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September 25, 2017

InnoTrans event at CMS 2017: Debut for the Mobility Cleaning Circle

The new event format provided a meeting place in Berlin for the international rail industry and cleaning sector

Speaking at the first Mobility Cleaning Circle at CMS Berlin 2017 (19 – 22 Sept.), Dieter Kienle from Stuttgarter Straßenbahn AG could not have summed it up any better: ”The railways and cleaning belong together.“ That was why it was an excellent idea to bring these two branches from different industries together, he added. Around 80 representatives of the rail industry and cleaning sector accepted Messe Berlin’s invitation to the event on 21 September, including from Germany, Italy, Korea, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Hungary and Russia.

Merging of industry expertise from two sectors

The Mobility Cleaning Circle is co-organised by the transport technology trade fair InnoTrans and the cleaning trade fair CMS Berlin, which take place bi-annually in alternate years in Berlin. InnoTrans had invited rail industry professionals from around the world to gain a comprehensive market overview of the wide range of cleaning machines and cleaning agents which the cleaning sector has to offer for specific railway applications. The Cleaning sector at InnoTrans, the world’s leading transport technology trade fair, focuses on vehicle cleaning, while CMS Berlin provides a comprehensive market overview of the cleaning sector. As a result, rail industry reactions to the new format were positive.

Matthias Steckmann, divisional head at Messe Berlin GmbH, together with representatives of the non-commercial sponsors of CMS welcomed those attending. They were: Hans Ziegle, deputy master craftsman of the National Guild of the Building Cleaning Trade (BIV); Werner Schulze, chairman of the Building Cleaning Department of the German industrial Union of Hygiene and Surface Protection for Industrial and Institutional Application (IHO); as well as Markus Asch, chairman of the Cleaning Systems Trade Association of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA).

Representing the cleaning machine industry, Markus Asch was enthusiastic about the new format: ”I welcome this meeting of our industries and the opportunity to demonstrate how, with new technology and digital solutions, we can help to make working aboard trains and buses even more efficient.“ The participants were eager to raise numerous issues, among them the difficulty of streamlining the on-board cleaning of trains. ”Using machines, we can clean the outside of all kinds of vehicles, but interiors remain a problem“, said Murray Gate, fleet performance manager of the New Zealand subsidiary of the Transdev Group. ”That is what is good about such a meeting. We are able to meet colleagues and the industry and find out how others tackle the problems we have.”

Tour of the trade fair featuring graffiti removal on a DB train

The highlight of the meeting was a tour of the trade fair which included a professional cleaning demonstration of how to remove graffiti by DB Services GmbH. This took place on a carriage of the Culture Train which operates between Berlin and Wrocław on weekends, and thus was able to remain on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds during CMS. The rail transport group is one of Germany’s most badly affected companies as far as graffiti is concerned. According to its statistics, every year graffiti has to be removed from trains of DB AG and its subsidiaries on around 350,000 square metres, the equivalent of about 50 football pitches.

Removal takes place in multiple stages. First of all, a paste or liquid is applied which forms a compound with the graffiti paint, which then begins to dissolve. The resultant liquid paste is removed, and any residues are neutralised using a special chemical to prevent damage to the outer paintwork. As well as smooth surfaces, contaminated parts include grooves, rubber seals and windows. Some areas require special treatment. If necessary, cleaning staff apply a paint care product to make the carriage look like new again. They also protect the ground against any paint remover and residues dripping down.

The fact that this was a problem everywhere around the world was highlighted by Murray Gate: ”There is a worldwide community of graffiti sprayers who exchange tips on where to find trains. They compete with each other travelling around the world spraying graffiti.“ Joost van der Bijl from NedTrain, the subsidiary of the Dutch national railway operator in charge of maintenance and repair of rolling stock, dared to look into the future: “Using nanotechnology it should be possible to prime surfaces so that sprayed paint does not stick and immediately dissipates”, he said.

Cleaning sector offers solutions

The demonstration was followed by a tour of manufacturers at CMS 2017 who exhibited systems and chemicals for cleaning vehicles as well as aircraft. ”Cleaning interiors presents a big challenge“, said Joost van der Bijl. ”There is hardly any time or water, often no electricity, and on-board spaces are confined. That is why automating interior cleaning is so difficult.”

It was fitting that the tour first stopped in on Diversey Deutschland GmbH & Co. OHG. The company displayed a useful belt featuring pockets for carrying cleaning utensils and spray cans for cleaning agents. The TASKI vacuum cleaner for industrial applications impressed the visitors with its versatility. Columbus Reinigungsmaschinen demonstrated the ability of its products to clean everything customers walk on or are seated on, including escalators and seat upholstery. On the stand of Dr. Schnell Chemie customers obtained an overview of necessary cleaning agents. Schneidereit GmbH displayed its washing machine systems, and SCA Hygiene Produkts AfH Sales GmbH showcased its TORK brand, which manufactures paper towel dispensers among other products.

According to Stanislav Zotin from the Russian state railway operator, the event had been “expertly organised”. It had given him and his colleagues an opportunity to find out about companies, machines and cleaning agents that met the needs of his field of work. Joost van der Bijl was also full of praise: the event was an opportunity to meet representatives of the industry and keep abreast of market developments, something that was not possible in a day-to-day professional environment.

About InnoTrans

InnoTrans is the world’s leading trade fair for transport technology and takes place every two years in Berlin. At the last event 2,955 exhibitors from 60 countries presented the global rail industry’s innovations to 137,391 trade visitors who came from 119 countries. The five segments at InnoTrans are Railway Technology, Railway Infrastructure, Public Transport, Interiors and Tunnel Construction. InnoTrans is organised by Messe Berlin. The twelfth edition of InnoTrans will take place on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds from 18 to 21 September 2018. More details are available online at