Thermit welding of rails

Processing welding works now dynamic and digital in RailApp

Thermit welding of rails

Instead of filling out a paper form, railway workers can now fill out a digital and dynamic form after welding works on the track. RailApp recently introduced an improved, dynamic welding registration form in the app, which significantly speeds up the processing of works.

A welding registration is the collection of all welding work performed during the respective welding session. Michel Donker, welding supervisor at Strukton Rail in the Netherlands, helped devise the dynamic form in the RailApp. “This was one of the last things in this area that are now going completely digital”, he says.

Data received much faster

The biggest advantage, according to Donker, is speed. “The data comes in much faster. If we were busy with works overnight, you have the registration received right the next morning so that invoicing can be handled. Before this went digital, with a bit of luck, the papers were only in at the end of the week, but often the following week, and billing could often only be initiated 2-3 weeks later”, says Donker.

This started in 2019: together with VolkerRail’s welding department and a few more parties, the digital welding registration was initially set up statically for a while. That was the first step towards greater efficiency. With this static form, every employee had to answer the whole list of questions, whether they were relevant or not. This has now been made dynamic. This means the employee only has to answer the questions that apply, and the shown answers options are limited to the actual possibilities. This prevents errors and increases user-friendliness for employees outside, RailApp says.

Strukton Rail is the first company to use this dynamic function. “In the case of thermite welding, you can then click straight through and indicate which rail profile is involved, which quality etcetera, and it is thus easier to fill in”, Donker explains.

The welding registration in RailApp
The welding registration in RailApp

The development of this form has made RailApp more flexible in creating different dynamic forms. Such as the Welding Registration Form, Activity Form and Breakdown Form. These forms are completed during the shift, can be saved in between and signed and sent at the end. This put an end to paper registration forms that were lost, illegible or submitted late.

All types of welding work

“We can fill in the forms right away in a clear unambiguous way, which is uploaded directly into the cloud. This allows the customer to view them right away”, says Harry Kampinga of RailOk B.V, a Dutch supplier of personnel for welding work. RailOK works for the major rail infrastructure companies, such as Asset Rail, VolkerRail, Strukton and BAM, and has been using the digital welding registration form with RailApp for several years, but not yet with the dynamic variant.

“The great thing is that the form is improved regularly by RailApp, first it was also just thermite welding, and now it is also for the other types of welding we do”, says Kampinga. The whole market can then use that in turn. “You get to see a drawing of a switch and can indicate what and where you have done welding”, he says. The disadvantage of paper welding registration was that papers also sometimes issued to someone else, it could get lost, and it was sometimes difficult to read because of unclear handwriting.”

The client can also pre-fill data. “At VolkerRail, they put all the data in the request via RailApp which is therefore effectively the work order at the same time. Our employee who we supply to Volker does not have to type everything over again but only fill in his realised welds at his shift in the App”, says Kampinga.

In terms of digitisation, what Kampinga would still like to see is being able to add measurements of welds made. “That could be as an appendix to the weld registration form, making it easy to find in the app.”

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Author: Esther Geerts


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