29 / 10 / 2013
HUBER+SUHNER is the first, and so far only non-Russian cable manufacturer whose products meet the demanding requirements of Russia's state-owned rail company, RZD. This has opened up a market for RADOX cables and cable systems from HUBER+SUHNER with significant sales potential.
The railway infrastructure in Russia is set for a massive expansion over the next 15 years. Russian Railways is looking to invest approximately 295 billion Swiss francs in the expansion and modernisation of the railway network and rolling stock by 2030. The investment for locomotives and passenger cars alone amounts to 43 billion Swiss francs.
Difficult market entry
Plans are in place to modernise the fleet in close cooperation with the European vehicle industry, even though the market opening in Russia is still at an early stage. Legacy networks enormously complicate market entry, especially for competitors from abroad. The elaborate and lengthy approval procedures also represent a massive barrier to entry. This is because the Russian market places very high demands on the technical performance of electric wiring in specific areas. Since the cables produced in Russia for use in locomotives often failed prematurely, the specifications have been thoroughly revised in recent years. For example, the cables must be capable of withstanding Siberian temperatures of as low as -50°C and keep working throughout their entire service life. The Russian requirements for toxic fume emission in the event of a fire are also very strict and cables must also be resistant to mould infestation. The only way for foreign cable manufacturers to displace existing Russian suppliers is by offering new and superior technologies.
Lengthy approval procedure
This is exactly what HUBER+SUHNER has achieved. The company passed the first hurdle en route into Russia in the last few months, when its RADOX® railway cable families were certified to the Russian GOST standards. GOST certificates are the prerequisite for a company being permitted to import its products into Russia. However, the requirements of RZD, the state-owned railway organisation, go significantly beyond the GOST standards. For example, the RADOX cables from HUBER+SUHNER also needed to pass a variety of durability, fire, toxicity and mechanical tests. The lengthy approval procedure, which included a number of long-term tests, has now been completed successfully. The Swiss company received the approval certificate from the All-Russian Cable Research and Development Institute (VNIIKP) on the occasion of this year's Expo 1520 in Moscow. This removes all obstacles to the use of HUBER+SUHNER RADOX railway cables in projects by the Russian state railway company.
Lead for HUBER+SUHNER
The approvals are valid for the entire RADOX cable range; from data cables, through power cables, to inter-vehicle jumper cables. HUBER+SUHNER can now offer a connectivity solution with Russian approval for almost any electrical application in rolling stock, gaining a significant lead over its competitors: “Our decision to enter into close and intensive cooperation with the approvals body at an early stage is paying dividends now,” explains Patrick Riederer, Head of the Low Frequency Division. HUBER+SUHNER has also been able to establish a good network of contacts at both the technical and commercial level over the past few years and is familiar with the Russian railways industry, thanks to its own office in Moscow. “This approach has proved invaluable in our dealings with the demanding requirements of the approvals body,” says Riederer.
Substantial orders expected
HUBER+SUHNER has now secured its entry into the Russian railways market and can look forward to substantial orders in the next few years, especially for the renewal of the locomotive fleet, and for the trains that will travel along the new high-speed routes. Considering RZD's investment plans, this is a market whose huge potential is unlikely to be exhausted in the foreseeable future.
Russian Railways – RZD
Russian Railways, RZD, maintains the 85,000 km Russian rail network and employs approximately 1 million staff. RZD plans to develop the Eurasian transport corridors, both from east to west and from north to south, thus contributing towards Russia's integration into the global economy.