In February 2019, the first coal transport ships moored and the two terminals SIA STREK and SIA Riga Coal Terminal in the new transhipment centre in the port of Riga went live. The hard coal, which mostly comes from Russia, is transported by rail in wagons which are now directed directly to the new terminals and distributed there. For loading, SIA STREK relies on a DER 100 shunting robot from the German shunting specialist Vollert. Its diesel-electric and electronically controlled all-wheel drive with 130 kW masters train loads of up to 2,000 tons and brings wagons to the new unloading facility in 24-hour shuttle operation. Spring-loaded axles enable higher travel speeds on the approximately 1,000 meter long route.
Special design of the shunting robot offers more overview
SIA STREK had become aware of Vollert's flexible shunting solution due to years of good experience in the coal loading terminal of Coal Terminal in Tallinn, Estonia, and ordered an identical model variant with modernized features for its new terminal in Riga. The special feature of the DER 100 shunting robot for STREK is its specially developed design. In contrast to conventional shunting locomotives of this size, it is possible to see the surroundings in front of and behind the shunting vehicle from the driver's cab. When changing direction, the driver does not have to get out of the vehicle and change the cab. This is made possible by a particularly narrow drive unit that guarantees a clear view of the track field. The control can be done comfortably via control panel or via radio control in or on the vehicle. A particularly low entry height facilitates convenient access to the cab and the automatic shunting coupling facilitates coupling and uncoupling of the freight wagons.
Flexibility and high efficiency
The advantage of the shunting robot lies in its high versatility. The DER 100 at STREK unloads the required wagons from different tracks and can move freely on the track system. At the same time, the shunting vehicle is a cost-saving solution - large shunting or mainline locomotives cannot be operated economically in this field of application. Another important factor for STREK was the ease of maintenance and servicing, especially in view of the high dust exposure during coal unloading.
Largest investment project in the port of Riga
The restructuring of coal loading on Krievu Island is the largest investment project in the history of the port of Riga. In order to relieve the centre of the Latvian capital from the dusty coal loading and to make it more environmentally friendly, the new coal loading terminals outside the city boundaries were built in 2018 with EU funds and the handling process was fundamentally newly organised. The wagons are now unloaded in a closed loading hall. Every three to five minutes, three wagons are completely turned in a special plant and emptied into an underground bunker. The DER 100 shunting robot ensures precise and punctual delivery of the wagons to the unloading facility. To prevent the spread of coal dust in the surrounding area, a wind fence more than two kilometers long and 23 meters high was installed.