German railway firm Deutsche Bahn (DB) and the European Railway Industry Association (Unife) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to advance the International Railway Industry Standard (IRIS).

The project is aimed to improve the quality and reliability of products and better fulfilling customer requirements.

Iris complements the internationally recognised ISO 9001 quality standard while introducing rail-specific requirements.

Developed by Unife members, the IRIS is modelled on similar quality standards already used in the aerospace and automotive industries.

Unife chairman Lutz Bertling said: "Deutsche Bahn is one of the largest and most influential railway undertakings in Europe and the world.

"The cooperation with UNIFE as our trusted partner will strengthen the rail sector and increase quality."

"To see their commitment to the further development of the IRIS standard and, thus, towards the continued improvement of quality in the rail equipment supply chain is commendable and a major endorsement for IRIS.

"IRIS looks forward to continued fruitful cooperation with Deutsche Bahn on quality."

The MoU is expected to focus on improving knowledge-sharing and experience between Unife members and DB in order to better meet the railway’s needs.

DB management board for infrastructure, services and yechnology member Volker Kefer said: "The cooperation with UNIFE as our trusted partner will strengthen the rail sector and increase quality.

"The focus on product-related fulfilment of customer requirements within IRIS is an opportunity for business in a global economy. DB expects significant long-term improvements as a result of both parties’ expertise and cooperativeness."

There are currently almost 1,200 IRIS-certified companies operational worldwide and the standard is increasingly becoming an international seal of quality recognised by manufacturers and rail operators.

Image: Deutsche Bahn and Unife executives at the signing of a memorandum of understanding. Photo: courtesy of Unife.