International seminar on Railway workshops modernisation concludes

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New Delhi, Mar 28 (UNI) The two-day international seminar on 'Workshop Modernisation and New Technologies in Machine Tools' concluded here today with experts strongly pitching in favour of induction of state of the art machines and automation in railway systems around the world to position them as a competitive mode of transport.

Around 200 delegates from Indian Railways as well as leading international and Indian organisations attended the event, organised by Institute of Rolling Stock Engineers, COFMOW Chapter.

Twenty-nine technical papers were presented by 11 overseas and 18 Indian speakers at the seminar where they shared the latest technical knowledge and advancement that were taking place in their respective fields, especially wheel machining automation, metal forming and metal cutting, compressed air solutions, simulators and welding technologies.

The presentations made by Safop (Italy), Fooke (Germany), LVD (Belgium), Kemppi (Finland), Wheelabrator (Canada) and Ingersoll (Rand) were highly appreciated by the delegates.

Mr R K Rao, Member (Mechanical), Railway Board, who inaugurated the seminar, said the Indian Railways was expected to invest 23.5 million US dollars for procurement of machines and 140 million ollars for modernisation of workshops over the next one year. Mr Rao said the concept of 'workshop modernisation' itself had undergone a sea change.

''The rapidly growing Indian economy is making huge demands on the infrastructure and logistics and the sprawling rail network of the Indian Railways has a definite edge in providing the most critical input to the economy namely transportation. To retain this edge improve further, the Railways have a massive investment plant of Rs. 2,50,000 crore for the 11th Plan i.e. Rs. 50,000 crore a year,'' he said.

A separate organisation -- COFMOW (Central Organisation for Modernisation of Workshops) dedicated to modernising age-old workshops, was set up with a World Bank loan in 1979. The initial task was to replace individual machines of pre-independence vintage on the condition basis. When this did not suffice, phased replacement of machines was resorted to an later machines were procured in batches as manufacturing lines for production of specific products with a predefined cycle.

''The seminar proved to be an immense success in achieving its objectives and the two days' time was gainfully utilised by all the participants in updating their knowledge and skill levels,'' a Railway Ministry official said.

Indian Railways is one of the single largest units under one umbrella in the world. It has more than 50 independent Mechanical Engineering Workshops and Production Units which undertake manufacturing, overhaul and repair activities for locomotives, coaches, wagons and other railway assets.

UNI SKS VD KN1837

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