Rail manufacturers and operators do business all around the world and they need suppliers who can match their reach. The work Norgren has done over 80 years in the rail industry serves as an example of what global rail OEMs and operators should look for in a supplier.

To begin with, OEMs should work with industry leaders. Norgren’s expertise in pneumatic and electric motion and fluid control spans multiple industries, so when a technical issue arises, it is likely Norgren has already solved it. For example, rail OEMs are beginning to express interest in emissions control solutions Norgren developed for commercial vehicles.

Second, global OEMs need to work with a supplier committed to rail. Norgren developed, tested and certified its Railine™ products to meet stringent temperature, voltage and vibration requirements of rail applications, no matter what conditions they operate under.

But standard components can’t meet every challenge. OEMs are likely to reach a better solution more quickly and cost effectively if they work with a supplier that can modify, integrate or design components, sub-assemblies or systems.

For example, Norgren developed the pneumatics for a nose cone coupling system. Then they integrated them into a custom engineered easy-to-install assembly.

In another example, Talgo, an OEM and high-speed rail operator headquartered in Spain, wanted to compete for new business in the United States by meeting Buy America requirements for domestic content. Norgren used technology proven in Europe to manufacture vestibule doors in Littleton, Colorado.

‘Global’ doesn’t have to mean ‘expensive’. Norgren has invested in low-cost manufacturing to keep costs in control. More importantly, they help customers lower their total cost of ownership with lightweight fittings, air filtration systems and pantograph and horn controls. They even make maintenance cost-effective by refurbishing doors and door actuators.

OEMs and operators should make sure their suppliers are as capable as they are to meet the challenges of today’s global rail industry.