A railway pioneer, the UK has a long and proud history in the train manufacturing industry. Nowadays, leading rail OEMs operate state-of-the-art UK-based production lines, each designed to manufacture the next generation of trains. KM Tools is helping OEMs to meet the demand for advanced rolling stock with a turnkey, bespoke engineering service for production machinery.
Based in Cheadle, Staffordshire, KM Tools has rapidly built a reputation as the go-to machine specialist for the rail industry. A turnkey engineering business offering design, prototyping, testing, manufacturing, fabrication, installation and maintenance services – KM Tools has supported leading rail OEMs such as Alstom and Hitachi. The company’s full electromechanical engineering capability ensures that all aspects of machines, from frames to control systems, can be designed and delivered in-house.
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A popular KM Tools innovation is the SmartLine Jig. These jigs are designed to allow welding, assembly and preparation of rolling stock as part of a lean production flow. Onboard hydraulics, custom fixtures and controls allow for multiple processes to be carried out with a reduced footprint. This maximises production efficiency and minimises the movement of parts and personnel. The jigs are enabling rail OEMs to follow the lead of the automotive industry in implementing lean production strategies.
Neil Harrison, Sales Manager at KM Tools, expands: “Our SmartLine Jigs are currently operational at Alstom’s Litchurch Lane site and Hitachi Rail’s Newton Aycliffe production facility. The jigs are directly supporting the production of modern rolling stock destined for the UK rail network and beyond.
“Our turnkey, bespoke engineering service means that we can deliver custom designs to meet the requirements of each OEM production line and process. Rail OEMs can therefore optimise their machinery to unlock new production efficiencies, improving productivity and adding value.”
Reverse engineering and 24/7 maintenance support
As well as delivering new machines, KM Tools also offers reverse engineering services. If customers require a legacy machine to be reproduced, KM Tools can create one to modern standards whilst increasing efficiency and reliability. Recently, KM Tools reverse engineered a welding gantry for the manufacture of train underframes as well as roofs for Alstom and ensured that it could be integrated into the existing production line.
The new machine even featured a matching control system and user interface, ensuring that operators had instant familiarity with the new unit.
Highly responsive on-site maintenance support is another key service of KM Tools. To ensure maximum uptime for production equipment, KM Tools can station specialists on-site 24/7 to provide a fast reaction to any maintenance requirements. Furthermore, the business offers a planned preventative maintenance (PPM) service to ensure continued machine reliability.
A tailored approach
“Our experience working with leading rail OEMs in the UK means that we can support the machine requirements of any train production line,” Neil explains. “We can offer our services as a complete package or individually depending on customer preference, which ensures we can deliver not only a bespoke machine, but a tailored service to match.”