RAIL.ONE researches the use of alternative cements

In cooperation with the Association of German Cement Manufacturers VDZ gGmbH, the Technical University of Munich, and Dyckerhoff GmbH, RAIL.ONE is starting a multi-year research project on the suitability of CSA cements for the production of concrete sleepers.

Objective and reason for the project

Modern railway sleepers are produced as precast concrete parts in a manufacturing process with high cycle rates. In Germany, the Deutsche Bahn Standard (DBS) 918143 specifies the use of cement CEM I 52.5 N for the production of concrete sleepers. Among other things, this is used to achieve high early strength after 24 hours. However, the production of one ton of Portland cement generates about 0.8 tons of CO2; these emissions have an impact on the ecological balance of railway sleepers.

In this context, PCM RAIL.ONE AG strives to sustainably improve the Eco balance of its products. However, this improvement should be followed by a constant production speed. Consequently, cements would have to be used that combine life cycle assessment advantages with rapid strength development and high durability. Calcium sulfoaluminate based cements (CSA cements) are suitable for this function. In a research project funded by the DBU (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt), the use of this cement is now to be examined more closely. PCM RAIL.ONE AG and its partners, VDZ (Verein Deutscher Zemenhersteller) gGmbH, TUM (Technische Universität München) Centrum Baustoffe und Materialprüfung, and Dyckerhoff GmbH, have been assigned to investigate and evaluate the suitability of CSA cements for the production of concrete sleepers in a research project that will run for several years. 

Working steps and methods

In the research project, it is to be inspected whether the technical requirements for railway sleeper concretes are accomplished and ensured with CSA cements.

In addition to testing the industrial suitability, the high demands on the durability of the railway sleepers produced with these cements will be inspected in detail. The project will be completed by targeted practical tests and proof of effectiveness with regard to the life cycle assessment of the developed concretes.

RAIL.ONE considers participation in this research project to be important. "For more than 65 years, we have been producing high-quality, safe, and future-proof railway sleepers. We have always focused on products that are as sustainable as possible and have a long service life. It is our major concern to now be able to make an improved contribution to the sustainability and environmental friendliness of the railway system on the material usage side as well." says Dr. Eng. Ludwig Friedl, Chief Technology Officer of PCM RAIL.ONE Group.


About the PCM RAIL.ONE Group

The PCM RAIL.ONE Group has been manufacturing concrete sleepers and track systems for urban transit and long-distance rail transportation for over 60 years. The technology leader also offers its expertise in the fields of engineering and plant construction. Its customer-driven innovations fulfill the highest quality standards and are installed around the world

The PCM RAIL.ONE Group is comprised of several companies and eleven production facilities with a presence in Germany, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Spain, South Korea, Hungary, Turkey, the United States, and India. It maintains annual capacities of over 5 million track sleepers and 750,000 linear meters of turnout sleepers.