of modern computer technology, including complex software. We also try to relieve our work of monotonous testing activities by developing software-driven testing tools.

In the field of rail vehicles, we are helping to shape the path from purely physical tests of rail vehicles to simulation tools that greatly shorten the time required for complex tests.

Despite digitalization, it remains important to continue to convey a "we feeling". How do you ensure this?

We place great emphasis on team spirit. In order to implement global projects effectively and efficiently, it is essential that our international experts are well networked and work closely together.

However, we cannot rest and must continue to build and expand our expertise. We are investing a great deal in further training, in the authorization of our foreign experts and the exchange of experience within our Business Unit.

What are the long-term goals of the Rail business unit?

We want to continue producing high quality, no matter where we are in the world. Because in our high-safety-relevant industry area, quality takes precedence over expansion. We are also working on continuously adapting our portfolio in order to remain attractive for our customers. Keeping employees motivated at a high level is more than just a long-term goal.

By train or car - how do you prefer to travel?

Everything is included. For short distances I prefer the car, for medium distances the train, for long distances I prefer the plane.

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