SAIW has facilitated the first EN 15085 CL1 certification in South Africa, at TE’s Durban bogie fabrication facility. In addition, VR Laser Systems has become the first EN 15085 CL2-certified railway component manufacturer in the country.
Duisburg-based GSI SLV auditors, Martin Czysch (left) and Albrecht Hans (right) with Herman Potgieter of SAIW Certification (centre).
SAIW Certification’s German partners, GSI SLV, represented by Martin Czysch and Albrecht Hans, visited South Africa and the SAIW during the last week of October to perform the first ever EN 15085 audits of local welded railway vehicles and component manufacturers.
While ISO 3834, which defines the quality requirements for fusion welding of metallic materials, is a requirement for railway vehicle and component manufacturers: “it is only the base requirement,” says Herman Potgieter of SAIW Certification.
“EN 15085 is a product-specific standard for the construction, manufacturing and testing of welded railway vehicles. As such there are specific requirements in the EN 15085 standard to ensure the quality and safety of railway equipment. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Bombardier, CSR, CNR, GE, and Alstom, therefore, require that their subcontractors are EN 15085-certified in order to guarantee the quality and safety of the products they are manufacturing,” he says adding, “if our fabricators, want to make the most of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in current rail rejuvenation projects, they must comply with both ISO 3834 and EN 15085 requirements.”
Transnet Engineering’s ISO 3834-certified Durban facility was successfully audited by GSI SLV’s representatives for certification to EN 15085 CL1: the highest certification level. Potgieter explains: “CL1 certification applies to safety relevant components such bogie frames and bolsters, body-shell components and under-frame structures,” he says. “Certification to this level attests to the progress that TE has made, with the help of Bombardier, towards becoming a world-class manufacturer for the railway industry,” he adds.
VR Laser has just been successfully audited for EN 15085 CL2 certification, which enables it to construct, manufacture and test welded railway components to international standards.
Following on the heels of this success, the German auditing team moved to Dunswart in Gauteng to audit component manufacturer VR Laser, a local fabricator of steel products for a variety of end-users in the defence, mining, rail and transport sectors. From a railway perspective, VR Laser makes frames for Knorr-Bremse, a global OEM for hydraulic, pneumatic and electrical braking and chassis management systems used by several locomotive OEMs.
VR Laser Systems’ audit was also successful and company will be issued with its EN 15085 CL2 component certificate within a few weeks.
According to VR Laser’s CEO, Pieter van der Merwe, the issuing of EN 15085 CL2 certification attests to “our company’s global competitiveness and adherence to international quality requirements”.
"The certification allows VR Laser to fabricate components for the railway industry to European standards – a standard that is being utilised not only by European railway designers, but by the Chinese. Our certification will allow VR Laser to actively pursue fabrication work for the railway industry, in particular for the Transnet 1064 loco project," says Van der Merwe.
Says Hans of GSI SLV: “We both believe that the companies we have seen in this country have excellent potential. All they need to do is to focus more strongly on the specific EN 15085 requirements, with respect to personnel, supervision, training and welding procedure development.
“We see typical ASME/AWS-style compliance in this country, but 15085 is more European and more detailed. The supervision personnel requirements, for example, specify IWT, IWE and IWS qualifications, which, although International, are more commonly applied in Europe,” he says, adding that these issues are not difficult to overcome.
“The facilities are good, there is a good labour pool and South African labour costs are not yet at US or European levels. So, as long as the training and approval processes can be brought in line, there is as lot of potential here for companies to manufacture for the global railway market,” he assures African Fusion.
Adds Czysch: “We also urge manufactures and welders to pay more attention to housekeeping. If the earth clamp is not secure enough or the gas shroud is covered in spatter, then perfect welds will be impossible to achieve. These things are important.”
“A truck driver, for example, has a responsibility for the safety of the truck,” continues Hans. “He needs to make sure that the brakes are working properly and the tyres are pumped up. Similarly, a welder must take care of his equipment to give the best possible chance of producing good quality welds,” he concludes.