ASCO RAIL, since the beginning of its activity in 1988, is considered one of the leaders on Rail sector for the Maintenance and Operation of railway vehicles. The main activity of the company is the design, manufacture and distribution of all diagnostic instruments and devices needed during the process of repair and operation of railway vehicles. The experience gained by the company and by their valuable engineers over the years and comparing it with all different markets they are present, allow them to continuously improve their technology and guarantee a professional and comprehensive service to all customers. The company’s involvement in Rail life and the understating of the importance in the community allow them to constantly improve their technology and service to be able to offer to the final client an Ad-hoc solution and an excellent product. “Knowledge, Passion, Quality and Durability, WE BUILD TO LAST…this is our motto, this is what makes us unique.” – Elia Piraccini – Export Director ASCO RAIL Interview with Elia Piraccini – Export Director ASCO RAIL. Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company? ASCO RAIL: The main activity of the company is the design, manufacture and distribution of all diagnostic instruments and devices which gives a technical support during the processes of inspections, repairs and maintenance of railway vehicles and all their components (i.e., Coil-Leaf-Air spring testing stand, Bogie test stand, Damper test stands, Pantograph testing Bench, Wheel mounting machine, Wheelset cleaning machine and many more devices.). We are also providing a full maintenance and repairs service for all railway vehicles (such as locomotives and wagons), from the simple daily check up to a completely refurbishing of the entire Locomotive including the engine. Our involvement in Rail life and the understating of the importance in the community allow us to constantly improve our technology and service to be able to offer to the final client an Ad-hoc product. E.E: What’s the news for 2021 about new products? ASCO RAIL: We are now in the process of redesigning and reconfiguring some of our testing stands, not only the looks but mainly developing a new design/structure and a new and most efficient actuation system. We want to be able to provide our clients a product with the latest technologies’ advantages and strengths. The market is constantly updating same as the request from costumers, we must and we want to keep ourself updated to be able to always improve ourself, improve our products and offer a much more competitive and functional product. E.E: What are the ranges of products? ASCO RAIL: Our range of products is quite vast, we are able to offer to our customer what we call an “A-Z” solution, all the diagnostic instruments and testing stands needed inside a Rail workshop. From the Nonius Caliper for the Wheel profile to a Wheel Press Machine of 4000t with double cylinder. We are able to provide all kind of testing equipment that a maintenance depot needs for its daily, monthly, quarterly inspection/maintenance routine. E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active? ASCO RAIL: The company was founded over 30 years ago by the actual President, Mr. Andrzej Werewka, and we were mainly acting in the European market. In the last decade we happily noticed that our products and services were very appreciated and high quality rated and we decided to invest in foreign markets (outside EU). We are now active not only in Europe but also in South East Asia and just over one year ago we attended as exhibitor the AUSRAIL exhibition and successfully entered the Pacific market in Australia. From our prospective, we are between an European market which is now recovering from a drastic COVID 19 isolation and slowly restarting “the engine”, to an active Australian market which is active and mainly looking for the latest Technology innovation and improve safety, to a more than active Asian market were the government is investing in railways assets to restart from a stall post/actual COVID reality and looking to improve their markets and seeking all the latest technologies and products with High Safety, Quality and Technology standards. E.E: What can you tell us about market trends? ASCO RAIL: The financial situation of many passenger rail operators and especially municipal transport companies is problematic due to COVID pandemic and in many cases to a total stop of rail services. Many companies in Europe and around the world in general are incurring losses due to a drastic decrease in ticket revenue and the simultaneous high level of capacity that is being offered in order to adhere to social distancing regulations. This is leading to a lack of funds for operation and even more so for investment. In many countries, the losses incurred by state-owned railways are being compensated by public spending. However, municipal companies are more severely affected by their mounting deficits forcing them to stop existing investment programs. In the next year there will be a decrease of sales of high-profile requirements (such wagons row locomotive) and companies will focus more on re-furbishing what they already have and eventually buy maintenance equipment in an attempt to economize the expensive ad rebuilt capital. E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed? ASCO RAIL: For sure the newest products marketed are those involving laser Technology. In the last few years, we saw an unbelievable increasing of companies proposing laser technology products. These products are able to carry out many tests with the same instrument (from the reading of a wheel profile, to wheel diameter, to the distance between the wheels and even the section of the rail track) all of this with only one instrument. In the same line as most innovative products there are more consistent testing equipment such as “Pantograph Testing Stand” and “Wheelset Cleaning Machines”. E.E: What estimations do you have for 2021? ASCO RAIL: We are planning to strengthen our ties in the South East Asia and Pacific market and we are aiming to enter the USA market by the last quarter of this year.