LAPP provides innovative solutions to Matisa, world leader in the design and building of track construction and maintenance machines

Matisa - Matériel Industriel S.A. – is based in the Swiss town of Crissier, just six kilometres northwest of Lausanne. The company specialises in construction machinery for all aspects of laying and preparing tracks. Precision machines that have prepared the way for rail transport worldwide and ensured its safety have been produced here since 1945.

Cables are crucially important as they are used to control numerous concurrent processes with perfect precision. “A track construction train can lay 600 to 800 metres of track per hour – accurate to the millimetre”, says Technical Purchasing Manager Patrice Mesnage. “The sleepers are brought forward from the attached wagons using a crane, where they are put in place and the tracks are then laid on top of them. This all happens as a continuous flow.” Which means that the mechanics, hydraulics and sensors are constantly communicating with one another.  The cables have to operate reliably and, on top of that, have to satisfy specific requirements in terms of fire protection and ease of installation.

“We depend on reliable partnerships”, says Mesnage. That’s one of the reasons why Matisa decided to collaborate with LAPP just over a year ago. Another is flexibility – in terms of both the company and its products. The importance of the cables being both robust and flexible to use is demonstrated by the wiring carried out in the electrical workshop and in final assembly.

Blaise Schopfer, the manager of the electrical workshop, shows how the cables are installed inside the control cabinet and how each cabinet in the train is connected. Although the machine itself is huge, when it comes to the cables space is always at a premium. Cables need to be as thin but also as powerful as possible, whether they have a single or multiple cores. According to Schopfer, the wiring of a control cabinet alone takes four to five weeks.

LAPP has adapted two existing products specifically for Matisa to cope with requirements in railway technology: the ÖLFLEX® Classic 110 HFS and 115 CHFS. As the abbreviations suggest, these are halogen-free versions that comply with all fire protection standards. Thanks to the thin-walled cable and their flexible cores, they can be installed easily.

“Something else we really value about our collaboration with LAPP is the delivery terms. Because we produce customised machines, it is very common for modifications to come up during production. This means we then have to order subsequent cables at relatively short notice”, Mesnage explains.

Thanks to a high level of stock at the LAPP headquarters, rolling stock cables are readily available with no minimum order quantity. This is crucial for specialist companies that do not use large-scale series production.