Maschinenfabrik Liezen und Gießerei (MFL), Austria is a world-leading supplier of stationary and mobile rail milling and rail processing machines. In an interview Wolfgang Kumpfhuber, international sales manager for railway technology at MFL, explains the benefits of rail milling and the environmentally friendly aspects of this process.

What are the benefits of rail milling over rail grinding?

MFL rail milling is a proven technology especially for high removal rates in one pass and a 100% cross profile in a very economical way. It is not necessary to remove any signals. The machine works without sparks or dust. This makes the machine very environment friendly and you do not have any extra costs for fire prevention or cleaning. There are also no limitations for tunnels, bridges or slab tracks. Metallurgical changes or discolouring on the rails do not occur and you can sell the chips (removed material) for recycling.

What are the advantages using MFL machines to prolong the life of rails?

The rail lifetime goes down strictly when there is a failure like head checks. With rail milling of MFL it is possible to remove the failures in one pass. So the life time starts nearly like a new rail. After the repair you will have a rail with 100% cross profile and the small failures of the track laying are removed as well without discolouring the rail.

How does MFL maximise safety when carrying out maintenance works on track?

For a maximum safety you need a perfect interaction between rail and wheel. This is only possible when the track laying and the cross profile is perfect. After the re-profiling with a MFL rail milling machine you will have a perfect condition for this. A very important point in safety is also to prevent metallurgical changes in the rail, as you will have it by grinding.
The MFL Rail Milling process is also very safe as there are no sparks or chemicals necessary.

Being environmentally friendly is increasingly becoming an important factor in the rail industry. How does MFL offer economic and environmentally friendly services?

The MFL rail milling process is the most environment friendly way to repair or re-profile rails. We do not need any grinding process after milling so we do not have sparks, dirt, dust or any fluids on the track like contaminated water or chemicals. 99.99% of the produced chips are removed from the track and can be sold for recycling. This material is a very common and well paid material.
With our machines the whole re-profiling process is on a very low noise level and it is absolutely clean.

MFL has successfully operated with major railways such as the Deutsche Bahn and ÖBB. Which other countries are currently benefitting from your services?

Our machines run very successfully in London Underground, Paris Metro, Berlin S-Bahn as well as on German Railway (DB) also on high speed tracks. The latest machine, the RFP 1, runs in Russia and in China and we will start latest in 2012.
With other countries we are in negotiations to start the rail milling.